​Elon Musk Says Tesla Model 3 Will Cost $35,000 <i>Before</i> Incentives

​Elon Musk Says Tesla Model 3 Will Cost $35,000 Before Incentives

Did you hear the good news? Finally, some of our questions answered.

The Chevrolet Bolt is being painted in the press as a Tesla competitor. It's not and Elon Musk agrees. And while GM says its 200-mile EV will be priced at $30,000, there's a big asterisk on that sticker – it includes incentives – incentives that Musk isn't including in the price of the Model 3.

Musk has said in the past that the Model 3 would cost $35,000, but tonight he clarified that figure doesn't include any state or federal tax incentives.

Just the Feds will give you $7,500 for going electric, which puts the real sticker price of the Bolt at $37,500. And if Tesla used the same math GM is promoting, that would mean the Model 3 would come in at $28,500 after current incentives.1

Obviously, Tesla has a long way to get there. It still needs to deliver the already delayed (twice) Model X before getting really serious about the Model 3, and Musk shed some light on what he's trying to accomplish.

"[The Model 3] will be way different from any other car on the road," says Musk. But, "in a way that's really useful and just doesn't feel like a weird-mobile."2

Yes, "weird-mobile."

Musk reiterated other facts about the Model 3, including the that it will be around 20 percent smaller than the Model S – which he admits is a big car – and that some things that are standard on its big brother will be optional on the 3 – which is sure to help that $35,000 price.

The Model 3 discussion came after Musk's on-stage interview at the Automotive News World Congress. And since Musk loves to let loose, here are the highlights of what he said to the rabid band of reporters:

- Tesla will be "first to market with autonomous features." But people should be concerned about the safety of self-driving cars. To Musk's mind, fully autonomous vehicles will only happen when automakers can prove to consumers that they're 10 times safer than traditional cars.3
- He wants a carbon tax, and automakers and polluters should pay for the privilege of dumping crap into our atmosphere.456
- Musk has no intentions of ever leaving Tesla, but he doesn't think he'll be CEO forever.
- When asked about hydrogen, Musk called them "extremely silly" and went on a tear about his myriad of issues with the fuel before saying that the sooner we give up on hydrogen the better. "This will be super obvious when time goes by."7
- Does he have anything to learn from the Volt or other cars on the road? "No." End of discussion.
- No one has taken Tesla up on its "open source" patents, but they don't need to inform Tesla.8
- Superchargers will continue to expand throughout the continental U.S., Europe, China, and "most of the world" over the next couple of years.
- The Model X has sold out for the entire first model year.9
- Regarding the recent Wall Street Journal article that calls into question the high rate of turnover of Tesla employees, Musk goes off, calls it "asinine" and points out that a lot of high-level execs have been there for quite some time. (Not so much in its communications department...)
- Question: Are you a good boss? "I try to be a good boss… most of the time. Not all the time."
- Tesla is not seeking partnerships, instead focusing on getting the X to market, and Musk infers that the press has burned him in the past when it came to rumors of working with other automakers.
- Finally, this delightful little nugget from the first Q&A: Musk originally thought that with phones and tablets, interior lights in the back seats of the Model S were useless. That was until one of his kids was reading a book. "This is the stupidest car in the world," said one of Musk's progeny. "After that we put the lights in the back."10

Red Sage ca us | January 13, 2015

As I remember it Elon Musk said 'without' incentives. He doesn't expect that Tesla Motors vehicles will be eligible for the Federal EV Tax Credit by the time the Model ≡ is in full production.

THRΞΞ | January 13, 2015

Here's the 1 hour Elon Musk interview from today.

carlgo2 | January 13, 2015

Musk's use of the term "weird mobile" indicates his good sense and should give everyone comfort that he won't make a cartoon car.

"Way different than any other car on the road"? Falcon doors for sure. Otherwise what could be different from existing cars of various sorts?

Red Sage ca us | January 13, 2015

Remember Michael Keaton's Batmobile cockpit...? That was... different.

Dramsey | January 13, 2015

Didn't Musk originally say the Mod S was supposed to be a $50K car?

It's not surprising that nobody has taken them up on the "open source patents". I predicted that nobody would...

And he wants his competitors taxed more. That would be nice: his products subsidized, his competitor's products taxed. You've gotta love capitalism.

(I'm a Tesla fan. Not so much a Musk fan.)

Red Sage ca us | January 13, 2015

The Tesla Model S 40 could be had for ~$50,000 or less including tax incentives and rebates dependent upon the state where it was purchased and registered.

It's not surprising that traditional automobile manufacturers are not willing to use Tesla Motors' patents 'in good faith' to build non-gimped electric vehicles. That doesn't mean a new, upstart firm or three might not take them up on the offer.

I'm sure many would prefer not to compete with Tesla Motors at all, and wish all the best to efforts that would ban their business model nationwide. Gotta love competition -- it staves off complacency!

I am a fan of electric cars, and I am very happy that someone as smart as Elon Musk is smart enough to make that dream come true despite all odds through Tesla Motors.

Dramsey | January 14, 2015

He wants carbon taxed so that the market has the correct price inputs to make good decisions.

And who decides what the "correct price inputs" are and imposes them by fiat? Our enlightened betters, of course. Flush with the moral certainty that the hoo-polloi are not competent to make their own decisions, they know that a finger on the scales is not only permissible, but required.

And if this means some poor person can no longer afford to drive to work, well, hell, it's like I've always said: if you can't afford a Mod S, and a Leaf or some compliance car's limited range won't cut it, you're part of the problem. It's sad but evolution is a merciless thing.

AA_4_Tesla | January 14, 2015

It would be nice if the tax credits got pushed out a bit. Maybe cut in half for every 250k+ more EVs you build. Every little bit will help me get that Model III.

Also, when Elon says "20% smaller" is that a total volume measurement? Not saying what it might look like, but overall footprint going down to 180x72x54" seems about right.

Red Sage ca us | January 14, 2015

Once Tesla Motors has sold 200,000 vehicles cumulatively since January 1, 2010 the IRS will be informed. Beginning with the following quarter from when they reach that total the Federal EV Tax Incentive will begin to be scaled back. By the time a year has passed it will have dropped to zero.


blue adept | January 15, 2015

Finally, this delightful little nugget from the first Q&A: Musk originally thought that with phones and tablets, interior lights in the back seats of the Model S were useless. That was until one of his kids was reading a book. "This is the stupidest car in the world," said one of Musk's progeny. "After that we put the lights in the back."

LOL! No matter our station in life I guess we can always count on our children to be our harshest critics, particularly with their inherent pension for brutal honesty.

SamO | January 15, 2015


Of course carbon industries should be able to pollute as much as they want.

How dare people demand to not be poisoned.

Who do they think they are? Corporations?


Why do you hate America?


Brian H | January 15, 2015

The mis-classification of CO2 as a poison is the "Core Ploy" of the taxers.

AA_4_Tesla | January 15, 2015

@just an allusion

Just imagine if Elon has bought his kid a kindle.

Brian H | January 16, 2015

Maybe the kid's a throwback and likes paper.

3seeker | January 16, 2015

Elon Musk talks about the Model 3 mentioning radical design and a reveal in 2016.

torstenherlich85 | May 15, 2015

Time will tell...

mcdonalk | May 15, 2015

Assuming that the Model 3 is smaller than the Model S (which seems highly likely), it makes sense to me that the Model 3 would be a hatchback, which is more practical than a sedan-type car.