Due to pricing restrictions, Tesla’s vehicles didn’t get access to Canada’s new $5,000 federal incentive for electric vehicles, but the automaker has now launched a new and cheaper Model 3 with a software-locked range of just 150 km (93 miles) in Canada to get access to the discount.

As we previously reported, Canada’s federal government launched a new $5,000 incentive at the purchase of new electric vehicles with base prices of less than $45,000 and that cost no more than $55,000 after options.

The government explains the incentive:

“To be eligible for incentives, a vehicle must have a base-model manufacturer’s suggested retail price of less than $45,000 for passenger vehicles with six or fewer seats, and less than $55,000 for vehicles with seven or more seats. For eligible vehicles with six or fewer seats, higher priced versions (trims) are eligible as long as the final manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $55,000 or less.”

It disqualified Tesla’s vehicles from being eligible to the incentive because the base Model 3, which is only available as an “off-the-menu item”, starts at $47,000.

In response, Tesla has lowered the price of the vehicle to $44,999 in Canada, but it also software-locked the vehicle to only 150 km (93 miles) of range.

The company wrote on its incentive page of its Canadian website:

Federal $5,000 rebate for individuals purchasing vehicles with a base MSRP* under $45,000 before including delivery centre fees. The following Tesla vehicles qualify for the federal incentive provided that they are also listed on Transport Canada’s website:

  • 2019 Model 3 Standard Range
    • Range: 150km
    • Qualifying OEM MSRP* before delivery centre fees and EV savings: $44,999
    • Call or visit a Tesla store to order.
  • 2019 Model 3 Standard Range Plus
    • Range: 386km (EPA estimate)
    • Qualifying OEM MSRP* before delivery fees and EV savings: $53,700
    • Order online

*MSRP shown is based on the definition established by Transport Canada for the purposes of the iZEV program. This price excludes a $1,300 delivery and inspection fee and standard vehicle registration fees.

By making the new base Model 3 available, which again is only through calling or visiting a Tesla store to order, Tesla also made the regular Model 3 Standard Range Plus with 386 km (240 miles) of range eligible for the incentive since it is technically an option on the same car that starts below $45,000 and doesn’t go over $55,000.

We contacted Tesla for a comment about the situation and we will update if we get an answer.

At the time of writing, Tesla’s Model 3 is still not shown as being available on Transport Canada’s website. (Update: It is now shown as available.)

Update: Tesla is not allowing range upgrade on new 150 km Model 3 in Canada – DO NOT BUY

Electrek’s Take

We predicted that it will come since we have seen Tesla do something similar in Germany, but Tesla is doing it in an even more sneaky way here.

What is interesting here is that Tesla can still do it while not even listing the base Model 3 at $44,999 and only making it available as some secret product that you need to know about to be able to order.

The new version of the Model 3 is not available on Tesla’s Canadian online configurator:

Also, Tesla massively reduced the range of the base version to do this. It slashed it in half to reduce the price of the car by just $2,000.

It’s clear that they want to sell you an upgrade to a Model 3 Standard Range Plus. Hopefully, they will also offer an upgrade to the Standard Range for that $2,000.

If that’s the case, I think it’s worth it, especially for my fellow Québécois who can add the $8,000 provincial incentive on top of it.

Even though they had to do it in a shady way, the Model 3 Standard Range at $34,000 (~$25,000 USD) or the Model 3 Standard Range Plus at $40,700 are the two best electric cars you can buy for that price in Canada.

I think that the Canadian’s government incentive structure was also a shady way to block Tesla buyers from getting access to the incentive so I am going to call fair play on Tesla’s part even if I think Tesla should have released the new base Model 3 with a more reasonable usable range and make the option available through its website like any other product.

If you are looking to buy or lease a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 and you think Electrek helped you in your decision-making process, please feel free to use my code: frederic5610 – and get 5,000 miles (7,500 km in Canada) of free Supercharging for a limited time.

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