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Tesla Model 3 guide: the cheapest Tesla to date

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The Tesla Model 3 is the first vehicle built on Tesla's third-generation platform. It aims to reduce the entry price for electric vehicles while not making any compromise on range and performance. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 in the US and deliveries to employees and company insiders began in mid 2017 - customer deliveries begin in late 2017.

Tesla Model 3

As the most affordable EV in the Tesla’s current lineup, the Model 3 has become the best-selling electric vehicle in the world to date, and has helped pushed its creator over the top as the name to beat to the EV market. Below is a guide outlining everything you need to know about the Tesla Model 3 including its history, how much it costs to buy, and even what it’ll (roughly) cost to charge.

The Model 3 – the most affordable Tesla

Even during the early success of Tesla’s Model S and Model X, CEO Elon Musk was publicly focused on the automaker’s goal of delivering an EV for $35,000 that more consumers could afford to drive.

That goal came to fruition in 2016, when Tesla officially announced its new Model 3 sedan, which debuted on the automaker’s third-generation platform now present on both the Model 3 and Model Y.

Some of the early speculation surrounding the Model 3 is quite funny to look back on. There’s a step into the time portal before the world set its eyes on Tesla’s cheapest model:

After receiving over 130,000 reservations in the first 24 hours,Tesla’s most affordable model began delivering to consumers in July 2017.

Since then, it has zoomed past the rest of the market in terms of sales, alongside a refresh in 2021.You can learn more about the 2021 refresh from the Electrek team here:

The Model 3 currently sits as the best-selling BEV on the planet, and continues its reign as Tesla’s top seller year after year.

So what does the current Tesla Model 3 offer, and at what cost? Everything you need to know to get up to speed has been compiled for you below.


The Model 3 currently comes in three separate trims: a single-motor RWD powertrain in the Standard Range Plus, and two dual motor, AWD trims in the Long Range and Performance versions.

These three variations increase in price respectively and can vary based on a number of add-ons, but more on that later. To begin, let’s focus on what each of these trims can get you in terms of performance and range.

The cheapest and most bare bones of Teslas is the Standard Range Plus Model 3 sedan. This single-motor, RWD trim comes with a 50 kWh battery and offers an estimated 263 miles of range, and a top speed of 140 mph. It can also travel 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

The dual motor AWD Long Range Model 3 offers an estimated range of 353 miles, a top speed of 145 mph, and a 0-60 travel time of 4.2 seconds. This trim along with the Performance version comes with a larger 82 kWh battery.

Speaking of which, the dual motor Performance trim loses some mileage compared to the Long Range Model 3, offering an estimated range of 315 miles. However, where it lacks in range, it makes up for in speed, topping out at 162 mph and traveling 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds (without rollout subtracted).

No matter what trim you choose, the Model 3 comes with seating for up to five, and offers 23 cubic feet of cargo space.

Top speed of the Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 is by no means the fastest of Tesla’s current fleet (although it remains the cheapest option). That being said, this EV still offers sufficient speed for an electric sedan. Here are the top speeds for all three current trims of the Model 3:

  • Standard Range Plus – 140 mph
  • Long Range – 145 mph
  • Performance – 162 mph

How much does a Tesla Model 3 weigh?

This may seem like an odd question, but it’s one we come across a lot. The Standard Range Plus Model 3 weighs 3,582 lbs., while both the Long Range and Performance trims come in at 4,065 lbs.

Tesla Model 3

How much does a Tesla Model 3 cost?

The next question to arise is almost always, How much does this Tesla cost?

Prices vary depending on the trim, cosmetic customizations, and a number of add-ons. To give you the full perspective of what you might pay for a Tesla, we’re going to give you both the high and low end of each variation.

Note: All prices are accurate at the time of this posting and do no include any destination fees, taxes, or federal tax rebates. Let’s begin with the most affordable Model 3, the Standard Range Plus.

This trim starts at a purchase price of $44,990 with zero upgrades, and can go as high as $59,490. The latter price includes every top feature available such as red paint, white interior, 19-inch sport wheels, and full self- driving capabilities.

If you’re looking to drive the cheapest version of the cheapest Tesla, you may have to wait a bit. Tesla recently announced a six month delay on the Standard Range Model 3, now arriving in January of 2022.

The Long Range Model 3 starts at $50,990 and can reach a top end price of $65,490 with all the aforementioned add-ons.

Lastly, the Performance version of the Model 3 starts at $58,990 and reach a top end price of $71,990 including 20″ Überturbine wheels.

Prices vary in the Chinese market, but Tesla has recently lowered the Model 3 price in Asia. Conversely, prices in the US continue to rise alongside the Model Y for the 2022 model year.

Earlier this year, Electrek‘s own Michelle Lewis purchased her very first Tesla, and has documented the entire purchasing process, updating us every couple months following her Model 3 delivery.

Why have Model 3 prices gone up?

Remember that goal mentioned above about delivering a $35,000 EV to the masses? Well, Tesla actually pulled it off, but only for a fleeting moment, likely to give Tesla the credit to say it had in fact hit the price point originally promised by Elon Musk.

In November 2020, Tesla quietly removed this $35,000 option to make room for its 2021 refresh. Prices have continued to fluctuate since then, but have trended upward.

With the 2022 model year versions now for sale, the cheapest Tesla you can buy is the Model 3 for $44,990 before taxes, fees, or rebates. Quite a ways off from the original $35k target.

Fear not, Tesla is still working on a $25k model to debut in the next couple years.

Refreshed interior on the Model 3 / Source: Tesla

How long does it take to charge a Model 3?

Another common question among new or prospective Tesla owners is How long does it take to charge a Tesla? Much like the Model 3 pricing, a number of factors contribute to how quickly you can get your Tesla recharged and back on the road.

First, it’s important to have a clear understanding of EV charging standards and how they vary. From here, you’ll be able to better understand the three levels of charging, and what sort of times you can expect to encounter with your Tesla.

Again, charge times may vary based on these factors, but here’s a broad breakdown of Tesla charge speeds.

  • Level 1 AC (110-120V outlet at home): 20-40 hours
  • AC Level 2 (220-240V – Third party chargers/Tesla chargers/Tesla home charger): 8-12 hours
  • Level 3 DC fast charger (480+ volts – Third party chargers/Tesla Supercharger): 15-25 minutes

When you’re in a pinch or on a road trip, the Tesla Supercharger network is by all means the best choice. However, due to their massive direct current (DC), Superchargers are not recommended for daily charging.

Tesla recommends Level 2 charging at home if possible.

For more information on Tesla’s Supercharger network, check out our detailed guide.

What is the max Supercharging power available on the Model 3?

Tesla’s Superchargers can draw some massive power directly from the grid to help charge your Tesla quickly.

With that said, you’ll want to be aware of what the maximum level of power your Model 3 can handle while charging.

For example, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 has a maximum power of 170 kW, while the other two dual motor trims can handle a max power of 250 kW.

This might call for an over-the-air update to the Model 3 if possible, because Elon Musk has mentioned future Superchargers capable of delivering 300 kW of power.

How much does it cost to charge a Model 3?

Another common question that is not so easily answered is, How much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Again, there are a number of factors that contribute to this approximate number. Everything from what state you live in, to the level of charging, all the way to what time of day it is.

By gathering average residential energy costs in the US from the Energy Information Administration, we are able to share an estimated cost to charge at home on either Level 1 or Level 2 AC charging.

Cost to charge at home

The 50 kWh battery on the Standard Range Plus Model 3 will cost approximately $8.24 to charge from 0 to 100%.

The 82 kWh battery in the other two trims will cost $13.51 on average in the US, while accounting for an 85% charging efficiency (AC charging loses energy in the form of heat by converting it to DC for the EV battery).

In terms of mileage, the Long Range Model 3 equates to about $0.038 per mile and $3.83 for 100 miles of range. The Performance trim costs about $0.043 per mile or $4.39 per 100 miles.

Lastly, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 will cost approximately $0.031 per mile and only $3.13 for 100 miles of range.

Cost to charge on a Supercharger

Since Superchargers pull DC power directly from the grid, they are much more efficient and can lead to lower charging costs alongside much faster speeds.

The 50 kWh battery on the Standard Range Plus Model 3 costs roughly $5.79 to fully charge, while the 82 kWh battery on either of the other two trims totals around $9.49 each.

In terms of mileage, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 costs about $0.022 per mile and $2.20 for 100 miles of range.

The Performance trim costs around $0.030 per mile or $3.01 per 100 miles.

Finally, the Long Range Model 3 is approximately $0.027 per mile on a DCFC, equaling around $2.69 per 100 miles.

Model 3 FAQ

What’s the cheapest Tesla you can buy?

Easy. That would be the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, starting at $44,990 before taxes, fees, or tax rebates.

Can you lease a Tesla Model 3?

Definitely. Check out our Tesla lease guide for the latest terms and prices:
How much is a Tesla lease? Everything you need to know

What’s the closest Tesla to the Model 3?

The Model 3 resembles the Model S because they are both sedans, but it shares a majority of the same DNA with the Model Y, as both sit upon the same platform.

Does the Model 3 come with free unlimited supercharging?

If you’re buying a brand new Model 3, you do not qualify for free unlimited supercharging from Tesla.
Some Performance versions of the Model 3 did come with free unlimited Supercharging for the life of the EV in 2018-2019. With that said, that deal only applied to the original owner of the EV and is non-transferrable.
You can check for yourself here.

Read more:

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Electrek is sponsored by, the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to get a Tesla Model 3. If you have a credit card, you can reserve a Tesla now. Learn more and get $500 off for a limited time. (See Terms.)

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