Here's the real price of a Tesla Model 3

  • Tesla Model 3Timothy Artman/TeslaTesla’s Model 3 is the company’s first mass-market car.

    Tesla’s Model 3 starts at $US35,000, but additional features could bump the final price up to $US55,000.

  • Some upgrades seem necessary, like the ability to automatically adjust seats.
  • Other premium features, like self-driving software, may not be worth the additional costs.

Tesla’s calling card for the Model 3 is that it’s the company’s first mass-market vehicle.

With a starting price of $US35,000, Tesla isn’t wrong to tout the sedan’s affordability. But the car could potentially cost a lot more by the time you get through the ordering process. Here’s what you need to know:

The base Model 3 is pretty bare

Most will want to purchase the Model 3’s Premium package for features that are usually standard, like the ability to adjust the front seats automatically or a covered center console.

The Premium package costs $US5,000 and also includes features like a tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection, LED fog lamps, and two rear USBs.

With that package, you’re looking at $US40,000 all in.

Enhanced Autopilot costs extra

Model 3 Interior Dash EMBARGOED DO NOT USETeslaThe Model 3 doesn’t have an instrument cluster. Everything is shown on a center display.

The Model 3 comes equipped with the necessary hardware to support Tesla’s second-generation Autopilot system, but you need to pay an extra $US5,000 to activate it.

Enhanced Autopilot will eventually allow the car to match its speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, merge on and off highways, and park itself. The Summon feature also works in more complex environments, like parking garages.

Tesla is pushing out the features over time. Those who have paid for the system on the Model S and Model X currently have access to first-generation features like active cruise control, forward collision warning, and Autosteer.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also said the hardware will eventually allow the cars to be fully self-driving. Those who purchased a Model 3 can pay for future access for an additional $US3,000 on top of the Enhanced Autopilot purchase.

It may be worth holding off on that purchase, though.

Musk said earlier this month that Tesla may delay its big demonstration of the technology. Additionally, the federal government has yet to finalise regulations for self-driving cars. You might as well save a couple thousand dollars until there is a more concrete roll-out plan.

At the very least, if you want the true Tesla Autopilot experience, you’re looking at $US45,000 for the Model 3.

Extra touches

This is standard across the auto industry, but a paint job outside black will cost an extra $US1,000. You can also elect to get 19-inch Sport wheels for an additional $US1,500.

The base Model 3 can drive 220 miles on a single charge and accelerate to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. For $US9,000, buyers can get a bigger battery that will bump the range to 310 miles and improve acceleration to 5.1 seconds.

It’s also worth noting that access to Tesla’s massive Supercharger network, a huge perk of owning the vehicle, now costs a small fee.

Tack those features on and the Model 3 hovers in the mid-$US50,000 range.

So what’s standard?

Tesla Model 3Timothy Artman/TeslaThe pearl white paint job on the Model 3 costs an additional $US1,000.

As is the case when purchasing a car from any dealer, how much the additional features matter is entirely up to the customer.

There are a lot of mass-market cars on the market that cost roughly $US35,000 after adding premium features, which can make Tesla’s base price seem a bit high.

Still, you’re not going to get the Tesla experience anywhere else. The budget conscious could always choose to hold off on luxe features like Enhanced Autopilot until they feel a bit more secure. Tesla offers standard safety features, like emergency braking, for free.

Other standard features include keyless entry, Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, voice-activated controls, onboard maps and navigation, and a 12-volt power outlet.

None of this factors in deductions from federal and state tax incentives. Keep in mind that the $US7,500 federal tax incentive starts to phase out once an automaker sells 200,000 vehicles domestically — a target Tesla is approaching.

“We are committed to providing you with the most current information about incentives at the time of purchase,” Tesla’s webpage reads. “We’ll do the same when it’s time for confirming your Model 3 order.”

Get the latest Tesla stock price here.

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