It's been a long road, but the right-hand drive Tesla Model 3 has at last gone on sale in the UK. Elon Musk previously teased a May launch date for the most "affordable" car in Tesla's range, after a rocky start to deliveries in Europe.
At this point, some customers have had their Model 3 reserved for three years, with demand remaining strong throughout that time. Since its announcement, the saloon car's offering has changed several times, most significantly removing the very lowest models that the new EV's promised affordability were based on.
As it stands, prices for the Model 3 start at £38,900 ($50,853) for the Standard Range Plus model, rising to £47,900 ($62,691) for the Long Range model and £56,900 ($74,385) for the top-end Performance model. US retail prices start at $39,500, $49,500 and $59,500 for the above models, respectively, but don't include taxes.
The company's payment summary on the Tesla e-commerce site itemises the cost, listing the VAT, 'destination and documentation fee' and the UK's £3,500 Plug-In Car Grant, all of which are included.
However, the site then highlights £9,500 of fuel savings ($12,419, but Tesla sets that at $4,300 in the US) compared to a petrol vehicle, and comes up with an 'after savings' price of £29,400 ($38,434). This is likely a move to justify the car's cost and give a figure that can be more easily compared with the purchase price of petrol vehicles, but it's not the clearest way to get that across.
The cost of charging the Model 3 also does not appear to be factored into this calculation, which is particularly confusing since Tesla's Superchargers won't be free to use for Model 3 owners. Model X and Model S owners get free lifetime use of the Supercharger network.
Elon Musk has commented that free Supercharging would be too expensive for the company to provide to owners of the lower-cost vehicle – financial security is a particularly acute concern after Tesla laid off 7 percent of its workforce in January.
Adding Tesla's 'Full Self-Driving Capability' to the Model 3 increases the cost by £4,900 ($6,405) if you order it before delivery, or £6,800 ($8,889) if it's added after. Those options are priced at $5,000 and $7,000, respectively, in the US. The small print on this feature notes that "The currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous."
The first Model 3s will go to people who placed the earliest reservations, with deliveries starting in June.