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Tesla sneaks past Canada EV incentive law with cheap 93-mile-range Model 3

Zac Palmer
May 1, 2019
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UPDATE: We asked Tesla for more information regarding the 93-mile Model 3 and learned that in order to comply with Canada's rules for the incentive, it's not able to provide a post-purchase software upgrade to increase the range. This means that if anybody actually did purchase one of these cars, it would be forever locked at a software-limited 93-mile range.

The Tesla Model 3 has been too expensive to qualify for the federal EV incentive in Canada due to the restrictions the Canadian government has in place. In order for a consumer to take advantage of the $5,000 rebate up for grabs, a car must have an MSRP lower than $45,000 (Canadian). The total price with options has to come in under $55,000, too. Up until now, the cheapest Model 3 available in Canada was $47,000 — this one is the equivalent to our $35,000 (U.S.) Standard Range model that isn't available for ordering on Tesla's website. It's not available to order via Tesla's Canada website, either. However, a new bulletin from the company suggests Tesla has found a way to skirt around Canada's price rules.

Apparently, Tesla is changing the Model 3 Standard Range to a software-limited 93-mile range vehicle that starts at $44,999, just $1 under the $45,000 limit set by Canada. Since its base price is under $45,000, then the Standard Range Plus also qualifies for the $5,000 incentive. This vehicle starts at $53,700, and is available for ordering via Tesla's website. Because it's considered a trim level of the Model 3 "Standard Range" and comes in under $55,000, Tesla and Canada say it's good for the $5,000 EV incentive. The $53,700 base price is no different than what was listed before this revelation, but after the incentive it's down to $48,700.

If you're still laughing at the 93-mile Standard Range vehicle now available in Canada, we don't blame you. Of course, we're sure Tesla doesn't expect anybody to buy and live with a 93-mile Model 3 for any length of time, but it sure is wild that the car is technically orderable via the phone or Tesla store.

Tesla has previously done some tinkering with pricing in response to German regulations after objecting to that country's EV incentive price cap. But this one takes the cake as the cleverest/sneakiest of them all. Canada's intent with the rule is to make sure it isn't just handing out money to very wealthy folks to buy electric cars, and Tesla has found a way to push it as far as possible. Tesla's workaround appears to be functional for now, and at the speed that governments typically move, we don't imagine things will be changing too quickly.

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