It might. Eventually. But for now, many of the Tesla Model 3’s promises fall short of reality.
1. You can’t really buy one for $35,000.
Yes, the Model 3 has a base price of $35,000 before options. But you, and everyone else who buys a Tesla is going to want some of those options, if not all of them. Check the boxes for the $9,000 long-range battery, the $5,000 Premium Upgrade Package, the $5,000 Enhance Autopilot, the $3,000 Self-Driving software, $1,500 19-inch wheels and $1,000 metallic paint and that affordable $35,000 Model 3 suddenly becomes a $60,000 proposition.
Tesla will build only fully optioned models at first, because that is where the money is and because those cars will best represent the brand’s image. They say they will get to the lower-configuration models later.
But what they’ve done in the past is quietly drop lower-specification versions of the Model S that were supposed to provide a lower-cost option for buyers. There is no reason to think that won’t happen again with the Model 3.
2. You can’t really get one.
When BMW introduced the X5, its very first crossover SUV at the 1999 North American International …