Elon Musk: $35,000 Tesla Model 3 arrives but job cuts coming as sales shift online

Tesla to slash sales force now that the Model 3 electric car is finally ready to order.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Tesla's long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 electric car is finally available to buy, just under three years after hundreds of thousands of people started placing deposits for pre-order vehicles. 

The standard Model 3 has a range of 220 miles and its single electric motor is capable of 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. 

The standard interior includes heated cloth seats, manual seat and steering adjustment, basic audio, standard maps and navigation, and a center console with storage and four USB ports. 

Tesla has also announced a Standard Range Plus model, which has a 240-mile range with a top speed of 140mph and can do 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds. This model costs $37,000. 

Along with the Model 3 announcement, Tesla said it will also close most of its showrooms around the world and shift sales to online only. As part of that shift, it's introducing a new returns policy, allowing buyers to return a car within seven days or 1,000 miles and get a full refund. 

The $2,000 'partial premium interior' includes 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, premium seat material and trim, better audio, standard maps, LED fog lamps, and the standard center console with two smartphone docks. 

The $5,000 extra premium interior brings heated seats to the rear, 14 speakers, a sub-woofer, and two amps. Maps gains a satellite view with live traffic visualization and navigation, and there's internet access for streaming content, a browser, location-aware garage door opener, LED for lights, and the same console as the partial premium offer. 

The other extras Tesla is offering include its controversial Autopilot capabilities. For an extra $3,000, buyers get Autopilot that can "steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane". 

To get 'full self-driving', buyers will need to stump up $5,000 extra, which enables "automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars", auto-parking, and 'summon', the feature that makes a parked car find the owner. 

SEE: The new commute: How driverless cars, hyperloop, and drones will change our travel plans (TechRepublic cover story) | download the PDF version

Later this year, Tesla will add features for recognizing and responding to traffic lights and stop signs, and automatic driving on city streets. Buyers can add full self-driving after delivery but it costs $7,000.     

Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to staff about the company's shift to online-only sales and warned there will be job losses for sales and marketing staff.  

The store closures will impact "some jobs" and some people will be transitioned to other areas of the business. 

"This is a hard decision, but it [is] necessary to make our cars more affordable. Our sales team has fought on the front lines of advancing our mission and has been our connection to hundreds of thousands of customers along the way. I want to express my sincere gratitude for all that you've done," he wrote.

"In the coming weeks, we will be evaluating all of our sales and marketing organization to understand where there are operational efficiencies, and how best to support the transition to online sales while also continuing to deliver a truly awesome and educational Tesla buying experience."


The standard Model 3 has a range of 220 miles and its single electric motor is capable of 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. 

Image: Tesla

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