More Expensive Tesla 3’s versions will be made first

Tesla will only build the $49,000 310 mile range Tesla Model 3 with upgraded interior version until at least November. The base $35,000 Model 3 will not be available until sometime in 2018.

A $5,000 package upgrades the interior to something more in keeping with luxury car standards. It costs another $1,500 if you want 19″ wheels instead of the standard 18″ wheels, $1,000 for a color other than black, and $5,000 to activate Autopilot. An extra $3,000 will unlock “full self-driving” capabilities — once regulators give the green light. A fully loaded Model 3 would cost nearly $60,000 today. This doesn’t even include future upgrades like a dual-motor configuration and “Ludicrous” mode, which will undoubtedly cost even more.

This makes sense for Tesla, but it’s bad news for anyone looking to save money. Based on Tesla’s production plans, the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric car buyers is likely to start phasing out in mid-2018, before disappearing entirely in mid-2019.

At the time the $35,000 Model 3s in high volume, the full $7,500 credit is unlikely to be available. Anyone ordering a Model 3 today is likely to qualify for a $3,750 credit at best, and potentially less (depending on whether Tesla can meet its production goals).

The base Model S with the $6000 for autopilot and $4000 for full self driving costs $77500 but currently has about $10,000 in tax incentives from the US and California governments.