Tesla is making major announcements right now - some good, some bad.
Starting with the good news first, the company is finally making available a $35,000 version of its Model 3 car in the US.
To be clear, there are many version of this car. Previously, the most affordable version, which had a 220-mile range, started at $42,900. Now, the "Standard Range" base model will start at $35,000. It has a top speed of 130mph and can go from 0 to 60mph in 5.6 seconds. A second version, the Standard Range Plus, will start at $37,000. It has 240 miles of range, a top speed of 140mph, and will go from 0 to 60mph in 5.3 seconds.
All new versions of the Model 3 will feature an all-glass roof, manual seats, and be available in black. Other colours and more premium features will add to the cost. These new Model 3 cars should even available in Europe and China in “three to six months", CEO Elon Musk said on a call.
Lastly, for the good news, Tesla will now allow buyers to return any car for a full refund within 7 days or 1,000 miles. “Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free,” the company said in a blog post.
As for the bad news, Tesla is moving all sales of its cars online. That means you'll no longer be able to buy a car in a Tesla store. It also means Tesla is "winding down" many of its stores. Only high-traffic stores will stay open as "galleries, showcases, and Tesla information centers". As a result of this change, Musk said there will be layoffs. "I wish there was some other way," Musk explained.
Musk said Tesla has been able to lower the price of its Model 3 cars by 6 per cent - finally getting to that long-promised $35,000 price point - by closing its physical shops across the world. “There’s no other way for us to achieve the savings required to provide this car and be financially sustainable . . . Unfortunately, it will entail reduction in force on the retail side. There’s no way around it.”
On other other hand, Musk promised Tesla will expand service centers - and possibly its headcount there - in 2019.