Tesla drops base Model S, but makes significant price cuts

2018 Tesla Model S Snow

Just days after Tesla reported the highest level of deliveries in its history, the EV maker is now trying to further boost sales by lowering some prices and simplifying model variants and trim packages. Enthusiasts should note that the changes mean that the most exciting Teslas will now be significantly less expensive.

“To make purchasing our vehicles even simpler, we are standardizing our global vehicle lineup and streamlining the number of trim packages offered for Model S, Model X and Model 3,” Tesla said in a statement. “We are also adjusting our pricing in order to continue to improve affordability for customers.” So far, there's no word on how existing Tesla customers feel about their cars' instant depreciation.

The standard-range editions of the Model S flagship and upmarket Model X SUV have been discontinued while the prices on what are now the entry-level Long Range versions of those vehicles have been dropped. The price of the Model 3 Standard Range Plus has also been reduced. The formerly $93,000 Model X Long Range is now $88,000 and the price of the Model S Long Range has also been reduced by $5000 to $79,990 (all prices are before any government incentives or Tesla's touted gasoline savings).

Tesla's long-anticipated $35,000 Model 3 is no longer listed on Tesla's direct-sale website but Cnet reports that it is still available “off-menu.” The cheapest Model 3 listed on the Tesla website is now the rear-wheel drive only Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which is now priced at $38,990, down $1000.

Of particular interest to car guys and gals are the price reductions on the quicker Teslas. The Model 3 Performance is now $54,990, about $5000 cheaper than it was before, but the real bargain is on the Performance variations of the Model S and Model X, which now feature Ludicrous Mode, what used to be a $20,000 option, as standard equipment.

Tesla may be lowering prices, but the company is apparently banking on making it up with volume.

A couple of weeks ago, Tesla announced it had reached company-record levels of both production and deliveries in the second quarter of 2019, building 87,048 vehicles and delivering 95,200, up by 51 percent from the first quarter. Of those deliveries, 80 percent were for the Model 3, Tesla's mass-market car that it hopes will put the company in the black permanently. We'll find out how much profit Tesla turned on those sales when it reports quarterly financial results next week.