back to article His Muskiness wheels out the Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk's Tesla has delivered its first Model 3 electric car – straight into the hands of Elon Musk. The Model 3 is, as the BBC breathlessly billed it, "Tesla's first mass-market car". It will retail for just $35,000 – "almost half that of Tesla's next cheapest model" – according to the Beeb's Tesla plug, complete with …

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It will retail for just $35,000

Splendid! Does that mean that I can expect to pay around £27,000 in Blighty, or will VAT, shipping and various other 'screw the British" taxes bump that up to £45,000? I know which one I am expecting.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I think your expectations are realistic.

Still sounds expensive to me, but then again, my 1999 Civic is probably worth less than a thousand.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Sigh....

US exclude Taxes

UK prices include taxes.

Granted US taxes on cars is around 4 - 7%, but that is often on book price, not sale price.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Most companies seem to do $1 = £1 when pricing things for the UK. Some may add an extra margin for giggles. I'm looking at you Nvidia.

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FAIL

Re: It will retail for just $35,000

don't forget to include the cost of the diesel generator.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

"Still sounds expensive to me, but then again, my 1999 Civic is probably worth less than a thousand."

Recently we spent a week with our car's parking space next to one occupied by a Cayenne. Ours is a little Toyota estate, none too new. Out of curiosity I looked things up in the guide and discovered that the wonders of depreciation made ours worth about £1000 more than the Cayenne.

I mention this because there are two important factors to consider with the Model 3: Insurance - so far electric cars have tended to be very high indeed presumably because of potential specialised repair costs - and depreciation. As electric cars are likely to improve very fast, I suspect that too will be very high. Musk is trying to offset this by claiming that all the equipment is on board to allow regular improvements to autonomy, but you don't know what is going to be available in 2020 - including electronics that are two generations of Moore's Law further on.

The value of a 1999 Civic may be close to zero but, like a boat, an electric car at the moment looks like something that runs on large infusions of money.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I think the calculation would be something like

35KUSD =27K GBP

Add VAT (%20) (5.4K) which takes us to 32.5K

Subtract EV grant( 4.5K) which leaves us at 28K

Obviously, there will be extras. If you want a bigger battery you'll need to pay more (and probably wait longer as the initial car configurator only lets you choose wheels and colour. If you want to change battery, etc you'll need to wait for the production line to mature).

You will need a garage or at least a drive. If you live in an apartment block or have a flat you won't be able to charge it at home, so that probably rules this group out as purchasers.

If you do have these things then charging is cheap, costing about £2-3 for a full charge. There's also no Road Tax and you can drive in most congestion charge areas with impunity (though why anyone in their right mind would want to drive through central London is beyond me). I figure this will save me about 1.2K a year in running costs, which is significant.

So, if you've got 28K, a garage or a driveway then you can probably buy one. What you get in return is lower running costs.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

"There's also no Road Tax " - You mean Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)? If the list price (the published price before any discounts) is over £40k then there is VED of an extra £310 per year to pay, no matter what the CO2 emissions.

Is no one looking at hydrogen anymore? What are people living in flats and/or have no dedicated parking space supposed to do? Is every street with flats / shared housing going to be supplied with either fixed charging poles or inductive charging?

With level 4 self-driving cars available from Ford in 3 years, why bother buying a car, just order one to turn up at your doorstep when you need it.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

As well as the potential repair costs of the specialised electronics and particularly the battery packs, this is also in a fairly high performance vehicle category with a sub 6-second 0-60 time.

This is likely to affect insurance premiums adversely also.

It is an exciting development though, and it will be very interesting to see where EVs are in 3 or 4 years time.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Um check out the price of the mustang in the UK Vs the US. 2.3 eco boost is 20,337.05GBP in the US and in the UK £33,645 Even with taxes and fees that still a big difference.

Most companies seem to do $1 = £1 when pricing things for the UK. Some may add an extra margin for giggles. I'm looking at you Nvidia.

If they did that in my example the mustang would still be cheaper as it $26,195

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I am surprised Mr Musk hasn't followed the Porsche example and de-tuned the cheaper cars so that they don't compete with their more expensive cars on performance. Don't want the masses being able to overtake the <1%.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I had a brand new Leaf and the insurance was about £320 - so for me about £100 more than a worthless shed. I think at the moment electric car drivers are likely to be a much better risk than the general population so it offsets any increased repair costs, obviously a mass market car will produce different statistics eventually. It's also possible that they aren't subject to certain types of damage, eg. a front-end impact might run critical parts of a petrol engine but the motor in an electric car might survive. Likewise I have waded my Leaf in flood waters I probably wouldn't have risked a petrol car (and in retrospect, probably wouldn't have taken it again, but there you go).

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Is no one looking at hydrogen anymore?

Yes, Toyota and Hyundai have been pushing this, and both have cars on the road. Hyundai claim they'll sell you one for £53k on the road, with 350 miles range. Unfortunately the physical attributes of hydrogen create a range of practical challenges that are expensive to overcome, plus the high energy-cost of producing hydrogen mean that it isn't looking like a prime time candidate anytime in the next decade. In theory you could convert every petrol station to a hydrogen station and change the entire car fleet to H2, but there's no practical source for that volume of H2, and the costs of changeover would be several billion quid.

What are people living in flats and/or have no dedicated parking space supposed to do? Is every street with flats / shared housing going to be supplied with either fixed charging poles or inductive charging?

Probably not, but a mix of options could be created. In particular, if the cars will support 120 kW fast chargers, then the weekly aggregate charging time for an average private car is about the same as the typical dwell time on a weekly supermarket trip (circa 45 minutes charging, c8,000 miles per annum). Put in some buffering battery storage in shipping containers at the supermarket, cable up a third of the spaces for charging, and in concept it'd be no less practical than the way that many people currently fill up with fuel when they do a grocery run.

Where the electricity is going to come from is a much more pressing problem, followed by how to distribute it - the charging aspects are fairly easy by comparison.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Here in Australia, we are also used to inexplicably paying far too much for imported goods. We call it The Australia Tax.

Unlike (for example) Ze Germans, who take the absolute piss, Tesla's pricing in Australia is (almost) just the US base price, converted to AUD, plus taxes. I would expect the UK pricing to be similar.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

H2 is a non starter for cars in my view (and I'm hardly alone). It isn't dense enough without compression/liquefication for a practical driving range (huge energy overhead right there). It requires some pretty expensive parts inside the catalyst (that bit does have some progress but it's not happening tomorrow).

Most importantly, it requires hydrogen in very large quantities. Hydrogen is light* so doesn't on its own collect in untapped wells. That means you need to split it off some other molecule. Water works, sure. Add some electricity, get your 2 H2O => 2 H2 + O2. But you have just lost at least 35% of the energy you put in. Far more cost effective to start with natural gas: CH4 + O2 => 2 H2 + CO2. Then I guess you can vent that CO2 into the atmosphere thereby defeating the purpose of switching away from fossil fuels in the first place.

So apart from being dirtier, less efficient, harder to handle, more expensive to construct the"engine", I say it had great potential. It's only saving grace is that you can refill it quickly. Don't get me wrong, that's important, but to me that's a much easier problem to imagine a solution to than all the others I have listed.

*Citation needed

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It will retail for just $35,000

You think you Aussies have it bad try the Canucks . Prices are so bad that in boarder towns we often have more Canadian shoppers the American. Oh and cars they pay any were from 1-20 percent more than Americans even if the car is made in Canada. Oh and dont try buying a new car in the US if you are Canadian. The only company that will sell a new car to Canuck in the styates is Ford. And then you have to pay cash no financing. THis is not do to taxes it's just because American companies have always charged more in Canada.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

You think you Aussies have it bad try the Canucks . Prices are so bad that in boarder towns we often have more Canadian shoppers the American. Oh and cars they pay any were from 1-20 percent more than Americans even if the car is made in Canada.

I firmly believe that many companies use international markets are used to subsidise the US market, however I can almost guarantee you that the Canadian situation isn't close. Australia is a unique market; isolated, wealthy and with very little local production. No opportunity to cross the border for better prices. Perfect conditions for gouging.

A high end BMW or Porsche costs almost twice as much here as in the US, for no good reason other than the market will bear it. Unlike a country like Norway, here it has nothing to do with taxation.

When the Australian-designed-and-built Holden Commodore was sold in the US as the Pontiac G8, it cost less than it did here, and unlike a Canadian built car it didn't merely have to sit on a truck for a few hours and cross a shared border to get to its destination.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

...diesel generator.

Dinosaur compost bin?

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Chz

Re: It will retail for just $35,000

BMW used to be at the forefront of H2 cars - they saw it as The Future quite a long way back and were pretty much the ambassadors for it. How quickly we forget all the hydrogen powered 7-series ferrying people around at the 2012 Olympics.

But even they've been quiet on it lately and pushed out the nifty little i3 instead. I think that sort of puts the writing on the wall, when the technology's biggest pusher has quietly shelved it.

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Boffin

Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I am surprised Mr Musk hasn't followed the Porsche example and de-tuned the cheaper cars so that they don't compete with their more expensive cars on performance. Don't want the masses being able to overtake the <1%.

He's actually already done that.

Top of line. 0-60 in under 3.

More space, longer distance.

So this car will have good (ok great) acceleration but not as good as the higher priced models.

It is smaller than the other sedan and doesn't offer 4x4/AWD .

So its a good deal, if you can house the car and charger. Note that the price of installing the super charger at home isn't included or has decreased.

The one thing that you have to watch out for is that when you do a software upgrade, you can't downgrade. This is a problem for those who own earlier models and the software upgrade may create problems. (My brother in law has one) The other thing... if you're over 6", you won't be comfortable in the back seat. Not enough head room.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

"followed the Porsche example and de-tuned the cheaper cars so that they don't compete with their more expensive cars on performance"

How do you make them cheaper?

"Tuning" costs money. Higher boost turbos, more exotic exhaust valves and seats, more accurate engine balancing, more complex exhaust geometries, higher capacity cooling systems and the like all cost money. You don't "de-tune" simply by reprogramming the ECU. Not, that is, if you want to make profits.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

| Is no one looking at hydrogen anymore?

Check out the Riversimple Rasa http://www.riversimple.com/ - weird and wonderful Welsh hydrogen car that's also looking at a different ownership model - CAAS

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I'd love to know where people get the notion that charging an electric car is so cheap, £2-3 my arse.

60kWhr * £0.14/kWhr = £8.4 (not including charging losses)

Although that's four times what you're claiming, it still sounds kinda cheap compared to diesel/ petrol. But it's not when you consider the taxes.

A similar car would need about 18l of diesel/ petrol to go the model 3 range of 215 miles (assuming 54mpg). That would be £20.7 at £1.15/l, but when you strip out the taxes it's only £6.84 at £0.38/l.

Add back in the electricity VAT rate of 5% and you get £7.18 worth of petrol to go the same distance as a Tesla model 3.

Electric cars do not work without subsidies.

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Pint

Re: It will retail for just $35,000

SK mentioned, "...potential repair costs of....particularly the battery packs..."

Once upon a time, the Tesla Model S was in the news after an unfortunate owner left one parked at an airport with a dead battery. The news mentioned that the replacement battery pack was US$40,000+, and *not* under warranty. The price may have varied since then.

In any case, it's a safe bet that the battery pack for the US$35k Model 3 can't be US$40k.

So progress... Credit Musk, progress...

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Is no one looking at hydrogen anymore?

Where the energy will come from for the production of loads of hydrogen is a problem, but isn't actually the main one. Hydrogen is very difficult to transport and store as it embrittles steel and leaks from just about any tank. Pipelines and tanks need special coatings, making the storage and transport of hydrogen expensive.

Also if that hydrogen is generated using heat from burning natural gas then overall you're not really doing the environment any favours.

A better store of hydrogen might be ammonia. You can burn this in an ICE, and you can burn it in an ICE without producing loads of Nitrous Oxides if it has 2% hydrogen blended in. Ammonia can be converted to hydrogen at the filling station. Meaning only a small tank of 98% NH3/2% H2 needs to be specially coated, rather than large H2 tanks and pipelines.

For the production of NH3, if any of the 4th generation nuclear reactors come to be (Molten Salt reactors or Helium cooled pebble bed reactors) these reactors have heat output temperatures of over 520 degrees Celsius allowing cheaper production of NH3.

You could also use ammonia to power long haul truck transport, ships, and aeroplanes. you could even pipe it into people's homes for heating like we do now with natural gas.

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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

I've never found being over six inches to be a problem in the back seat of any car.

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I'm a bit dim, so can someone explain why Tesla pay tax when they don't make a profit?

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Who said they currently pay tax?

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Negative tax - lots of subsidies for green stuff

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I'll be honest I'm struggling to see why I'd want to splurge 35 grand on an electric Mondeo.

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Mass market?

The Model 3 is, as the BBC breathlessly billed it, "Tesla's first mass-market car".

...

The Grauniad reports Musk as saying initial production will be 100 cars in August, ramping up to 1,500 in September

This is clearly some new meaning of "Mass Market" with which I was previously unfamiliar

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Re: Mass market?

Mass market doesn't mean infinite production capacity on day one.

Ford Focus is pretty much mass market - and they sold 15k in the US in June.

So Tesla are getting to 10% of a *very* well established production line in the first couple of months. That's not too shabby...

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Re: Mass market?

It's aimed at the mass market and when it is widely available at that price it will be.

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Re: Mass market?

They are going to ramp it up to 20,000 a month by the end of the year. They hope.

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JRW

Re: Mass market?

The Focus is almost half the price of the Model 3. Both are mass market, but not in the same price band. For Model 3 entry money you can get a 5lt V8 Mustang. Since I don't live in the US or have $35K to spend on a car it's not a choice I have to over think.

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Re: Mass market?

You could indeed get a 5lt V8 Mustang, but wtf would you? it would cost a bloody fortune to run, and the handling is agricultural. So basically a bit shit as commuter car.

Looking forward to the model 3, waiting for early teething troubles to be fixed, and the queue to die down a bit! And need to save up some cash.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mass market?

Agreed. And until there is a Tesla for around the same price as a Focus/Astra etc then it won't cater for the mass market.

Also the model 3 is a 3 box saloon. Aren't hatchbacks more popular in Europe than saloons?

Mass Market, my left foot.

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is more mass market priced than the Tesla but I'd better shut up as the Tesla Fanbois will be along soon to snuff out all dissention in the ranks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mass market?

"5lt V8 Mustang.......the handling is agricultural"

I don't think that is the case anymore. But I'm not going to buy one to verify that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mass market?

The car may be mass market but the charging infrastructure most certainly is not. At this point it's pure fantasy to imagine hundreds of thousands if not millions of electric cars on the roads.

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Re: Mass market?

Depends upon your definition of mass market. The Ford Mondeo / Vauxhall Insignia used to be considered mass market, but the BMW 3 series and now the Mercedes C class out sell them in the UK.

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Coat

Re: Mass market?

You could indeed get a 5lt V8 Mustang, but wtf would you? it would cost a bloody fortune to run, and the handling is agricultural. So basically a bit shit as commuter car.

It's handling is not that bad. Yanks are starting to learn a bit about suspension.

Not ideal for stopt/start traffic in terms of fuel economy even with modern engine technology. But at least V8 burble will put a smile on your (granted, I can't speak for you but would do for me) face unlike whine of electric motor.

(Mine's the one with A-Z, that has all petrol stations highlighted, in the pocket)

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Re: Mass market?

"5lt V8 Mustang.......the handling is agricultural"

I don't think that is the case anymore. But I'm not going to buy one to verify that.

A local rag track tested the V8 Mustang against the Holden Commodore SS (aka Vauxhall VXR8, not a lithe car by any stretch of the imagination.) The Mustang is both lighter and more powerful, but the Commodore still beat it.

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Re: Mass market?

It's the same mass market as the BMW 3 series.

I believe that BMW will have an all electric 3 series model next year.

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Re: Mass market?

They are going to ramp it up to 20,000 a month by the end of the year. They hope.

If they do and SpaceX keep up their end of the bargain, then this will be the year Musk comes spectacularly good.

Projected 2017 milestones:

1. Tesla hit full mass-production on an affordable consumer EV and stops being a "me too" niche luxury marque

2. SpaceX pass 20 launches in a year (on 10 so far, another 16 ostensibly slated for 2017, but that won't happen)

3. First flight of Falcon Heavy complete with first stage formation landing

Current figures not indicative of future performance

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Surely All Electric Cars Need Plugs

I'll get my coat.

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Coat

Re: Surely All Electric Cars Need Plugs

Not if you are induction charging your Rolls Royce

http://www.plugincars.com/electric-rolls-royce-now-wireless-charging-126018.html

or if you simply swap the used battery for a fully charged one

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place

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A range of 37,533.0061 double-decker buses isn't really that thrilling.

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Anonymous Coward

A range of 37,533.0061 double-decker buses isn't really that thrilling.

But jumping them would be. providing that last .0061 of a bus doesn't make things go all pear shaped.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget to add another 500 quids for your home charger ( to get a full re-charge overnight ).

Of course this does assume that you either have a garage wide enough to put the car in (and open the driver's door enough to get in & out, something of an optional extra with modern UK houses), or you're happy to leave the car charging in your drive.

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could be free

i was looking at electric cars last year - there was a govt (or maybe council actually) incentive that meant you could get a charging station for free. this wasnt for a tesla though...maybe its different

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