Choosing Model 3 configuration options when it’s your second Tesla


In case any of you have heard me both praise my Tesla and bash my Hyundai, here’s the scoop: “My” Model S is really “our” Model S. In fact, it’s mostly “his” Model S. Depending on the week, I get to drive the Tesla 1-3 days. I feel a lot more connected to the car than most people would in my situation but there is good reason. I’m a lifelong car enthusiast who first saw a Model S in November of 2012, read more about it on vacation in 2013, and convinced my husband we should test drive it in early 2014. As many of you know, once you test drive it’s game over. It took nearly 3 months to decide whether to take the plunge or not, with incessant research and meeting fellow owners needed before finally clicking reserve. It took another 3 months for the car to be delivered, and already I was hooked. My new obsession didn’t fade once delivered and in October of 2015 when I rushed out to make a video at 7am after receiving the Autopilot update, it got even stronger.

Needless to say, I am counting down the gas fill ups until our household becomes a fully Tesla household. What will need to happen before that date, however, is deciding which options to order for my (really mine) Model 3. Here is my opinion, as of today, on what I think I will want. I’m basing the costs on the following two assumptions: battery and motor upgrades will cost 50% of what they are on a Model S and feature upgrades will cost roughly 75% of what they are on a Model S. These are wild guesses of course, as are my proposed battery sizes.

  • Model 3 base (45 kWh, rear wheel drive): $35,000
  • Model 3 60D (+15 kWh range/duel motor upgrade – prerequisite for P): $7,500
  • Model 3 P60D (adding P to the above): $10,000
  • Supercharger access (free with 60D upgrade): $0
  • Piano black interior: $0
  • Black textile seats: $0
  • Standard 18″ slip stream wheels: $0
  • Matte Gray paint: $1,200
  • All glass roof (stationary): $1,000
  • Autopilot convenience features: $1,875

Total price excluding destination/doc fees: $56,575

That, folks, is my dream car. I actually dislike leather seats and wood trims, care not for premium sound or special interior lighting, and will get by just fine without a heated steering wheel. What I really want is for it to be the Performance version. Insane mode is just fine, I have no need to shave off another few tenths and won’t upgrade beyond that. There’s one big problem though – it’s a bit more than I want to spend. Our Model S is a of the 85 variety. Its RWD handles wonderfully in the wintry mix or snow situations we get a few times a year where I live. I also adore the larger frunk. For that reasons, I’d opt for a RWD Model 3 if available, but I fear that the P version will only be offered in a dual motor configuration. I also fear that it will only be offered with the largest battery option. That being said, the P upgrade over the base model in my estimation costs as much as a Corolla. Ouch! If Tesla pulls of a manufacturing miracle and it looks like I will be eligible for the full tax credit on this car, I will probably go P. The same holds true if my estimates are wrong and it costs much less. My better half also advocates for a P, since we may very well end up sharing the two cars 50/50.

If, however, I’m correct about the above prices and the tax credit happens to be already gone, I’ll probably skip the P. That’s a bit disappointing to think about, but it also begs the question whether or not to upgrade beyond the base at all. If that model gets 215 miles of ideal range and costs $35,000, it’s way more than enough to be a second car. I could very easily get to and from work 4 times on a single charge and we’d just opt to take our Model S long distance trips. It has more room for luggage anyway and is the more appropriate car to bring a dog. (My preference is not to have dogs in the seats.) My configuration would probably look something like this:

Model 3 base (45 kWh, rear wheel drive): $35,000

  • Supercharger access: $1,500
  • Piano black interior: $0
  • Black textile seats: $0
  • Standard 18″ slip stream wheels: $0
  • Metallic blue paint: $1,000
  • All glass roof (panoramic opening): $1,500
  • Autopilot convenience features: $1,875
  • Subzero cold weather package: $750

Total price excluding destination/doc fees: $41,625.

You’ll notice I treated myself to the panoramic roof (if that’s a thing) and cold weather package. We know access to Superchargers will cost something and even if I plan not to use this car for road trips, I will enable Supercharging. I believe in the network and am happy to contribute to its cost as one time fee rather than pay-per-use. I’ve also decided that only a performance version is worthy of the sick matte gray color I saw at the reveal, so blue it is. Make no mistake that this car as configured is amazing. I expect it to still have head-whipping acceleration and sturdy handling like our S85 does. I expect it to be beautiful and uniquely Tesla. It will turn heads on the street and draw crowds at car shows. It will make a BMW 3-series look like a foolish car choice. (In fact, it’ll make any sedan over $35,000 look like a foolish car choice.) It will save me from keeping a glove in the car to handle nasty gas pumps, spare me getting oil changes and rescue me from the time consuming and infuriating process of buying a car at a dealership. Even more than when I wrote the first paragraph, I can not wait for this car.

But Tesla, if you’re listening, let them eat cake! If you truly want to annihilate the competition, please uncouple the performance upgrade with a mandatory range and D upgrade. I’ll let you figure out the logistics, but upgrading to a single, larger rear motor for $5,000 would be a no-brainer.

What options do you hope to order? Tell me in the comments! 

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