Investor's Corner

Tesla’s 2018 CARB filing reveals Model S 75 RWD could be coming back

Tesla’s discontinuation of the Model S 75 from its lineup earlier this year might have been a red herring, as the electric carmaker seems to be preparing for a relaunch of the rear-wheel drive vehicle in 2018. Auto journalist Bozi Tatarevic discovered that Tesla had filed CARB certificates for the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 for the coming year. Tesla had filed CARB certificates for three primary variants of the Model S — the 100D, 75D, and the P100D. Surprisingly, also filed with a 2018 “Model Year” is Tesla’s rear-wheel drive Model S 75 in single motor configuration.

Why the presumably discontinued sedan was included in Tesla’s 2018 CARB certificates is open for speculation. One possibility is that the California-based electric carmaker is preparing to relaunch the rear-wheel drive Model S, most likely as a bridge model to the upcoming all-wheel drive, dual motor Model 3.

Once priced at $69,500, the Model S 75 was Tesla’s cheapest variant, after discontinuing the entry-level Model S 60. During the time of its removal, the Model S 75 was Tesla’s only remaining single motor, RWD option. Incidentally, the Model S 75 was retired just in time for the rollout of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3.

Thus, when Tesla discontinued the Model S 75, it seemed like the California-based electric carmaker was simply ensuring that a significant feature gap exists between its flagship Model S line and its entry-level Model 3. While this seems to be true, however, the upcoming release of the dual motor Model 3 seems to be the perfect time for Tesla to relaunch the Model S 75, at least up to a point.

Considering that the dual motor Model 3 would be the top-tier variant of Tesla’s mass-market compact sedan, the possible return of the Model S 75 for 2018 might be a way for Tesla to ensure that the price range of its vehicles follows a seamless upward curve.

At its current state, a fully loaded Long Range Model 3 with Sports Wheels, Premium Upgrades Package and Enhanced Autopilot costs just shy of the of the $60,000 mark. Thus, with an all-wheel drive Model 3 expected to fetch a price tag closer to $70,000 when it’s produced in mid-2018, the Model S 75 would fill in the role of a good bridge vehicle that transitions Tesla’s offerings from the entry-level Model 3 to the flagship Model S.

Tesla’s 2018 CARB filing reveals Model S 75 RWD could be coming back
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