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Tesla is killing off its cheapest car

Published Mar 23rd, 2017 1:16PM EDT
Tesla Model S 60

While Tesla’s fans worldwide are waiting for the Tesla Model 3 to start rolling off the production line, Tesla is still busy churning out the same Model S and Model X versions that it’s been making for years. But starting in April, buying a Model S will be a little more expensive.

Tesla is discontinuing the Model S 60 and 60D versions, which are the cheapest Teslas you can currently buy. Both cars actually have the same 75kWh battery pack that’s found in the Model S 75, but are limited to 60kWh of capacity via software, in order to make the car cheaper.

In a statement, Tesla laid out the reasons for removing the Model S 60 from sale:

One year ago, we introduced the Model S 60 kWh battery as a more affordable option to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. However, most customers ended up buying an equivalent to the Model S 75 kWh. To simplify the ordering process for our customers, we will be removing the 60 kWh option from our lineup.

Customers who still want the opportunity to own a 60 kWh Model S will have until April 16, 2017 to place their order. Any 60 kWh Model S will have the ability to upgrade their battery to 75 kWh via an over the air update.

The price difference between the two cars is significant. The Model S 60 is listed for $59,500 after tax rebates, while the Model S 75 comes in at $66,000. For your $6,500, you’re getting about 40 miles more range, and nothing else.

Making the entry-level Tesla more expensive makes sense given the upcoming launch of the Model 3, which is set to cost around $35,000 after savings. By upping the price of the Model S, Tesla is presumably hoping to nudge more customers into spending a little more money on a Tesla, rather than buying the base version. Discontinuing the Model S 60 will presumably not simplify the manufacturing process for Tesla, since the Model S 60 is just a Model S 75 with software artificially limiting battery size.