This year has seen a dizzying profusion of changes to the features, options, and available versions of the Tesla Model S luxury electric car, now in its sixth model year.
Anyone who wants to buy a new Model S with rear-wheel drive, however, must act fast.
The 2017 Tesla Model S 75, the sole variant without all-wheel drive, will be removed from the lineup after Sunday, September 24.
The Silicon Valley electric-car maker said in July that it would end production of its least expensive Model S version, known as the S75, though it didn't say when that would happen.
The S75 starts at $70,700, including a mandatory destination fee, before any incentives or rebates.
Final orders placed on Saturday or Sunday will be delivered in late November, according to Tesla's online configurator. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the elimination of the S75 to Green Car Reports.
2017 Tesla Model S
As of September 24, the 2017 Tesla Model S range will consist of three all-wheel-drive variants: the 75D, the 100D, and the P100D. The least expensive of those will become the 2017 Model S 75D, at $75,700 including delivery.
The Tesla Model X electric crossover utility vehicle has been offered only with dual-motor (or "D") all-wheel drive since its launch late in 2015.
Early in August, the company cut several thousand dollars from the price of its more expensive Model X, pricing the electric SUV at exactly $5,000 more than the hatchback sedan.
Tesla also added more features as standard; a previously optional Premium package for the high-performance P100D versions of each car is now standard.
Later in August, the company also effectively unwound an April price increase on those high-end versions; their prices now start at $135,000 and $140,000 respectively.
Earlier in the year, Tesla eliminated an even lower-priced variant of its larger sedan, the rear-wheel-drive Model S with a 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
2017 Tesla Model S
That S60 model used the same 75-kwh battery as the S75, with its full capacity throttled down by a software limiter.
Tesla garnered praise during Hurricane Irma by remotely unlocking the full capacity of S60 cars in mandatory evacuation zones—on a temporary basis—to let drivers travel further when leaving the storm region.
Whether or not shoppers are seeking the soon-to-be-discontinued S75, the end of September appears to be a very good time to buy any Tesla Model S or Model X.
The website Electrek reported earlier this month that "showroom discounts" of up to $30,000 on top-level models were being offered to owners.
Pro Tip: Always buy a Tesla at the end of the quarter, when the company makes an all-out push to boost sales figures before reporting its global quarterly deliveries.
The changes to the Model S and Model X ranges comes as deliveries of the lower-priced Tesla Model 3 to company employees, friends, and investors have begun.
2017 Tesla Model 3, in photo tweeted by Elon Musk on July 9, 2017
The Model 3 has been described for years as a "$35,000, 200-mile" electric car, but as with earlier cars, the first several months of deliveries will be the higher-spec and pricier versions—in this case, the Model 3 Long Range with a projected 310-mile EPA range rating.
That car starts at more than $40,000, and a fully loaded Model 3 Long Range comes in at $60,500 including destination—and that's before the dual-motor all-wheel drive version comes on the market.
It appears Tesla is working to accomplish several objectives simultaneously:
- Simplify production of the older models by reducing the number and complexity of variants and options
- Keep Model S and Model X deliveries flowing for income and to ensure delivery totals don't scare financial analysts
- Figure out exactly where a high-end Model 3 ends and a low-end Model S begins
The next milestone for Tesla will be its announcement of third-quarter delivery numbers, which will be released in the first few days of October.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We have updated this article to clarify that the large discounts mentioned in the linked Electrek article apply only to top-level models. We were also contacted by an Electrek editor who bridled at our description of it as a "Tesla enthusiast site." He suggests it should more properly be termed "a news site tracking the transition to electric transport." Finally, we incorrect listed the Model S 90D among the variations available; it is no longer offered.]