2018 Tesla Model 3
It wasn't quite a message in a bottle, but Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted Saturday night some specifications and a ballpark price for his company's long-awaited all-wheel-drive and performance versions of the Model 3.
The all-wheel-drive Model 3 will add $5,000 to the base Model 3's price and offer the same 310-mile range as the Long Range Battery Model 3. The dual-motor setup will feature motors on the front and rear axles, and Musk said one motor would be tuned for longevity and the other would be tuned for performance. The AWD Model 3 will run up to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 140 mph.
Musk previously said that opting for all-wheel drive would add an air suspension to the Model 3.
Working on Model 3 dual motor all-wheel drive & performance versions. Driving feel is amazing. Aiming to release config late tonight.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 19, 2018
The performance Model 3 uses the same dual motor setup, same 310-mile range, but shaves 1 second from the 60-mph dash and tops out at 155 mph. When it goes on sale, Musk said a fully loaded performance Model 3 will cost $78,000 (without Autopilot). Musk didn't say when the all-wheel-drive and performance versions of the Model 3 would arrive to owners, nor if the $78,000 price included applicable federal or state incentives.
Both new versions of the Model 3 have been in the works for a while, but Musk said last month that those versions wouldn't become available until the small sedan's production ramped up to 5,000 cars per week. It's unclear if Tesla has reached that threshold already, but it's unlikely. The Model 3 production line shut down earlier this month for upgrades after the automaker reported making more than 2,000 cars in a 7-day period after fits and starts rolling the car out to consumers.
The all-wheel-drive and performance versions may prove crucial to keeping the automaker afloat during a particularly trying period. In the first three months of 2018, Tesla reported burning through $700 million in cash, and a series of high-profile crashes and executive departures has sent the company reeling.
Analysts have expressed diminished enthusiasm for the automaker's stock, putting into question the automaker's long-term viability or ability to raise enough cash to stay afloat. Highly profitable versions of the Model 3, such as all-wheel drive and performance variants, could help buoy the automaker's bottom line during the second quarter.