Tesla has once again increased prices across its lineup, pulling the automaker even further away from mass-market affordability.
The Tesla Model 3 was launched with the promise of a $35,000 base price, but now the base Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive starts at $48,190. That's an increase of $2,000 from its most recent (higher) price, and nearly a third higher than this time last year, when you could get a Model 3 Standard Range Plus for $37,190.
Today's base Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive has more range than the Standard Range Plus, but that discontinued model accelerated quicker. The Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive also uses LFP battery cells, which aren't as desirable for those who encounter extreme cold.
Tesla Model Y
Tesla's other Model 3 variants saw price increases as well. The Model 3 Long Range now starts at $54,490 (up $2,500) and the Model 3 Performance starts at $61,990 (up $3,000).
The base price of the entry-level Model Y Long Range increased $3,000 to $62,990. So the most affordable Model Y now costs about $23,000 more than it did around this time last year. In February and March 2021 the now-discontinued Model Y Standard Range had cost just $41,190. After Tesla discontinued the Standard Range, the base price shot up past that of the original Model S.
The Model Y Performance then was just $62,190. Tesla then increased the base price to $64,990, and it now starts at $67,990.
2021 Tesla Model X
Tesla also increased the base price of the dual-motor Model X to $114,990—up $10,000 from earlier this week. The tri-motor Model X Plaid now starts at $138,990—a $12,500 increase. Model S base prices are now $99,990 for the dual-motor version (up $5,000) and $135,990 for the Model S Plaid (up $6,000).
Tesla hasn't offered an official explanation for the price increases, but in recent tweets CEO Elon Musk has pointed to inflation. That can substantially affect battery costs, which now aren't expected to fall again until 2024, according to a recent analysis.
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid
Don't completely dismiss the chance of prices falling in the future. Tesla has said that its new 4680 cell format will be a key to cutting costs over the long term. And Panasonic recently confirmed it will build the format.
Not all prices on EVs have soared over the past year. Chevrolet and Nissan have cut prices on the Bolt EV and Leaf, respectively.