Insane Mode: You Can Now Get Tesla Model 3 Performance for Less than Tesla Model 3 Long Range

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It’s a funny time in Tesla land in the USA. There are three core trim levels for Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles — the Standard Range RWD trim, the Long Range AWD trim, and the Performance AWD trim. The Performance version of the car comes with more power, is quicker, and is more expensive than the Long Range version. However, due to subsidy changes in the US as well as where the batteries for different Teslas are made, the Performance version has gotten considerably cheaper than the Long Range version even if you take the $7,500 US EV tax credit into account!

In other words, unless you really don’t want the extra power (and then why are you driving a Tesla anyway?), it makes no sense right now to buy the Long Range trim. Of course, there’s a footnote. (There’s always a footnote.) You only get the full $7,500 tax credit if you have $7,500 of tax liability. If you don’t have that much liability, you’ll get less money from the tax return. Still, though, there’s a lot of money on the table there.

The Performance version of the Model 3 goes from 0–60 mph in 3.1 seconds, while the Long Range AWD version goes from 0–60 mph in 4.2 seconds. The Model 3 Performance has a top speed of 162 mph, while the Model 3 Long Range has a top speed of 145 mph — not that anyone should ever be hitting 145 mph, let alone 162 mph. The one benefit you get with the Long Range version is that it has … more range. The Model 3 Performance has a range rating of 315 miles on a full charge, while the Model 3 Long Range has a range rating of 333 miles. Personally, I don’t find it important to have a tad more range at that level. It’s not going to change much in your driving and charging patterns. You could also say that it doesn’t make much difference to go from 0–60 mph in 3.1 seconds versus 4.2 seconds, but it’s true that you can feel the difference and it makes for a nicer party trick.

Interestingly, Tesla has removed the “custom order” option from its homepage. Tesla is only guiding you to an inventory purchase at the moment from the homepage. Checking inventory, the lowest priced Model 3 Long Range AWD I’m seeing costs $41,390, while the lowest priced Model 3 Performance I’m seeing is $45,890. That’s just $4,600 more for the Performance trim and you have the possibility of getting $7,500 back at tax time. Even if you just had tax liability of $5,000, you’d get a better deal buying the Model 3 Performance.

You can still go directly to the custom order link for a model. Looking at the Model 3 from this angle, the Performance version is $5,000 more than the Long Range version — $50,990 versus $45,990. So, after the $7,500 tax credit, the Performance version would cost $2,500 less.

I imagine Tesla will change pricing up a bit soon in order to keep the lineup fresh and not allow the Model 3 Long Range to sit there stagnating for too long. But we’ll see. Another, better alternative would be Tesla ensuring that the Model 3 SR and Model 3 LR become eligible for the full tax credit by changing its battery sourcing for those versions. There’s no sign anywhere that’s going to happen, though. For the time being, it appears that there is little reason to buy a Tesla Model 3 Lang Range in the USA.

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