You may not have noticed this but Tesla has been selling a cheaper version of its Model 3 in Canada for the last two years. If you don't believe us, visit the Model 3 configurator on Tesla’s Canadian website and check the box under the Standard Range Plus model labeled “Limit to 151 km range (93 mi).”
You will then notice that the car’s price goes down by about $7,000 CAD. Now, before you get excited about the possibility of getting your hands on a cheaper Tesla it should be noted that this version is quite underwhelming, especially when compared to higher-end builds. The Model 3 Standard Range Plus can travel 262 miles (423 km) on a charge and this cost-efficient version can only manage 93 miles (151 km). Talk about a reduction!
Why did Tesla do this? In 2019, the Canadian government began a program that saw vehicles priced under $45,000 CAD that cost no more than $55,000 CAD after options qualify for a $5,000 CAD incentive. This program was set up to encourage carmakers to build affordable EVs and stimulate sales of these vehicles because they are considered eco-conscious.
However, the Model 3 initially started at more than $45,000 CAD, meaning it wouldn’t have qualified for Canada's exciting incentive. This is when Tesla decided to offer this version of the Model 3 to Canadian citizens for a mere $44,999.
What's further interesting to note is that this Canadian version does not have the Autopilot Tesla is so revered for. But it's not actually different than the Standard Range Plus version, it's simply made limited through software. For those thinking they can buy the cheaper version and upgrade it later, it should also be noted that that's not an option.
Perhaps that's why Tesla seems to have hidden this version for so long. Up to last week, you could not order the limited version online but had to instead do it by phone. What was Tesla hiding?
Disclaimer: This article has been updated to include new information about Tesla's Canadian car and more accurately represent Interesting Engineering's tone and voice.