Tesla purchases will qualify for at least $3,750 off under the revamped EV tax credit starting January 1. But the automaker on Thursday started this rolling a little early—as a discount of $3,750 on its most popular Model 3 or Model Y electric cars.
Based on searches on Tesla’s retail site, the offer doesn’t appear to be valid on custom-build cars—at least not everywhere—and we could only see the alert about the discount when looking at existing inventory.
Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk haven’t yet made any public statement about the reason behind the discount, and Tesla no longer releases press statements, so background on this offer may need to wait until the company’s next quarterly update for investors in January. Faltering demand is one potential reason for the discount. But a more likely reason may be that the automaker is encountering more cancellations than usual, according to a recent Electrek report, as Tesla ramps up production at Giga Texas while potential buyers would rather wait until they can claim the credit.
To some shoppers, the Model 3 and Model Y still won’t seem like bargains. That’s because Tesla prices have already been hiked several times through 2021 and into 2022. Model Y prices were hiked up to $6,000 in June, setting a starting price of $67,190, while the base Model 3 remains at an already-hiked $48,190. That’s far from the $35,000 price and improved affordability over time that CEO Musk had preached about the electric sedan.
That’s led to a situation in which prices on used Tesla vehicles have soared—in many cases, to more than they cost when new.
Depending on priorities, some shoppers will also find that the Model 3 has been decontented, and its base version now features a less-efficient LFP battery pack. On the other hand, some might see the LFP battery as an advantage, allowing regular charging to 100%.
Given Tesla’s U.S. cell production for Long Range and Performance versions of Model 3 and Model Y, the forthcoming $3,750 credit may not apply to versions using those overseas cells. That may mean that the timing is right, at least for now, to get a December deal on those base versions.
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