The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 is finally here, but sales are going online-only

The era of the $35,000 Tesla electric car has finally begun. The long-promised standard edition Tesla Model 3 is now available to buy.

Tesla had pledged to release the most affordable 220-mile range model, which has a top speed of 130mph and goes from 0-60mh in 5.6 seconds, since the Model 3 began rolling off the production line in June 2017. However, for the last year and a half,  e-car fans have only been able to buy higher-end models.

Today’s announcement from Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk also brought some surprise news. Tesla is shifting its business model to online sales only, meaning most of the showrooms around the world are set to close their doors.

Remaining stores will simply become information centres, with the company pushing would-be customers towards buying online, which it says can be done in less than a minute. In a blog post on Thursday, Tesla said the shift has allowed it to make the lower-priced Model 3 available ahead of time.

The firm wrote: “Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected.”

Tesla says it is also introducing a new Standard Range Plus version of the Model 3, which offers a 140mph top speed, and 0-60mph in 5.3 sections. That model includes the most premium interior and will be priced at just $37,000 before incentives, with Tesla claiming drivers will get 9% more range, more power and an upgraded interior for just 6% more money.

The company says the closure of physical locations will not mean a downturn in service for existing Tesla drivers. The firm added: “At the same time, we will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system, with the goal of same-day, if not same-hour service, and with most service done by us coming to you, rather than you coming to us. Moreover, we guarantee service availability anywhere in any country in which we operate.”

Is Tesla making the right choice in making sales online only? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.