Sorry, fellow penny pinchers: Less than a year after reintroducing a cheaper 60 kWh battery into its Model S lineup, Tesla will kill off that option in order to “simplify the ordering process.” It sounds like Tesla’s doing that because most people just buy the more expensive version or upgrade to it later.
For those who have never really shopped for a Tesla, the 60 kWh Model S with the shortest range starts at $68,000 for rear-wheel drive. That car is called the Model S 60, and the 60 kWh version with all-wheel-drive, the Model S 60D, starts at $73,000. That’s compared to the 75 kWh Model S starting at $74,500 for RWD and $79,500 for AWD, and the AWD 90 kWh car that starts at $89,500.
Tesla reintroduced the 60 kWh battery pack in June 2016 with a starting price of $66,000, which went up to $68,000 just a few months later in November. The cheaper RWD option had a zero-to-60 time of 5.5 seconds and a range of 210 miles at the time of the reintroduction, while the AWD option was faster and had a greater range.
But the cheaper Model S options, while they still exist, don’t actually have 60 kWh batteries. The 60 kWh cars come with a 75 kWh battery that runs at 80 percent so that buyers have the potential for an easy upgrade. The upgrade to run the 75 kWh battery at its full capacity came with a price tag of $9,500.
But now, less than a year after their reintroduction into the lineup, both of the 60 kWh Model S versions have until April 16 before Tesla kills them off. Electrek originally reported the plans for Tesla to discontinue the cars, and The Verge reports that Tesla later sent an email to owners about the lineup change:
One year ago, we introduced the Model S 60 kWh battery as a more affordable option to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. However, most customers ended up buying an equivalent to the Model S 75kWh. To simplify the ordering process for our customers, we will be removing the 60 kWh option from our lineup.
Customers who still want the opportunity to own a 60 kWh Model S will have until April 16, 2017 to place their order. Any 60 kWh Model S will have the ability to upgrade their battery to 75 kWh via an over the air update.
In all honesty, it makes sense to chop the 60 kWh option. When the base price of any car is upward of $70,000 and the lower-cost versions only save buyers a few grand, it would be hard to believe that eliminating those cheaper options would really deter someone from buying the car.
Plus, it’s logical from the financial standpoint of the buyer: an upgrade of a base 60 kWh Model S to full capacity actually costs $3,000 more than a base Model S purchased with a 75 kWh battery running at full power. If most owners upgrade their cars anyway, they may as well just buy the 75 kWh option in the first place.
Come April 16, Tesla buyers won’t have to make that admittedly obvious choice anymore. But at that price point, it sounds like chump change anyway.