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The much-hyped '$35,000' Tesla Model 3 is dead

The really cheapest Model 3 only lived for a few months, and Tesla sold a workaround option after that -- but not anymore.

2021 Tesla Model 3
See ya, $35,000 Model 3.

Remember when the Tesla Model 3 was just a twinkle in CEO Elon Musk's eye? The executive promised a game-changing electric sedan that would also be affordable for the average buyer -- as in $35,000 before federal tax credits.

While there's definitely a case to make on how the Model 3 has shaped the automotive industry at large, the affordability part remains in question, especially noting the $35,000 Model 3 is dead and gone. Electrek reported Monday, citing unnamed sources, that it's no longer possible to order the entry-level Model 3. Though, if we're being totally factual, the actual $35,000 Model 3 went away a long time ago.

Remember, Tesla launched the $35,000 car in 2019 long after the more expensive versions launched. However, just months later, Tesla pulled the entry-level EV. In its place, Tesla retailers sold a de-contented version of the $38,000 Model 3 Standard Range with software locked. Essentially, it was a Model 3 Standard Range with a $3,000 discount. And for anyone who wanted one, Tesla didn't advertise the EV on its website. Instead, buyers needed to phone the automaker or visit one of its retail stores to place an order in person. Clearly, Tesla never really wanted to sell the cheapest version of its banner EV.

Now, according to the report from the fan site, the $35,000 Model 3 is no longer after the company nixed the ability to lock away some software, so retailers can't "downgrade" and sell the car at the discounted price. Tesla made a number of updates to the Model 3 for 2021, but the cheapest version is now the $38,000 car.

How many $35,000 Model 3 sedans were sold? We don't know. But for those who snagged the car at that price while Tesla was still dishing out federal tax credits, they got one wild deal last decade. Tesla ran out of credits at the end of last year after the US Congress failed to extend the program.

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