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Tesla's cheapest car is only getting more expensive, while other electric vehicles sell as long as its price drops

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Tesla's cheapest Model 3 now sells for $46,990 following a price hike this month, making the entry-level Model 3 34% more expensive than

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This was three years ago. Additional fees, some of which are industry standard, raise the total price of a basic Model 3 to $48,440.

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The Model 3 was touted as an affordable car in 2016 long before it would cost around $35,000                                                                    

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The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the most affordable alternative to electric cars like the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf has dropped from 2019 to 2022.

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Even before calculating inflation. (The Bolt fell from $36,620 to $32,495 and the Leaf from $29,990 to $27,400 during that period.)

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter on Sunday, shortly before the latest price hike, that Tesla was "looking at recent inflationary pressures in raw materials and logistics."

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Tesla hasn't suffered a hike in its price over the years, as the Model 3 was the world's best-selling electric vehicle in 2021, with nearly 540,000 units sold.

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Since introducing the Model 3, Tesla has become the world's most valuable automaker, only to face years of questions about whether it will survive as a business.

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But the difference in price for the entry-level Model 3 appears to be a deviation from Tesla's original plans. (Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.)

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Musk said in a 2013 CNBC interview that the automaker would make a car that would cost "on the order of $35,000".

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Tesla unveiled the Model 3 in April 2016, with Musk stating that, "In terms of price, of course it would be $35,000

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Esla began deliveries of the Model 3 in July 2017 with over half a million reservations for the $35,000 vehicle. But Tesla didn't deliver its first Model 3s priced at $35,000 until April 2019

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The hardware of the $35,000 Model 3 matched the $39,500 version of the vehicle, but Tesla used software to limit the battery life and disable the seat warmers.

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The $35,000 Model 3 also shipped without Autopilot, Tesla's driver-assist software, which is standard on the cheapest Model 3 today

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Now, the most affordable Model 3 has a range of 52 miles and a slightly higher top speed, 140 mph versus 130 mph. Apart from the price, the only obvious disadvantage of today's most economical