The much anticipated Tesla Model 3 is billed as the "affordable" Tesla. The previous models including the Model S and Model X will set you back quite a bit, even after the incentives are taken off the cost. 

The Model 3 is currently set to cost $35,000, before incentives. That's almost $50,000 less than the least expensive Model X and $35,000 less than the least expensive Model S, both before incentives. So why is the Model 3 so much less expensive? There are a few key differences between the vehicles that contribute to the lower cost. 

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Luckily, Tesla has a site that will show the differences to potential buyers. Before getting into the exact differences, keep in mind that the Model 3 is designed to be for the mass market. It was made as an affordable electric option for buyers who can't afford the higher end of Tesla. That means that although it will be Tesla's newest release, it will not be the most advanced Tesla, warns the company's site. Although it is designed to be the safest vehicle in its class.


Production on the Model 3 is set to begin about halfway through 2017 and the car won't be available until 2018. Orders placed now will require a $1,000 down payment and those vehicles will be available for a year. The Model S on the other hand is available 30 days or fewer after an order is placed. The Model S is in full production currently so the company is able to fill orders more quickly.  The production demand is still in the building stages for the Model 3.


Other differences in the cars include, range, charging, seating and technology perks. The Model S is a more advanced vehicle so it can go further on a change than the Model 3 will be able to. The S can go from 250 to 335 miles per charge, according to Tesla. While the 3 is expected to average about 215 miles per charge. 

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The differences in charging are also important to consider when choosing a model. The S comes with free unlimited supercharging at Tesla supercharging sites (with a referral from another Tesla owner). With the Tesla Model 3, users will have to pay for their own charging each time they use a Supercharger. The Supercharges charge more quickly than a regular charger and are available on highways and at charging sites.


The Model S is slightly bigger than the 3. It also has more seating because it has two rear-facing seats for kids in the back. The trunk in the Model S is larger and the car is a bit longer too. 

Additionally the S comes with more premium features than the 3 including a glass roof, an extra digital screen, auto-press door handles and other features.