Last month, I just happened to log into my Tesla account when I noticed something different: the option to configure the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Model 3 was finally available! I had to take a deep breath, my wait is near its end! Being on a waiting list for a car is an entirely new experience for me. I waited a total of 2 years and 87 days for this to happen. The Tesla experience is unique. Unlike other car companies, there’s no haggling with the price. It’s like most tech companies, the sticker price is what you are paying for. There’s no commission; no middle-man. You buy directly from Tesla. So how does the process work? It’s a 5 step process that you complete online. It’s pretty straightforward.

1. The Car

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The first step is to select the car. At the time when I made the selection, there were 3 options out. All have the long-range battery, which adds $14k on top of the $35k base Model 3. Don’t expect the base version of the Model 3 to be released any time soon. Since I don’t have a home charger, the range is essential to me. My obvious choice is the long distance battery. So let’s break down the options:

  1. Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)
  2. Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
  3. Performance Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive

The RWD version is the one that’s currently out in production. This is the version you are most likely seeing on the roads right now. The Dual Motor AWD version added an additional $4k on RWD. The extra $4k comes from adding a second motor in the front of the car. And finally, the Performance version, which adds an extra $11k on top of the AWD. This has all the bells and whistles including the option of white interior & seats; which few have been spotted in the wild. I went with the Dual Motor AWD as I wasn’t ready to fork over an extra $11k. Though I have some remorse for not having the most exciting and best option out there, I’ve told myself that the car will still be excellent!

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After selecting the car I wanted, we now enter the exterior options. There are two options here. Color and wheels. With the color, black is included. Any other colors will run you an extra $1k. I’m not sure of the reasoning behind the cost difference. I’ve heard that black doesn’t have as many coatings as the other colors. I’ve doubt that’s the case, but there might be another reasoning behind it. I picked blue partly because the first Model 3 prototype I saw was blue and I absolutely fell in love with it!

As for the wheel, we have the 18″ Aero Wheels and the 19″ Sport Wheels. The 19″ version will run you an extra $1.5k. Though it looks nice, I went with the 18″ one because the range for me was my main priority. Since I won’t be charging at home, I want to be able to extend my range through all means. So from the exterior options, my overall cost has been bumped to $54k.

3. Interior

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The interior is relatively straightforward. There’s only one option right now, and that’s the Premium Black option, and that’s automatically included. It’s uncertain at this time what the price difference between this and the standard interior. If I have had opted for the Performance model, I would have the option of the white interior for an extra $1.5k. After I did my configuration, I found out that the white interior was now offered to the AWD version. I’m still sticking with the black interior.

4. Autopilot

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Now on to the good stuff. Autopilot. We have two options, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability. Let’s start with Enhanced Autopilot.

Enhanced Autopilot isn’t new as this option is available on both Model S & Model X. It has an added cost of $5k. If I have had chosen to opt of it right now, it would cost an extra $6k to install after delivery. Since this is already available and tested, I opted for this.

The second option is Full Self-Driving Capability. This is what the Model 3 is built for. But guess what? It’s not out yet. In fact, we don’t know when it will be released. Also to note, this option requires Enhanced Autopilot and cost $5k to install after delivery.

Here’s the reason why opted out of this feature. The release of this feature needs is based on many factors. First and foremost, Tesla needs to release it. Secondly, this needs to pass federal & state regulations. With that said, there’s no saying when this will be available for everyone to use. It could tomorrow, or it can be years before that can happen. Say that it took 3 years for it to be ready and I received the car with the Full Self-Driving hardware today, there’s no way to know whether current equipment needs to be updated to take advantage of what’s released.

It’s similar to Apple handing you an iPhone, but tell you that all it can’t do anything until they release the software 3 years from now. By that point, your phone is so outdated. The cost of adding it after the fact is only $2k more than the original installment. If the feature never gets released for my car, I saved $3k. If it gets released later, I can invest the $3k now and pay for the difference when it does come out.

5. Payment

Now I am at the final step, where I verify what I selected. All together the price comes to $60k, which includes the Destination & Doc Fee ($1,000). At the moment, I’m not 100% sure if I would be qualified for the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. Tesla recently delivered their 200,000th vehicle, which means in 2019, the tax credit would be reduced by half to $3,750. I’ve been estimated to get the car between September & November 2018. So I should be safe. I will still receive the $2,500 California EV Rebate. The tax credit and rebate will cover the Taxes & Fees (approximately $5,314) that’ll be added to the final cost.

I’ve already put in the $1,000 when I put in the reservation. And when I put my final configuration, I had to put down another $2,500. Altogether including taxes & fees, we are looking at just a bit over $65,000. That’s a big jump from the base of $35,000 that Elon presented back in 2016. When you start adding all the options, you can definitely see how everything adds up! Now I play the waiting game again as I eagerly wait to pick up my car!