This is the second time this has happened.
There was a time (March 2019, to be exact) when a Tesla Model 3 carried a starting price tag of $35,000. Not even six weeks later the entry-level version was eliminated due to a lack of demand. This resulted in the cheapest Model 3 climbing to $39,990 for the Standard Range Plus trim. However, the $35k Model 3 actually still existed, though Tesla didn't make it easy to acquire.
Now, according to Electrek, Tesla has killed off the cheapest Model 3 for a second time. But wait, how was it still secretly made available? Tesla stopped advertising it as an option on its website but was still available "off-the-menu" by offering a $38,000 car then tacking on a $3,000 discount for some software-locked features. Tesla described this Model 3 as a "software-limited version of the Standard Plus" and buyers had to either call or visit a Tesla store in-person to place an order.
That option is now gone as Tesla has reportedly informed its sales team they can no longer accept new build orders. Customers can still order a software-limited 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus as long as the dealer has it in stock, but this won't last for much longer. For now, it remains unknown whether Tesla will make the $35k Model 3 available again, but we kind of doubt it for one main reason: it doesn't have to.
The Model 3 has become the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle of all time as demand remains very high. For example, Europe-bound Model 3s are expected to soon be manufactured at Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory instead of Fremont, California.
Model 3 customers have been more than willing to spend thousands extra on additional features and upgrades (not including accidental butt-dialing), such as the Long Range version, which begins at $48,990. There was a recent report claiming Tesla is planning an even cheaper $25,000 entry-level model in the near future.
Even with the base trim Model 3 now gone Tesla can still technically say it did offer a $35k version as CEO Elon Musk originally promised when the project was first announced a few years ago.