Tesla Axes Free Black Paint Color, Will Now Charge $1,000

Like many other decisions surrounding Tesla, the move was announced by Elon Musk on Twitter.

Tour of Tesla Factor in Fremont, California
The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Next month, Tesla will introduce a new "simple white" standard color on all its models, raising the price of its soon-to-be former base color "Solid Black" by $1,000.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the change in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon. At present, Solid Black is Tesla's cheapest (no cost) paint option, with premium paint colors costing an additional $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the vehicle and color. Musk states that Solid Black's price will match that of Midnight Silver Metallic, a $1,000 option on the Model 3, but a $1,500 option on other models.

According to Musk, Teslas not requested in premium colors will be finished in a "Simple White," one that's "not a pearl multi-coat," he clearly outlined so customers wouldn't confuse it with the "Pearl White Multi-Coat." Said color is a $1,500 option on the Model 3, and a $2,000 option on the Model S and X.

The executive did not comment on whether the base price of Tesla's vehicles would change along with their standard color, though his tweets seemingly imply that base white Teslas will cost the same as the outgoing base black models.

Tesla's paint has been the subject of complaints from its customers, many who have reported paint peeling off within days of delivery, resulting in near-immediate rust problems in some climates. One of Tesla's reasons for changing the price of its Solid Black paint could be a reformulation of the paint to increase durability, though there is also the possibility that the cost increase is to raise per-vehicle profitability. Analysts have questioned whether Tesla is making much (if any) profit on each Model 3 sold, so replacing Solid Black with a cheaper, simpler base color could increase profit margins.

How Tesla applies its paint is also of concern to both customers and regulators; its paint shop has violated Bay Area Air Quality Management District standards for the past 18 months, and our investigation into its air pollution is ongoing.

The Drive contacted Tesla for a statement on the reason behind its paint price adjustment, and will update when we receive comment.