Tesla has announced a new mid-range version of the Model 3, one that’s cheaper than the long-range version that Tesla’s exclusively sold up until this point. It’s still not the $35,000 base model that’s been delayed until 2019. But the new mid-level option offers 260 miles of range and starts at $45,000.
The new option, which CEO Elon Musk tweeted about this afternoon, is built with the same battery pack as the 310-mile long-range Model 3, but uses fewer cells, which accounts for the lower price and shorter range. Now, instead of a top range of 310 miles on a single charge with a top speed of 145 mph and a 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, the new model gets you 260 miles on a charge with a top speed of 125 mph and a 0-60 mph of 5.6 seconds.
Adding advanced Autopilot features adds an additional $5,000, as is the case with other Tesla models. Also, the dual-motor all-wheel drive option is now restricted to the long range option, with the mid-range option getting rear-wheel drive only.
“As Model 3 production and sales continue to grow rapidly, we’ve achieved a steady volume in manufacturing capacity, allowing us to diversify our product offering to even more customers,” a spokesperson for Tesla said in a statement. “Our new mid-range battery is being introduced this week in the US and Canada to better meet the varying range needs of the many customers eager to own Model 3, and our delivery estimate for customers who have ordered the Standard Battery is 4-6 months.”
That means reservation holders who are waiting for the cheapest version of Tesla’s first mass market car will still have to wait until at least February before those Model 3s start to ship. They also won’t be eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit given out to buyers of electric cars, because Tesla recently triggered a phase out of the incentive after passing 200,000 vehicles sold in the US. Instead, the credit will dip to $3,750 starting on January 1st, 2019, and drop again to $1,875 on July 1st of next year, before completely vanishing.