Tesla announces a cheaper, midrange version of the Model 3

Jeannie Matthews
October 20, 2018

Someone in Zimbabwe is fed up with queuing for fuel - they have bought an electric-powered Tesla Model X.

The automaker is replacing the long-range battery in the rear-wheel-drive version of the compact sedan that retailed for $49,000 with a mid-range battery that drops the starting price to $45,000 and the range from 310 miles to 260 miles. That's about $4,000 less than the starting price of the sedan that went on sale a year ago, excluding incentives or options. Offering cheaper versions of the vehicle raised a "big and unanswered question" of Tesla maintaining profit targets for the auto, he said.

With the arrival of the Model 3 Mid Range model, Tesla will no longer sell the rear-wheel drive Long Range version. The vehicle's top speed is also significantly lower, at 125 mph and 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, compared to the long-range model's 145 mph and 0-60 mph in roughly five seconds. The long-range rear-wheel-drive auto will be available "off menu" for several days.

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Tesla originally touted the Model 3 as the auto it would mass-produce and price for mainstream consumers after first producing luxury vehicles in the Model S and Model X. That promise helped it lure in more than 400,000 pre-orders for the vehicle. The Tesla website notes that the full $7,500 federal tax credit is only available to customers who take delivery by the end of the year (given the company has already hit the 200,000 unit tax credit limit). On Jan 1. 2019 the tax credit for these electric cars will be cut in half.

The world still awaits the $35,000 sedan promised by Tesla founder Elon Musk back in March 2016. Tesla compiled a quarter million reservations within days, but has not been able to deliver on that sticker price. While he has yet to deliver on that sticker price two and a half years later, demand has been strong, with sales rivaling some of the top-selling passenger cars in the U.S. last quarter.

The company has relased and is taking orders for a "lower cost, mid-range" version of its mass-production vehicle, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday on Twitter. The reason? It was "causing too much confusion", Musk tweeted.

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