Tesla releases less expensive Model 3

Daniel Fowler
October 19, 2018

Musk, 47, first unveiled the Model 3 to great fanfare in March 2016, pledging that it would start at $35,000 before incentives.

The Model 3 sedan now being offered by Tesla can travel about 260 miles between charges and costs $45,000, some $4,000 below the starting price of the sedan that the company began selling previous year, excluding options and incentives.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk noted in a tweet that the mid-range Model 3 costs $35,000 after federal and state tax rebates in California, but the clock is ticking on buyers being able to get a big chunk of those savings. That's about $4,000 less than the starting price of the sedan that went on sale a year ago, excluding incentives or options.

The midrange Model 3 should be welcome news for those who can't afford to shell out upward of $60,000 for an electric vehicle. Tesla has been focused on ramping up production to fill those higher-priced orders. Must said in May that shipping the cheapest, "standard" Model 3 before the pricier models would have caused Tesla to "lose money and die". The performance and long-range versions each have all-wheel-drive and dual motors and battery packs that will go some 310 miles on a full charge.

Build combinations are reduced versus other versions of the Model 3 lineup. Notably, the Tesla website no longer allows customers to order "Full Self Driving" capabilities. GTM has contacted Tesla for clarification.

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The mid-range Model 3s will be rear-wheel drive only, prompting some to wonder if the company was using software to limit battery capacity on existing RWD inventory in order to get it out of the door.

Tesla supporters will likely see today's news as a positive development.

Five-star crash rated, the Tesla Model 3 comes equipped with Tesla Autopilot standard.

This change could put the Model 3 in an affordable price range for a number of customers - at least while incentives last.

That will require you ordering it early enough to have it delivered before the end of the year, as that is when Teslas are no longer applicable for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit.

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