When Elon Musk presented his Tesla Inc.’s latest electric car the Model 3 sedan to the public last year, it came with a promise that it would be the most affordable electrically-powered automobile yet produced, and well within the means of the average buyer. The “base” Model 3, which is the bare-bones no-frills version of the sedan, was said to be priced at only $35,000. That was the deal; but even as more Model 3’s were sold by Tesla into this year, every one of them was of a higher-priced variant with features added, going for as high as $78,000.
Before anyone begins agitating that the cheap Tesla Model 3 is a lie all along however, Elon Musk went on Twitter the afternoon of Thursday, October 18, to show that yes, the sedan can go cheaper. As The Verge has it, this new Model 3 variant is neither the soup-up version that has been sold thus far, nor is it yet the baseline $35,000 that was promised long ago. Rather, it is a middle option, offering an electric battery good for 260 miles of range and with a starting price of $45,000 without added frills.
This mid-level Tesla Model 3 sedan was made by taking a few power cells off the high-end version battery that had a 310-mile range. This reduction in capacity leaves the car with a top speed of 125 miles per hour, needing 5.6 seconds to go from 0 to 60. It also loses the high-end variant’s dual-motor all-wheel drive, sticking to rear-wheel only. Add-on options to the $45,000 package include $5,000 for Tesla’s advance autopilot feature. A Tesla spokesperson said in a statement that the company was able to begin diversifying the Model 3 variants thanks to having managed to achieve a steady manufacturing capacity volume.
“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,” the official Tesla statement went. “And our delivery estimate for customers who have ordered the Standard Battery is 4-6 months.” According to that timeframe, the earliest possible time for Tesla customers to get a $35,000 Model 3 would be around February of 2019. Furthermore, the long-awaited baseline model will not be included in the coverage of the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric car purchases.
Said tax credit will also begin to be gradually phased out by Tesla now that they have passed the 200,000 vehicle milestone in the number of Model 3’s sold in the US. It will thus be steadily reduced to nothing by the end of 2019.
Image courtesy of New Atlas