For most car buyers, the average Tesla may be more than a bit too pricey for comfort. But that could be changing, as the company's CEO and co-founder, Elon Musk, announced Thursday that it is now taking orders for a more affordable version of the Model 3 sedan.
According to Business Insider, the "lower cost, midrange" Tesla Model 3 will be sold at $45,000, with federal and state tax rebates reducing the base cost to $35,000 for California buyers. In a Twitter post, Musk said that the "true cost of ownership" could be closer to $31,000 once gas savings are taken into account. Interested buyers can now choose the midrange version on Tesla's newly updated Model 3 configurator, where it joins the existing high-performance and long-range battery versions.
The lower-priced Tesla Model 3's base variant comes with a single motor and rear-wheel drive, and an estimated range of 260 miles per charge for its battery pack. This sets the new version apart from the performance and long-range editions, which both have dual-motor setups, all-wheel drive, and battery packs that allow the vehicle to last about 310 miles between full charges.
According to Mashable, the midrange Model 3 has an estimated 0-to-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. The car is being offered in black, deep blue metallic, midnight silver metallic, red, and white, though all color options but the black version will cost an additional $1,500 to $2,500.As noted by USA Today, the Model 3's initial announcement last year put Tesla "on the radar of average car buyers," as its usual price tag of around $55,000 made the car substantially more affordable than the Model S and the Model X, which could both set customers back by more than $100,000 for some of the higher-end trims. The publication speculated that the release of the new midrange Model 3, combined with Tesla's steady improvements in quarterly production, could help the Palo Alto-based automaker become more competitive in a premium midsize sedan market that also includes cars from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.
Despite the midrange Tesla Model 3's lower price point, Business Insider wrote that the new version falls short of what Elon Musk had originally promised ahead of the car's announcement. The publication pointed out that Musk previously teased a version that would cost $35,000 before tax incentives, or $10,000 less than the midrange edition's base price. Likewise, Musk's previous comments that the cheaper Model 3 will be shipping by the end of the year were also cited, as automotive industry analysts predicted last month that Tesla might not be able to make good on its promise of a late 2018 rollout.
A spokesman for Tesla told Business Insider that deliveries for the midrange Tesla Model 3 are expected to start in about four months from now.