Tesla Announces $45,000 Mid-Range Model 3

Tesla Model 3

On Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled a new "lower cost, mid-range" Tesla Model 3 vehicle coming in at around $45,000. Thursday's move to launch a version of a Model 3 with a slightly lower price is progress in this direction.

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Trading at $256.09, Tesla stock reflects a 17.8% decline year-to-date (YTD), sharply underperforming the broader S&P 500's 3.8% return over the same period. In May, Musk acknowledged that at Tesla's current production rate the company would "lose money and die" if it sold Model 3 mass-market sedans at a $35,000 price point.

The new Model 3 version, with a 260-mile range, is priced at $45,000 before state and federal incentives, as Electrek first reported. A version wit a "standard battery", Tesla says, will be available within 6 months. The performance dual motor all-wheel drive version costs $64,000 before incentives and gas savings, and the long range battery dual motor all-wheel drive version costs $54,000. Now customers can only purchase the company's driver-assist system, Enhanced Autopilot.

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Elon Musk said via Twitter on Thursday that the automaker is no longer offering the feature because it "was causing too much confusion".

Instead, this new model, dubbed the Mid-Range version, sits between the entry-level (but still non-existent) Model 3 and the high-end Long-Range version. Until this week, Tesla had indicated a version with a smaller battery wouldn't go into high-volume production until the first quarter of 2019. "Our new Mid-Range Battery is being introduced this week in the USA 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's great, and as Wired noted in its article about the new Model 3, this might very well be to Tesla what the iPhone XR is to Apple.

The Model 3 is a four-door compact sedan that can seat up to "five adults comfortably, and the word comfortably is the key", Musk said.

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