Tesla Starts Offering $45K Model 3

Tesla introduces a $45,000 Model 3 variant with a 260-mile range

When the more affordable Tesla sedan launched a year ago, pricing started at $49,000 for 310 miles of range, which was well above the $35,000 long-range EV the company promised.

In addition to these changes, Tesla is temporarily removing the $3,000 Full Self-Driving option from all of its models, which it said prepared them for autonomous driving capability when the software is available to make it work.

The release of a lower-priced Model 3 was a "logical next step", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note. The company has announced a new midrange version of the Model 3 that starts at $45,000.

Tesla confirmed to Green Car Reports that the 220-mile Standard Range model-the one that was originally targeted for a $35,000 price-remains 4-6 months out.

As with other Model 3 versions, Tesla hasn't revealed a precise battery capacity; but if it corresponds to range, this battery pack would factor in at about 63 kwh.

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Hitting that price target is important, because the federal tax incentives - worth up to $US7,500 per auto - are due to start dwindling in January. A cheaper rear-wheel version will no longer be available. Early next year, Tesla said. By keeping the same pack, but installing fewer cells, Musk commented that "we can get it done now instead of ~February", referring to when Tesla had last targeted production of the Standard Range model. CEO Elon Musk recently noted that focusing on the cheaper vehicle first would cause Tesla to "die," because it's not profitable to make.

Tesla is introducing a lower-priced version of its Model 3 sedan.

The surprise announcement, delivered via tweet to Musk's 23 million followers, comes as Tesla seeks to steer attention away from a chaotic period in which Musk battled with critics, smoked marijuana during an interview and pledged that he had the money to take Tesla private - a promise for which he was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and which he recently settled.

In less confusing news, if you "take delivery" by the end of the year, you are "eligible for the full $7,500 Federal Tax Credit" - bringing the price down to $33,200 ("After incentives & gas savings").

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