Tesla Model 3 Mid Range: $45k, 260-mile battery and rear wheel drive

No stranger to creating surprises (in 280 characters or less), Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter Thursday afternoon to announce that the company’s mass-market Model 3 sedan has been given a lower cost, Mid Range battery option that’s capable of 260 miles of range per single charge.

With a starting price of $45,000, the Model 3 Mid Range variant with rear wheel drive takes the Silicon Valley electric carmaker one step closer to offering the highly-anticipated $35,000 base version, which the company expects to produce in the first half of 2019.

Tesla’s first Model 3 variant, the 310-mile-capable Long Range version in a single motor, rear wheel drive configuration, will still be available for ordering directly through company sales representatives for another week, although the option has been removed from the Model 3 Design Studio.

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The lower price for the Mid Range Model 3 represents a $4,000 savings from the Long Range rear wheel drive version that starts at $49,000 before incentives. However, this cost savings also equates to 50 miles less of driving range and reduced performance. 0-60 mph performance for the Mid Range Model 3 comes in at a modest 5.6 seconds versus 5.1 seconds for the Long Range version. Top speed for midrange  Model 3 is also reduced to 125 mph (~200 kph).

Tesla Model 3 Version Comparisons

0-60 mph (sec)Top Speed (mph)Range (mi)
Model 3 Mid Range (RWD)5.6125260
Model 3 Long Range (RWD)5.1140310
Model 3 Long Range (AWD)4.5145310
Model 3 Performance (AWD)3.3155310

Elon Musk’s announcement of the lower-priced Tesla Model 3 should come as welcome news for the hundreds of thousands who have waited, some for more than two years, for the company to finally offer a truly affordable electric car that bests its competition in the luxury sedan market. At $45,000, the midrange Model 3 shares a similar base price as a 2019 BMW 330i series, yet tops the Bavarian heritage vehicle in both performance and technological innovation.

Arguably of more importance is Tesla’s strategic move to push higher-margin vehicles but also provide a favorable option for price-conscious consumers by creating a larger delineation between buyers looking to cost-cut and those seeking more range. By removing the RWD Long Range Model 3 as a vehicle selection, Tesla forces buyers that are looking for 310 miles of extended range to choose between a nearly $70,000 Model 3 Performance in basic trim or a $59,000 Model 3 Long Range with dual motor configuration. At a minimum, buyers looking for the long-range battery option will be spending $10,000 or more than they normally would have with the $49,000 RWD Long Range Model 3 as an available option.

According to the Tesla’s online configurator, buyers looking to purchase a Model 3 Mid Range can expect delivery in 6 to 10 weeks.

Tesla Model 3 Mid Range: $45k, 260-mile battery and rear wheel drive

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