Cheaper variant to have less range, rear-wheel-drive only – but it still doesn't cost US$35,000
Tesla have commenced sales of its mid-range Model 3, priced from US$45,000 ($63,400).
The previously-unannounced Model 3 will sit between the current Long Range and Performance models, and the yet-to-be-released entry-level model.
The new variant comes in at US$9,000 ($12,650) cheaper than the Long Range, and will only be available with rear-wheel drive.
Compared to the Long Range, the mid-range model takes 1.1 seconds longer to complete the 0-60mph (96km/h) sprint, managing the test in 5.6 seconds instead 4.5 seconds, and loses 20mph (32km/h) in top speed (145mph vs. 125mph).
The more affordable Model 3 uses the same battery as its more expensive brethren, albeit with fewer cells. As a result of this, its range drops from 310 miles (498kms) to 260 miles (418kms).
“As Model 3 production and sales continue to grow rapidly, we’ve achieved a steady volume in manufacturing capacity, allowing us to diversify our product offering to even more customers”, Tesla said in a statement.
“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 introduction of the mid-range has seen the option of rear-drive removed from the Long Range model, which is now only available with the all-wheel drive, dual-motor drivetrain.
Tesla claims the US$35,000 ($49,254) entry-level Model 3 promised at launch will go on sale in an estimated four to six months. Elon Musk in May claimed that offering the entry-level model immediately would “cause Tesla to lose money & die”.