Tesla Launches $45,000 Mid-Range Model 3, 260 Mile Range

by Denis Gurskiy

Yesterday Tesla launched a mid-range Model 3 with 260 miles of range and a starting price of $45,000. While still not being our promised $35,000 standard-range version, we seem to be getting closer.

First of all, in classic Elon Musk fashion the day before we all received a tweet that did not make any sense. Lemur? What is Elon talking about? Little did we know that a lemur was a brand new mid-range Model 3 configuration. One way of interpreting the lemur comment is “Lower cost Mid-Range” or LMR (Lemur). Is it a stretch? Perhaps.

Anyway, on to the details. The new mid-range Model 3 is only available in a RWD configuration. There is no longer a long-range AWD version. Although, you can buy one “off-menu” for the remainder of the week according to Musk.

The 260 mile range puts it 50 miles short of the long-range and 40 miles over the standard-range. More or less putting it smack-dab in the middle.

It has a top speed 125 mph and a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. Respectively the long-range and long-range performance have 145 mph top speed, 4.5 0-60 time and 155 mph top speed, 3.3 0-60 time. So obviously this Model 3 is not going to be a performance king.

According to Musk, the battery is not a software limited long-range battery. Instead it the same battery pack with fewer cells inside, which is what is allowing for this faster deployment.

And that faster deployment is important. With the federal tax credit halving nearing, Tesla wants to get as many cars as possible on the road. According to the website the delivery time is 6-10 weeks, which will put delivery sometime in December, just before the January cut-off.

Because the promised standard-range is still  4-6 months out, there is no way it will qualify for the full $7,500 rebate. So for some, this mid-range might sway them away from waiting for the standard-range, or not being able to afford the long-range. If you live in somewhere like California with a state incentive of $2,500 and combine it with the federal $7,500, you are down to a price of $35,000.

Certainly, it is not the $35,000 before incentives that Musk promised, but we’re kind of there, right?

At the end of the day, this is a simple business decision. With the full tax credit coming to an end, Tesla wanted to sway as many buyers with the time they had left. A very simple move was to take the pre-existing batteries and reduce the cells, and voilà a brand new mid-range Model 3 that will possibly attract some buyers.

Do I think a 260 mile range EV that is under $50,000 a good deal? Yes I do. Likewise, do I feel for the people that have been waiting years for a standard-range Model 3 that actually costs $35,000? I most certainly do. Hopefully one day we’ll get to write an article about a $35,000 Model 3, but this is still nice.

What do you guys think? Let us know down in the comments below.

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