Tesla taking orders for shorter-range, $45,000 Model 3

Tesla Model 3

The automaker is replacing the long-range battery in the rear-wheel-drive version of the compact sedan that retailed for $49,000 with a mid-range battery that drops the starting price to $45,000 and the range from 310 miles to 260 miles. Tesla also likes to point out your gas savings, which amount to $4,300 over six years for the mid range Model 3. The Model 3 Performance, for example, has a base price of $US64,000 before any options are added - and that's before the tax incentives, but it also doesn't include features like the company's "Autopilot" driver-assist system, which many customers choose to add on.

DON'T MISS: Is the Tesla Model 3 the top-selling auto from an American brand?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has, at least a couple of times, suggested that selling the Model 3 Standard Range at its originally announced $35k wouldn't be profitable.

The auto has an estimated range of 260 miles, a single motor and rear wheel drive.

Tesla has reshuffled its Model 3 lineup and is now offering the cheapest version yet, but it's still $10,000 more than the long-promised $35,000 entry-level vehicle.

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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That will require you ordering it early enough to have it delivered before the end of the year, as that is when Teslas are no longer applicable for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit.

Tesla says the "standard battery" version will not be available for another 4 to 6 months.

The current Tesla auto line (Roadster, Model S, Model X) ranges in price from $68,000 - $138,800 before tax incentives for electric cars. Within days, the company had more than a quarter million reservations.

The cheaper "standard-range" Model 3 is still absent from the new, simplified ordering page, and the company has made no secret of the fact that it can not afford to lose money selling the cheaper cars, no matter the demand. Tesla did just take a step closer to achieving that, though.

The battery pack itself, according to a Tweet from Musk, is from the Long Range model.

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