The new midrange version of the Model 3 has a single motor and rear-wheel drive, and a battery pack that will go around 260 miles on a charge. The Model 3 state rebate is $2,500 in California and $5,000 in CT.
The current Tesla vehicle line (Roadster, Model S, Model X) ranges in price from $68,000 - $138,800 before tax incentives for electric cars.
The long-promised $35,000 Tesla Model 3 won't appear on the automaker's menu until sometime in 2019, but until then Tesla hopes that a midrange version will satisfy those who don't want to spend on one of the more expensive flavors. Not huge losses overall - the 50-mile drop in range is the main tradeoff.
The midrange version has the same battery pack as the long-range model but uses fewer cells. Offering cheaper versions of the vehicle raised a "big and unanswered question" of Tesla maintaining profit targets for the auto, he said. The long-range rear-wheel-drive vehicle will be available "off menu" for several days. It's priced at $45,000, but Tesla notes that with first deliveries of it made before the end of the year, it will be eligible for both the $7,500 federal EV tax credit and a California incentive of $2,500-bringing the price down to that magic $35k number there, and perhaps below that in some places.
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. Tesla has said that it would not manufacture the base-level version of the Model 3 this year.
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.
Tesla says the "standard battery" version will not be available for another 4 to 6 months. It is not clear how numerous more than 400,000 reservations for the Model 3 are for the base models.