Tesla introduces a $45,000 Model 3 variant with a 260-mile range

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Tesla added a new electric vehicle to its lineup Thursday - well, sort of.

Model 3. Image source: Tesla.

While Tesla is advertising the Model 3's real cost at $33,200 after the $7,500 federal EV tax credit and an estimated $4,300 in gas savings, buyers should note that by 2019, they will no longer be eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

The new Model 3 version, with a 260-mile range, is priced at $45,000 before state and federal incentives, as Electrek first reported.

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On Thursday, Tesla also began taking orders for a lower-cost, mid-range Model 3.

The change in price structure means the long-range version has only All Wheel Drive (AWD) option and costs $54,000.

Tesla has quietly removed the pre-order option for full self-driving capability. Now customers can only purchase the company's driver-assist system, Enhanced Autopilot.

Elon Musk has always hoped to scale production at Tesla and lower their design and technology costs enough to be able to offer a truly mass-market electric vehicle.

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Tesla previously promised that the Model 3's base price will start at $35,000, but drivers were disappointed with the $49,000 price tag that was revealed when the vehicle was launched.

The $45,000 Model 3 will also lack advanced Autopilot functionality, which would cost another $5,000, and will stick to rear wheel drive as opposed to the all-wheel-drive option for the mid-range.

That long-awaited price point may still be another few months away, Musk suggested in a post on Thursday describing the mid-range Model 3. With Model 3 production almost doubling in Q2 compared to Q1 and a further increase in production volume expected during the remainder of the year, Tesla's going to need cheaper versions of the vehicle in order for demand to keep up with supply.

Starting today, customers who encourage their friends to buy a Model S, Model X, Model 3 or other solar products using their referral code will receive rewards.

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Owners wanting to send their photos to space will need to upload the desired snap onto the Tesla mobile app before December of this year.

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