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Tesla has bumped the starting price tag of the “midrange” Model 3 from $45,000 to $46,000 less than one week after the new version of the car was announced. The change was first spotted earlier this morning on the company’s website.
A spokesperson for Tesla confirmed the company “made a slight adjustment” to the pricing, but they did not offer an explanation for the change. They added that Tesla will honor the $45,000 price tag for any orders that were already in progress before the increase.
The midrange Model 3 was surprise-announced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week on Twitter. With an estimated 260 miles on a single charge, the rear-wheel drive slots between the higher-priced long-range option (which starts at around $53,000, offers all-wheel drive, and has about 310 miles of range) and the more affordable standard range version, which is not yet available. The standard range Model 3, which Tesla has advertised since it announced the car in 2016, will start at $35,000 and last an estimated 220 miles when it goes on sale in 2019.
A quick turnaround
Tesla said it created the midrange Model 3 to “better meet the varying range needs of the many customers eager to own” the car. The company still had over 400,000 customers holding $1,000 reservations as of July when it opened up orders to the general public.
Musk has said that Tesla would “die” if it sold the standard-range Model 3 too soon, as the company only just started turning a profit on the car in the last few months after selling the highest-margin versions. The midrange model is something of a compromise for people who are waiting for a cheaper Model 3. The company even tweaked its manufacturing process to make it. In the past, Tesla has used software to artificially limit the capacity of its batteries in order to create new options for customers. Tesla is building the midrange Model 3 on the same platform as the long-range version, but instead of using software, the company is physically limiting the battery capacity but simply using fewer cells.