Despite what Elon may have you believe.
When we first drove the 2018 Tesla Model 3, we thoroughly enjoyed it. However, we had to warn people that the $35,000 starting price Tesla had originally promised was still not available. Tesla has continually delayed the base Model 3, and the car isn't expected to enter production until halfway through 2019.
At the time of the review, the cheapest Model 3 was the RWD long-range battery model with a 310-mile range, costing $49,000. Now, Tesla has revealed a cheaper Model 3, but don't be fooled into thinking the $35,000 car has finally arrived.
Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce a "lower cost, mid-range Tesla Model 3 & super simple new order page." This new mid-range battery model offers a 260-mile range, which sits between the 310-mile long-range model and the 220-mile model that doesn't exist yet.
The mid-range Model 3 loses 50-miles of range on its long-range sibling as it has fewer cells in its battery.
Along with the decreased range, the mid-range car tops out at just 125 mph (compared to 145 mph in the long-range) and hits 60 mph in 5.6 seconds (compared to 5.0 seconds). While sacrificing range and speed, on the plus side buyers will save themselves $4,000.
Confusingly, Tesla currently lists the mid-range Model 3 at $33,200 on its website. However, if you look at the fine print, that price includes incentives and gas savings. Tesla is selling so many cars that its federal tax credit is about to expire, so it seems slightly misleading to call this new Model 3 a sub-$35,000 car.
In reality, the mid-range Model 3 is a $45,000 car, which is still far off the initially promised $35,000 price. So don't be fooled, Tesla still hasn't released the "affordable" Model 3, and likely won't for several months.