Elon Musk has been known to make some big promises on Twitter. His latest? A new, cheaper Tesla — but it’s still not the standard version he has long been promising.
On Thursday evening, the Tesla CEO announced that the company will begin selling a new, mid-range version of the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan, with a sticker price of $45,000 — or about $35,000 after federal and state tax rebates in California.
Musk said the “true cost” of the car in California would be “closer to $31K after gas savings." While it’s a step in the right direction, it’s still not the $35,000 sticker price Musk touted when the Model 3 was announced in 2016.
The announcement on Twitter comes almost one month after Musk agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman for three years as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At issue was a tweet from Musk that claimed he had "secured funding" to take Tesla private at a price of $420 per share — an amount he later admitted he chose as a marijuana reference that he hoped would amuse his girlfriend, according to SEC documents.
Part of that settlement includes a provision that Tesla “enhance controls with respect to Elon’s public communications regarding Tesla and to pre-approve any such written communications that contain, or reasonably could contain, information material to Tesla or its stockholders."
So when’s the new car coming? Sometime early next year, according to Tesla. In a statement, the car company said their delivery estimate for customers who ordered the standard battery is “4 to 6 months.”
In addition to the lower price, Musk shared that the new Tesla will use a battery with fewer cells than the one currently in the existing Model 3.
The long-range version packs enough power for 310 miles, while the mid-range will be around 260 miles, according to Tesla’s website. While the more expensive Model 3 has a top speed of 145 mph, the lower-cost version reaches 125 mph.
Musk has a history of setting ambitious delivery goals and not meeting them. But in July, Musk remarked Tesla was officially a “real car company” after it met its goal of building 5,000 Model 3 sedans in a week.
Tesla further showed that progress in a report earlier this month, sharing that it manufactured 53,239 Model 3s in the third quarter, up from its second-quarter shipments of 28,578.