The Tesla Model 3 received a welcome tweak on Thursday, after reports emerged that the company’s cheapest electric car can now drive further on a single charge. The mid-range version of the Tesla Model 3, which costs $44,000, now offers four more miles of advertised range to reach a full 264 miles per charge.
The unannounced change, which appears in the Tesla Model 3 design studio, is a boost over the 260 miles announced when the mid-range version first went on sale back in October. The car comes with a 62 kilowatt-hour battery pack, but unlike its other vehicles, Tesla has been advertising the Model 3 based on its projected range rather than battery capacity, perhaps to avoid comparisons with the more expensive Model S and X. Tesla claims the figures come from the Environmental Protection Agency, which tests electric car efficiency, but the agency’s website still lists a 260-mile range with no sign of a 2019 model.
The mid-range version itself came as something of a surprise when it was announced. When Tesla started production of the Model 3 in July 2017, it focused on premium, long-range version of the car with 310 miles per charge at $49,000. However, the company had also announced a short-range version with 220 miles per charge, starting at just $35,000. The company had a backlog of nearly 500,000 reservations at $1,000 each, and as it gradually worked through the list, CEO Elon Musk stated that the company would finally release the cheaper model once manufacturing settled down. Nearly two years later though, the short-range version is nowhere to be seen.
Tesla’s range boost also comes just one day after the firm announced a $2,000 price cut on all its vehicles. The announcement was aimed at offsetting the loss consumers will incur by the phase-out of federal tax credits. As Tesla has now sold more than 200,000 electric cars in the United States, the government will start phasing out the $7,500 tax credit, starting with a drop to $3,750 on January 1.
While it’s unclear when Tesla plans to make further changes to its Model 3 lineup, the firm is also expected to announce the Model Y entry-level sports utility vehicle sometime in March.
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