Tesla's Model 3 just got a bit more affordable

Tesla Model 3

The self-driving capability that Tesla Inc. customers have been able to pay for but not activate for two years is going on hiatus.

However, Tesla is promoting the auto as costing as little as $30,700 by factoring in "gas savings" and all possible federal and local electric vehicle tax incentives (but not the destination charge). Tesla has said that it would not manufacture the base-level version of the Model 3 this year.

Tesla is calling the new variant a mid-range Model 3 - a nod to the fact that the automaker is still planning to bring to market a $35,000 version of the Model 3 with 220 miles of range.

Company CEO Elon Musk said the option "was causing too much confusion", and on Tuesday revealed that a required upgrade to a Tesla-designed computer chip for the system is still about six months away. This was a $49,000 version of the Model 3, which was paired with the premium package. Delivery is promised within 10 weeks of your order being placed. The new rear-wheel drive model sports a battery with an EPA estimated range of 260 miles, or 50 miles less than the packs found in the long range and performance Model 3s.

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This means that Tesla has still yet to deliver on its longstanding promise of a $35,000 base model Tesla Model 3. Although he's promised that Model 3 will be out by the end of this year, some vehicle industry experts are dubious he'll deliver. Musk has said that the company plans to offer a version of the vehicle that will have a base price of just $35,000 before any tax incentives.

A Tesla representative on Thursday confirmed the doubters' suspicions.

The mid-range model is advertised as starting at $31,000 after state and federal tax credits and gas savings, which is an interesting way to display pricing on an ordering site.

While the electric-car maker was always expected to announce a less expensive variant of the Model 3, there's been no discussion of a mid-range version that would come in between Tesla's long-range and promised standard-battery versions.

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