Cheaper variant to have less range, rear-wheel-drive only – but it still doesn’t cost US$35,000

Tesla have commenced sales of its mid-range Model 3, priced from US$45,000 ($63,400).

The previously-unannounced Model 3 will sit between the current Long Range and Performance models, and the yet-to-be-released entry-level model.

The new variant comes in at US$9,000 ($12,650) cheaper than the Long Range, and will only be available with rear-wheel drive.

Compared to the Long Range, the mid-range model takes 1.1 seconds longer to complete the 0-60mph (96km/h) sprint, managing the test in 5.6 seconds instead 4.5 seconds, and loses 20mph (32km/h) in top speed (145mph vs. 125mph).

The more affordable Model 3 uses the same battery as its more expensive brethren, albeit with fewer cells. As a result of this, its range drops from 310 miles (498kms) to 260 miles (418kms).

“As Model 3 production and sales continue to grow rapidly, we’ve achieved a steady volume in manufacturing capacity, allowing us to diversify our product offering to even more customers”, Tesla said in a statement.