Tesla now sells Model 3 with 260-mile range, $45,000 sticker

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The midrange version has the same battery pack as the long-range model but uses fewer cells.

The announcement of the midrange model came with no early warning or indication that this model was being added to the lineup, catching Tesla watchers by surprise.

But if you still want to hold out for an even cheaper Tesla, the company has promised a base model that will cost $35,000 sometime in 2019.

Tesla 3 model has been available for $49,000 with a long-range battery and no options for over a year.

The new Model 3 version, with a 260-mile range, is priced at $45,000 before state and federal incentives, as Electrek first reported.

There's an extra incentive to order a Tesla now rather than waiting. The "performance" version of the dual motor, all-wheel Model 3 starts at $64,000.

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A Tesla Model 3 sedan, its first vehicle aimed at the mass market, is displayed during its launch in Hawthorne, California, March 31, 2016. That's about $4,000 less than the starting price of the sedan that went on sale previous year, excluding incentives or options. Delivery is promised within 10 weeks of your order being placed. This will be provided for free to customers who already paid for Full Self-Driving. That could be for regulatory reasons, but it's now unclear. In a statement, Tesla indicated that the delivery estimate for customers who immediately ordered the Standard Battery is four to six months.

Tesla supporters will likely see today's news as a positive development.

This change could put the Model 3 in an affordable price range for a number of customers - at least while incentives last.

And while Tesla said last week that only cars ordered by October 15 would be guaranteed delivery before the end of 2018, when the available federal tax credit for their purchase drops from $7,500 to $3,750, the Model 3 ordering website says that deliveries of the mid-range versions are possible within six to 10 weeks, which would get some in before the deadline.

The new version has a delivery period of six to 10 weeks, according to the website, which would customers eligible for the current $7,500 USA tax credit if they take delivery by the end of the year.