Billed as its first electric sedan for the masses, Tesla's Model 3 has attracted huge interest since it was announced in April 2016, resulting in hundreds of thousands of pre-orders. The company is now, for the first time, taking orders for shorter range, rear-wheel drive versions starting at US$45,000.

Because the Tesla Model 3 is built for the mass-market, the company has promised a $35,000 base model from the outset. Up until now it has only offered more expensive, higher performance versions, and while today's announcement doesn't quite hit the mark, current tax incentives in the US bring it down to that level.

The mid-range Model 3 is powered by the same battery pack that features in the 310-mile (499 km) range model, but with fewer cells. The newly available 260-mile model has a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.6 seconds.

The mid-range Model 3 carries a sticker price of $45,000, but the company prominently features the total cost with tax incentives and gas savings taken into account, which it calculates to be $33,200.

But as noted by Business Insider, these tax incentives won't be around forever, with Tesla racking up 200,000 sales and therefore soon to forego its ability to offer $7,500 tax credits to its customers.

The new order page also states a 6-10 week delivery period, which if you've been following Tesla' progress in manufacturing, may seem rather optimistic. The company has struggled to hit its production targets for the Model 3 thus far, though its most recent quarterly report suggest things are looking upward.

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