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A sign for the Model 3 sedan in August. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla announced Thursday night that it's now selling a somewhat less costly, $45,000 version of its Model 3 sedan that has a 260-mile range.

Why it matters: The mass-market Model 3 is critical to the Silicon Valley automakers' future and, more broadly, pushing electric vehicles into the mainstream.

But, but, but: It's less expensive than models currently available, which start at $49,000 and go up significantly from there. But still not the $35,000 base price offering initially pledged when Tesla first announced the Model 3.

  • However, Tesla said via Twitter than with federal incentives and state tax rebates in California, the actual price "mid-range" battery option is around $35,000.
  • And Musk said via Twitter that "true cost of ownership is closer to $31k after gas savings."
  • Meanwhile, the actual $35,000 base model isn't available until next year.

Details: The new offering, according to Tesla, has a battery structure that's the same as pricier versions, but with fewer cells. It has a delivery time estimate of 6–10 weeks.

What they're saying: Over at Greentech Media, Julia Pyper notes that "Tesla supporters will likely see today's news as a positive development," and offers some important context...

  • "While the new Model 3 has a shorter range, rear-wheel drive and a slower top speed, Tesla succeeded in slashing $4,000 off of the price. That's something," she writes, noting it widens the number of people who can afford it.
  • However, she adds, the "Tesla website notes that the full $7,500 federal tax credit is only available to customers who take delivery by the end of the year (given the company has already hit the 200,000 unit tax credit limit)."

Go deeper

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.