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There's a new entry-level Tesla Model 3 — and this one has more range

Tesla Model 3 parked in charging station
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Tesla fans take note — there’s going to be a new electric car hitting the streets in the coming months. No, it’s not the much-hyped $25k Tesla hatchback, it’s actually a new Tesla Model 3. So meet the newest entry-level Tesla, the Tesla Model 3 RWD.

The new Model 3 is actually a replacement for the Standard Range Plus Model 3, which has historically been the cheapest Tesla you can buy. There aren’t a huge number of differences between the two, but this switcheroo seems to involve more than a less convoluted name.

Let’s be honest, Standard Range Plus was a bit of a mouthful, though Tesla did need a way to differentiate the car from the Standard Range Model 3, which was discontinued last November and could only muster 220 miles per charge.

But now that car is gone, replaced by the Model 3 RWD, or just ‘Model 3’ if you’re looking at Tesla’s order page. But the name isn’t the half of it, because this car seems to also have a few performance changes compared to its predecessor.

The main one is a slight boost in range, rising from 262 miles on the Standard Range Plus to 272 miles on the RWD. That’s not a hugely impressive upgrade, but that may be down to the EPA testing regime. If you look at the European WLTP-rated range, for instance, the boost is much higher, rising from 272 miles all the way to 305.

The Long Range Model 3 and Model Y cars have also received a minor range boost, but only by an additional five and four miles, respectively. However, their branding remains exactly the same.

It’s also worth noting that the RWD Model is slightly slower, with an advertised 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds — down from 5.3 on the Standard Range Plus. Top speed is the same 140mph as it was before.

Half a second isn’t really a noticeable amount for most people, and both cars would be destroyed by the Performance Model 3’s 0-60 time of 3.1 seconds, but it is a curious downgrade. It’s clear that changes have taken place under the hood, leading to a boosted range but also a slight sacrifice to the Model 3’s acceleration. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing what those changes might be without Tesla actually telling us.

Still, more range is always a good thing, and those extra 10 miles could be the difference between getting to your destination and having to stop to recharge. What's more, the Model 3 RWD has the same $43,990 starting price as the Standard Range Plus model has had since its most recent price hike.

The Tesla Model 3 RWD is available to order right now, with a refundable deposit of $100. However, you’re going to have to wait a while before you can take delivery, with current estimates promising a June 2022 delivery date. Think you can wait seven months for the car?

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.