Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Tesla Model 3 updates: Leasing, Autopilot standard, base model limited

Tesla Model 3 updates: Leasing, Autopilot standard, base model limited

Standard Range cars can be upgraded to Standard Plus cars at any time, but Tesla didn't say how much that would cost. The same goes for the Model 3 Long Range in rear-wheel-drive configuration. The Model 3 Standard Plus, for example, used to cost $37,500 plus $3,000 for Autopilot.

On Twitter, Musk recently confirmed that the goal of the cameras built in above the rear-view mirror of the Model 3 is to record video when owners put their auto on Tesla's future network, which he said would compete with Uber and Lyft. It means the $35,000 Standard Model 3 will now be sold as a software-limited version of the Standard Plus. Other features like Tesla's onboard music streaming service, navigation with live traffic visualization and heated seats will also be disabled.

Tesla has previously indicated a mid-2019 launch for the Model 3 in Australia, though that will likely be pricier high-spec Performance variants.

After the federal tax credit available on its cars halved January 1, Tesla has dropped prices, added features, streamlined its model lineup, and introduced new lower-priced options for the Model 3, including the long-promised $35,000 base Model 3 Standard Range. Opening up the SR+ for orders now will allow Tesla to gauge the demand mix, and plan production and delivery timing for the different variants.

In an odd change, Tesla has removed the option of buying its lowest cost Model 3 from its website in Canada.

Faced with slumping sales and increasing financial stresses, Tesla has shifted course several times in the last two months, deciding to keep stores after saying it would close most and cutting prices before raising them again.

Tesla's announcement also said it would begin leasing the Model 3, but would not offer customers the option to buy the cars after their leases expired, a departure from the typical industry practice and its own policy on other models.

Lessees can choose leases at 10,000, 12,000, or 15,000 miles per year. The monthly payment due on that basis is $504. Interestingly, Tesla said lease customers won't get the option to buy back their vehicles at the end of the term, because "with full autonomy coming in the future via an over-their-air software update, we plan to use those vehicles in the Tesla ride-hailing network", Tesla wrote.

Like this: