Tesla has once again altered how it sells its cars, with changes being made this week to the pricing and standard features of the Model S, Model X and Model 3.
All vehicles now come with basic Autopilot as standard. This includes the ability to steer on highways and keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead in traffic. This change adds $2,000 to the list price of each vehicle, but this is $1,000 less than the $3,000 Autopilot cost as an addd feature before the most recent changes.
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Enhanced Autopilot, which Tesla refers to as Full Self-Driving, is still an optional extra and includes lane-changing abilities.
But more interesting is what Tesla has done with the entry-level, $35,000 Model 3. Promised when the car was first announced back in 2016, Tesla has found it difficult to get the entry price down to $35,000. Recently the company decided to close all of its retail stores to help offset the lower cost, but reversed this decision just a few days later and instead increased the price of the Model S and X.
Now, Tesla has removed the $35,000 Model 3 Standard Range from its website entirely, claiming just one-in-six Model 3 buyers were opting for the cheapest version. That car can still be bought, but only by calling Tesla or visiting one of its retail stores. Additionally, this entry-level car has has several key features disabled; this includes Tesla's music streaming system, the navigation and mapping system, the car's heated seats, and Autopilot.
The hardware is all still there, and can be activated by paying a fee after taking delivery of the car. But if you want to spend $35,000 and not a cent more on your Model 3, then those features will not work. The cheapest car will also has its range software-limited to 220 miles, compared to the 240 miles of the more expensive Model 3 Standard Plus, which costs $37,500.
Tesla has also introduced leasing for the Model 3 for the first time. However, customers will not be given the option of paying to keep the car at the end of their term; instead, Tesla will take back the car and use it as part of its future autonomous taxi service. For now, there is no intention of when such a service will be available, or exactly how it will work.