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

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Before we know it, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range will only be available for purchase through Stefon. In Germany, Tesla is charging a base price of 44,500 euros (plus a handling fee of 980 euros) for this version, which offers a WLTP range of 415 km. Customers who want either the entry-level Standard version or the Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive version "will need to call us or visit any one of the several hundred Tesla stores", the website says.

That means many Tesla customers may not even be aware that a $35,000 version is available. The $35,000 Model 3 will be range-limited by software to 220 miles, and its music streaming service, navigation and heated seats will be disabled.

The new Standard will have a software-limited range that's 10 percent less than the Plus. The carmaker is now backing away from its online-only ordering approach with the standard Model 3. "Between the cost cuts, waning demand for its vehicles and now making the US$35,000 Model 3 much harder to buy, the company is now quietly realising it has to play by the same rules as every other automaker".

The electric auto maker plans to keep taking online orders for the Standard Plus Model 3, which starts at $39,500 and is now the lowest-price option available to digital consumers, along with higher-end models. Customers can lease any variant for 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000 miles per year.

Tesla said now people must order the base Model 3 vehicle as an "off-the-menu" item. A challenge to vehicle demand has been the lowering of a United States tax credit on Tesla vehicles to $3,500 from $7,500 previously.

The cheapest Model 3s ordered online will now include Tesla's Autopilot driver-assistance system and a longer battery range, features that increase the price to $39,500. However, there's a catch - buyers will not get a chance to own their respective Model 3 at the end of their lease. Tesla said it will begin delivering the cars this weekend. He reiterated this when he announced the January layoffs, writing about the twin goals of cutting costs and ramping up the production rate of the Model 3. A longer range and additional features will be switched on in the $39,500 auto, known as the Standard Plus model.