Tesla Model 3 lease program opens door to future ride-hailing network

Tesla Model 3 lease added as $35k EV’s future gets murky

Tesla is apparently moving to retire the $35,000 entry-level Model 3 before shipping the first units, though Autopilot comes standard and customers can now lease the auto. Tesla says the change was motivated by safety, it claims that "the chance of an accident is much lower when Autopilot is enabled".

Tesla also announced the start of a Model 3 leasing program in the US. Our assumption is that European and Chinese buyers will be able to order the base model in the same manner as in the United States - by calling or ordering from a Tesla store.

Further changes include the fitment of the Autopilot package as standard equipment, though the changes see the price of the Model 3 Standard Plus rise by US$2000 to US$39,500 ($55,365.18) - previously the Autopilot option came at a $3000 premium. However, without the model listed on the website, Tesla is keeping customers in the dark about its availability. Tesla said orders for the Standard Range Plus, with 240 miles, a premium stereo, power seats, and upgraded upholstery, outnumbered orders for the base auto by 6 to 1.

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In responding a follower on Twitter encouraged Tesla owners to buy a product that covers up a camera over the rear-view mirror of their cars, Musk, 47, confirmed for the first time that the objective of the camera was to record video when owners put their auto on the network. A really interesting movie is the introduction of Tesla leasing. The company pitched the change as an added value since, for example, the $37,500 Model 3 Standard Plus required an extra $3,000 to add Autopilot. Thus, the latest iteration of $35,000 Model 3 loses its standard heated seats (sort of) and a couple miles of range (90% of 240 is 216, compared to its original estimated range of 220 miles).

"Given the popularity of the Standard Plus relative to the Standard, we have made the decision to simplify our production operations to better optimize cost, minimize complexity and streamline operations", Tesla says. According to the automaker's blog post, it will collect all these leased cars at the end of their terms for future use in Tesla's ride-hailing network. Buyers who want it will have to special order it at store locations or on via phone. The lease runs for 36 months, and lessees can choose from three annual mileage allotments - 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000 miles per year.

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