Tesla begins offering leases for Model 3

Tesla Model 3. Matthew DeBord  BI

Buyers can activate them (and essentially convert the vehicle into a Standard Plus Model 3) at any time. The vehicle Tesla will now be delivering to Model 3 SR buyers will be a somewhat different vehicle, though arguably better, than the one they initially ordered.

The electric automaker has removed the Model 3 Standard from its online ordering menu. Now, customers will receive the Model 3 Standard Range Plus model, which features a more premium interior and a battery with a software range limitation. The Model 3 with Standard Plus now costs US$39,500 with Autopilot included.

A Tesla Model 3 on the assembly line at the company's factory in Fremont, California.

The new Standard will have a software-limited range that's 10 percent less than the Plus.

This means that the car's hardware is exactly the same Standard Plus, but it's missing features like "onboard music streaming service, navigation with live traffic visualization, and heated seats".

A auto carrier trailer carries Tesla Model 3 electric sedans, is seen outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, U.S. June 22, 2018.

Tesla now imports all the cars it sells in China.

Buyers can still order the cheapest Model 3 via a phone order or at a physical Tesla store. The feature will cost less than when it was sold as an add-on, though: Autopilot had been a $3,000 option, and the price of the Model 3 Standard Range Plus rose $2,000 to $39,500 because of the change. Previously, the same package had fetched $40,500 with Autopilot added.

Tesla announced a change to their vehicle line-up this week that saw the end of online sales of the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 announced a little over a month ago. Yes, these are the same stores that the EV company announced it was scaling back when it first started selling the low-priced Model 3.

Tesla has been adjusting prices of its US -made cars in China to remain affordable in the country, a move also aimed at fending off competition from a swathe of domestic EV startups such as Nio Inc, Byton and XPeng Motors. 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. Notably, leasers won't have the option to purchase their auto at the end of the lease as Tesla aims to repurpose them for its future ride-hailing network.

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