Tesla to stop selling $35,000 Model 3 online

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range dropped from online configurator

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".

And a standard Model 3 costing US$35,000 just became harder for customers to actually order.

"Tesla is now facing a reckoning", said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at car-shopping researcher Edmunds. The base Model 3 was reduced to an "off menu" style ordering that must be done over the phone or at a Tesla store. Standard Range cars can be upgraded to Standard Plus cars at any time, but Tesla didn't say how much that would cost. Limiting the number of battery pack sizes it offers helps streamlines production, and the company has used a similar strategy several times previously to update the Model S and X lineups.

On Twitter, Musk recently confirmed that the objective 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.

The Model 3 Standard Range Plus will lease for $504 a month, with $3,000 down for 36 months, with 10,000 miles per year There's a caveat: Lessees can't buy out their cars at the end of the lease.

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The California-based firm said in a statement that Chinese customers can now order a standard range Model 3 variant whose starting price of 377,000 yuan ($56,167) will make it the cheapest version of the auto in China.

In addition to the Model 3 trim changes, the company said Autopilot is now standard on every auto it sells.

The Model Y utility vehicle shares a platform with the Model 3. Deliveries of Model 3 Standard will begin this weekend, the company says.

So what will happen to the Standard Range going forward? The minimum deposit is $3,000, but the payment due at signing will vary from $4,199 to $4,584 depending on the variant. From 10,000 miles, Tesla can level up to 12,000 but no more than 15,000 miles on a yearly basis.

However, unlike other leasing programs, Model 3 customers will not be able to buy their vehicle following the conclusion of the leasing term, as Tesla plans to use these vehicles in its upcoming ride-hailing network in conjunction with full autonomy.

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