Why Tesla’s $35,000 Model 3 remains an endangered species

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range dropped from online configurator

"Higher volume and manufacturing design improvements are crucial for Tesla to achieve the economies of scale required to manufacture the standard range (220-mile), standard interior Model 3 at $35k and still be a viable company". 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. It will be a software-limited version of the Standard Plus, with 10-percent lower range, no heated seats, disabled music streaming and other downgrades. Just like in the US, the entry-level version with a range of 386 kilometres has added Tesla's semi-autonomous driving technology as part of its standard equipment list.

According to Tesla, the cheapest Model 3 now available online for sale is Model 3 Standard Plus. Autopilot, which was as optional feature previously (costing $3,000), is now standard on the vehicles. For example, Model 3 Standard Plus used to cost $37,500, plus $3,000 for the Autopilot option.

Tesla Inc.is making it more hard to buy the US$35,000 ($51,737) version of the Model 3 sedan that used to be viewed as pivotal to its growth.




People can choose between a definite lease package for 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000 miles.

That's because the $35,000 Model 3 Standard and Standard Plus are essentially the same vehicle. Tesla says it plans to use Model 3s returned from leases in its new planned self-driving ride haling network, which may indicate that the service could start in three years or less. Deliveries of the vehicle at that price point - the big promise of the Model 3 when it was first unveiled in March 2016 - are just beginning this weekend. Now with Autopilot made a standard, the new cost will be $39,500, offering a saving of $1,000 compared to the past when Standard Plus and $3000 Autopilot had to be bought separately.

"Tesla is now facing a reckoning", said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at car-shopping researcher Edmunds. Monthly payments vary from a little over $500 for the Model 3 Standard Range Plus to $889 for the Model 3 Performance. However, there's a catch - buyers will not get a chance to own their respective Model 3 at the end of their lease.

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