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

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range dropped from online configurator

Apparently addressing controversy over Autopilot price cuts, Tesla has chose to simply bundle the feature as a standard safety feature across its entire lineup.

The electric-car maker announced another series of changes to its lineup and pricing late Thursday (US time) to "simplify vehicle choices".

On Twitter, Musk recently confirmed that the goal of the cameras built in above the rear-view mirror of the Model 3 is to record video when owners put their vehicle on Tesla's future network, which he said would compete with Uber and Lyft. 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. Named the Standard Range, the vehicle finally went on sale to give fans the most-affordable option possible.

In addition to that news, Autopilot was announced as standard across the Tesla lineup. Going into a Tesla store and buying the Standard Range Model 3 now gets you a "software-limited version of the Standard Plus", according to the company's blog. It now costs $39,500, with Autopilot included. It also includes Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot, which can guide a auto through highway interchanges and exits, and suggest and make lane changes.

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Dubbed 'Standard Range', the entry-level Model 3 offered 220mi (354km) of range, and a 0-60mph (0-97km/h) time of 5.6 seconds.

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. A really interesting movie is the introduction of Tesla leasing.

The sedans will also be delivered with the higher capacity battery pack of the Standard Range Plus model, but with a software restriction that limits their range from 240 to 220 miles. 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.

What Tesla failed to mention was that the Standard Range Plus was now open for ordering in several new markets in Europe and China. The company warns that customers who choose leasing will not have the option to buy the auto at the end of the term, as the vehicles will be used for Tesla's ride-hailing network.

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