Tesla Inc on Thursday started leasing out its Model 3 sedan in the United States, in a financing option that would increase the electric car maker’s customer base.
The company said its customers in the U.S. will be able to lease Model 3 for "a small down payment and competitive monthly payments." Customers can choose any Model 3 variant and select an annual mileage option of 10,000, 12,000, or 15,000 miles.
Tesla customers who choose leasing over owning will not have the option to purchase their car at the end of the lease, because with full autonomy coming in the future via an over-the-air software update, Tesla plans to use those vehicles in the Tesla ride-hailing network.
In addition, Tesla said that all vehicles would come with Autopilot bundled as a standard feature for less than the prior cost of the option. For example, Model 3 Standard Plus used to cost $37,500, plus $3,000 for the Autopilot option. It now costs $39,500, with Autopilot included.
Last quarter, Tesla introduced two new Model 3 variants with more competitive pricing than ever before – Standard and Standard Plus. Tesla says that since then, Standard Plus has sold at more than six times the rate of Standard.
Given the popularity of the Standard Plus relative to the Standard, Tsla is simplifying its production operations to better optimize cost, minimize complexity and streamline operations. As a result, Model 3 Standard will now be a software-limited version of the Standard Plus, and is taking it taking it off the online ordering menu, which just means that to get it, you will need to call Tesla or visit any one of the several hundred Tesla stores. Deliveries of Model 3 Standard will begin this weekend.
Its range will be limited by 10%, and several features will be disabled via software (including our onboard music streaming service, navigation with live traffic visualization, and heated seats). Similar to other software-limited vehicles produced in the past, Standard customers will have the option to upgrade to a Standard Plus at any time. Similarly, anyone who has already bought Standard Plus and wants to convert to Standard is welcome to do so, and Tesla will provide a refund for the difference in cost.
To further simplify our line-up, beginning today Tesla customers will also need to call or visit a Tesla store to get Model 3 Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive.
Tesla n February had rolled out its long-awaited $35,000 version of the car with great fanfare.