Entry-level $35,000 Tesla Model 3 pulled from sale online

The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range has been removed from the firm’s online order catalogue, replaced by the $39,500 Standard Range Plus

The $35,000 Telsa Model 3 has been removed from the brand’s online order catalogue, and has been replaced by a $39,500 Standard Range Plus variant. The change comes in reponse to the increased popularity of the latter in comparison to the former, despite it being only seven weeks after Tesla pledged to mass-produce cheaper $35,000 editions of its compact all-electric saloon.

From now on, all Tesla Model 3s will be based on the Standard Range Plus trim. This version comes with the firm’s ‘Partial Premium Interior,’ which adds an uprated sound system, 12-way power adjustment on the front seats, upgraded upholstery and LED front fog lights. Autopilot is also now a standard feature across the range.

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The Standard Range Plus offers a range of 240 miles, a top speed of 140mph and a 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds. Tesla will also offer buyers the option of downgrading their Model 3’s performance by 10%, through a software limitation, giving around 220 miles of range, a 130mph top speed and a 0–60mph time of 5.6 seconds.

Tesla’s downgraded version of the Standard Range Plus also removes access to some of the Model 3’s features, such as its onboard music streaming service, satellite navigation with live traffic updates and heated seats, via a new software limitation. However, the firm has promised to provide customers with a $4,500 refund should they opt for the downgrade, retaining the Model 3’s $35,000 base-price.

The software-limited version of the Tesla Model 3 can only be specced by calling the company’s customer service helpline, or by visiting one of its dealerships. Once specced, the restricted settings will be loaded into the customer’s Model 3 via an over-the-air update. Drivers are also given the option to re-upgrade to Standard Range Plus trim at any time.

Tesla recently provided a firmware update for its big-battery, rear-wheel-drive Model 3s, which increased range to a claimed 325 miles while providing power gains of around five per cent. For new customers, this version is also now only available by calling Tesla’s customer helpline, or by visiting a Tesla store.

Tesla is taking orders for the revised Model 3 in the US now, with deliveries expected to arrive mid-April. However, there’s still no word yet on how the revised specifications and trim levels will affect orders from European customers, including those in the UK.

All future Tesla sales to be online

This latest pricing announcement follows Tesla’s recent confirmation that all its future car sales will be online only. The firm’s CEO, Elon Musk, outlined his plans to convert his company’s dealerships into information and advice centres, while claiming  that customers should be able to spec and order a car from their smartphone in “around a minute.”

Musk conceded that this decision would result in the closure of some dealerships. “Some stores will close and there will be a reduction in headcount – there’s no question about that,” he said.

‘Full self-driving capability’ upgrade on Autopilot

Musk has also claimed that Tesla’s Autopilot technology, (which is now a standard fixture across the company’s entire line-up), will receive an update in the near future, being split into ‘basic Autopilot’ and ‘full self-driving capability.’

He stressed that even full self-driving mode would require driver supervision and that Tesla needs development work running to “billions of miles if not 10s of billions before supervision is not required” and that even then, legislation would need to change to allow full autonomy on public roads.

As well as the existing Summon and Autopark features (which allow the car drive itself to find its owner and park itself respectively), the Model 3 will have traffic light recognition and auto driving on city streets by the end of 2019.

What are your thoughts on Tesla’s revised Model 3 pricing? Let us know in the comments section below…