If you look at it one way, Tesla is making a popular add-on feature standard on its Model 3 vehicles. If you look at it another, the company is raising prices.
Tesla, in a blog post Thursday, announced it was raising the price of the Model 3 Standard Plus from $37,500 to $39,500. Autopilot, which was as optional feature previously (costing $3,000), is now standard on the vehicles.
Tesla is also making it harder for consumers to buy its lowest price version of the Model 3. The $35,000 car (which doesn’t include autopilot) will no longer be sold online. Potential customers will either have to call the company or visit a Tesla service center to order one.
“Given the popularity of the Standard Plus relative to the Standard, we have made the decision to simplify our production operations to better optimize cost, minimize complexity and streamline operations,” the company said. “As a result, Model 3 Standard will now be a software-limited version of the Standard Plus, and we are taking it off the online ordering menu.”
To cut costs, Tesla is also cutting the range the Standard Model 3 can drive on a single charge and disabling some features.
Beyond the price changes, Tesla announced it is kicking off a leasing program for the Model 3, letting customers pick any variant of the vehicle and customize an annual mileage option.
Customers won’t have the option to buy the cars they lease, though. Those will eventually be converted to Tesla’s upcoming ride-hailing network.