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Tesla Autopilot now standard on all Model 3 cars – except one

Tesla has announced it is adding the Autopilot driver assist technology to all of its Model 3 vehicles as a standard feature, except the most affordable car in the range.

In a blog post this week, the e-car pioneer said it will now offer the Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus for $39,500. That’s a change from the previous price of $37,500 for the car, and $3,000 for Autopilot. Effectively, that’s a discount of $1,000 on Autopilot, but also a price hike if you weren’t planning to buy it.

“We think including Autopilot is very important because our data strongly indicates that the chance of an accident is much lower when Autopilot is enabled,” the company wrote in the post. “Autopilot also dramatically improves the quality of the driving experience, especially in heavy traffic, as thousands of our customers frequently describe online.”

While the Model 3 Standard Plus is getting Autopilot built-in, the cheapest, $35,000 Model 3 Standard is not getting it. In fact, the Standard edition is practically going away.

From now on, that model will only be available in stores or when ordered over the telephone, rather than through the conventional online ordering mechanism. Tesla says this is because the Standard Plus has outsold the Standard Model 3 by six-to-one. Those who’ve already ordered the Standard model will still begin receiving them this weekend, and will still be able to upgrade to Plus via a software update.

Tesla wrote: “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.

“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, which just means that to get it, customers will need to call us or visit any one of the several hundred Tesla stores. Deliveries of Model 3 Standard will begin this weekend.”

Finally, the company said it is introducing the option to lease Tesla cars in the United States. Interestingly, those drivers won’t have the chance to buy the car at the end of the lease “because with full autonomy coming in the future via an over-the-air software update, we plan to use those vehicles in the Tesla ride-hailing network.”

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