2. The $35K Tesla Model 3 has finally arrived
Tesla is finally launching that long-promised $35,000 Model 3, but to meet its target price, the company is closing its 378 stores worldwide and shifting all sales online, CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday.
Why it matters: That $35,000 price tag enables Musk to deliver a mass-market electric vehicle he pledged to create 13 years ago, but he told reporters Thursday "there's no other way" to produce it than by closing all its stores and eliminating jobs. Even so, he says the company won't be profitable this quarter.
What's happening: Shifting all of its sales online — plus cutting other costs — means Tesla can lower the price of its vehicles, including Models S and X, by about 6% and achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than expected.
Details: Tesla is offering two new budget-priced Model 3s — a standard $35,000 model and a slightly upgraded $37,000 version — but they'll have smaller battery packs and won't travel as far as currently available versions of Model 3.
The catch: Tesla also changed the pricing on its Autopilot packages, shifting some features around, which will make automated driving features more expensive.
- For $3,000 extra, drivers can get Autopilot — which provides steering assistance and adaptive cruise control at highway speeds — similar to what comes standard on a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
- For another $5,000, drivers can get "Full Self Driving Capability," which adds Navigate on Autopilot — the ability to change lanes, pass slower cars and take interchanges. Plus it will include the Summon automatic parking ability and other yet-to-be detailed features.
Between the lines: "Full Self Driving Capability" doesn't mean the car can drive itself. Tesla continues to confuse consumers by giving its assisted-driving features names that overstate its capabilities.
- Drivers who want to use Autopilot and Full Self Driving features have to supervise the technology at all times.
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