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August 16, 2023
Tesla has introduced a lower-cost version of its Autpilot driver-assistance technology in two of its key vehicles.
Standard range variants of its Model S sedan and Model X SUV are now being offered again on its website for the first time since 2021.
In the past couple of years, only Long Range and Plaid versions have been available for either model.
The return of a Standard Range model has been facilitated by software-locking the capacity of the battery used in the long-range versions.
This means the EVs cannot travel so far, but are available at lower prices. The Model S drops $10,000 to $78,490, but has its range cut to 320 miles on a single charge, as opposed to 405 miles for the Long Range.
On the Model X, the range falls 68 miles from 348 miles on the Long Range to 269 miles, with the price reduced by $10,000 to $88,490.
By going down the route of software-locking the battery capacity, Tesla has left the door open for a future software update, whereby it would subsequently be unlocked – increasing range – for a premium. It has followed this strategy previously, although it is not clear if that is the company’s intention.
The new Standard Rate versions continues to come fitted with Tesla’s basic Autopilot package, making them the most affordable models in their respective ranges to provide access to the driver-assistance package.
Autpilot’s key features are Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, which matches the speed of the car to surrounding traffic, taking control of the braking and acceleration, and Autosteer, which assists in steering in a clearly marked lane. Drivers must be prepared to intervene when required.
Despite the reductions in price, there will be no change in cost for the more advanced versions of Tesla’s driver-assistance tech.
Enhanced Autopilot adds to the functionality of the standard Autopilot offering with a host of additional features. These include Navigate on Autopilot, which guides a Tesla on a highway, suggesting lane changes and navigating interchanges; Auto Lane Change; Autopark; Summon, which automatically moves the car out of a tight space by using Tesla’s mobile app; and Smart Summon, which can navigate more complex environments.
It will continue to be offered for $6,000.
Upgrading to Full-Self Driving – which despite its name, does not deliver full self driving – will cost $15,000. It adds a Beta version of Traffic and Stop Sign Control, which identifies signs and automatically slows cars on approach.
Deliveries of the new Standard Range models are scheduled to start in September.
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