Tesla Motors has made an indelible mark on the global auto industry, launching the first volume electric cars with few if any compromises in design, performance, or features.

Both the Model S in 2012 and the Model X in 2015 remain the sole such cars with more than 200 miles of range.

But they're also expensive, following the industry maxim that technology advances generally begin at the high end and percolate downward.

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Amid debate over Tesla's delivery volumes and sales projections, the company announced late last month that it was extending "low" U.S. leasing rates on both cars through the end of September.

Specifically, the rates apply to the entry versions with 60-kilowatt-hour battery packs.

Leases on the 2016 Tesla Model S 60, with the 60-kwh battery and rear-wheel drive, start at $667 per month, Tesla said. The 60D, with all-wheel drive, is also included in the program.

Tesla Model X descending the hill course at 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Tesla Model X descending the hill course at 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed

As for Tesla's all-electric crossover utility vehicle, the base 2016 Tesla Model X 60D, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, the lease rates start at $788 per month.

The Model S 60 is EPA-rated at 210 miles of combined range, while the Model X 60D comes in at 200 miles.

In its announcement, the company also noted that buyers can save an additional $1,000 by using any existing Tesla owner's referral code:

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For additional savings, anyone who orders any new Model S or Model X between now and October 15th through the Tesla Referral Program gets a $1,000 credit towards the purchase. Just get the special personal code of any Tesla owner and enter it at the time of purchase.


The announcement will likely feed continued discussion among financial analysts about a potential softening in Tesla's U.S. sales.

Because the company refuses to release conventional monthly sales data, its actual delivery rate remains opaque.

2016 Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X

It does release its total deliveries soon after each quarter closes, but those are global and the company does not break them out by country.

Some financial commentators have suggested that Tesla's sales pace in the U.S. has plateaued, but because data is hard to come by, that debate is likely to continue.

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Tesla delivered just over 50,000 electric cars last year, and is guiding for 90,000 deliveries this year.

While the Model X is a new vehicle, on sale only for about nine months, it launched slowly with a number of quality issues the company has worked to resolve. That slowed its sales pace.

2016 Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

The Model S is now four years old, and received a visual update earlier this year to bring its frontal appearance in line with the grille-free Model X and Model 3 designs.

Tesla doesn't make changes associated with model years, rolling out updates and modifications whenever it feels they're ready.

As a result, the Model S has had a dizzying array of battery-pack capacities offered through its life. The current options are 60, 75, 85, and 90 kwh.

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Monthly lease payments of more than $650 per month situate Tesla firmly in the luxury segment, where it will likely compete even after its Model 3 200-mile car launches at a promised base price of $35,000.

But the current lease offer may suit drivers who want to try a Tesla for a few years while waiting for the broader array of less expensive electric cars slated to arrive from a variety of makers in 2019 through 2021.

It's also possible, of course, that this is a way to move out current vehicles in preparation for additional upgrades or new features to be announced this fall.


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