Tesla plans to upgrade models and revive cheaper options

Silicon Valley carmaker has been struggling to meet delivery deadlines

epa07509598 Visitors inspect a Tesla model X during the media day of the Auto Shanghai 2019 motor show in Shanghai, China, 16 April 2019. The 18th Shanghai international automobile industry exhibition runs from 16 to 25 April.  EPA/WU HONG
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Tesla, struggling with delay in delivery of its higher-priced Model S and X luxury cars, said it will bring back lower-priced options for those cars and roll out upgrades to improve their driving range and re-charging speed.

The company, striving to improve margins and post a profit later this year, has laid off workers including about half of the team hired to deliver cars in the United States, and said it would close stores to lower costs.

Tesla has since said it will keep higher-volume stores open, while announcing a 3 per cent price increase on some models.

The upgrades include a new drivetrain design and a new adaptive suspension system, increasing each vehicle's driving range, the company said in a blog post ahead of its first-quarter results on Wednesday.

With the upgrades, the long-range version of Model S and X can now travel 595.5 kilometres and 525km, respectively, on the US Environmental Protection Agency cycle.

The lower-priced options, or the 'standard range' versions, of Model X and Model S were available for purchase on Tesla's website after Tuesday's announcement for $83,000 (Dh304,000) and $78,000, respectively. Estimated delivery of both cars was set for May.

Earlier in April, Tesla reported fewer-than-expected vehicle deliveries in the first quarter, with figures for the Model S sedans and Model X SUVs more-than-halving compared with the preceding quarter.

The Silicon Valley carmaker has faced a range of challenges over the past year as one of the leaders in electric vehicle technology sought to ramp up production, deliveries and sales of the Model 3 sedan seen as crucial to its long-term profitability.