News broke overnight that it isn’t just car prices that are going up Monday, March 18th, but the prices for Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are also going up. As you can see, the pricing of these features has become a bit of a mess.
So, what appears to be changing Monday? The special lower prices for Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. As I interpret Elon’s tweet regarding “normal” prices, I define the normal price of Autopilot (A) at $3,000 at delivery and $4,000 after, Full Self-Driving for people who own Autopilot (B) as $5,000 at delivery and $7,000 afterward, and Full Self-Driving for people with Enhanced Autopilot (D — a ton of Model 3 owners worldwide) as $3,000 at delivery and $4,000 or $5,000 after (depending on when you bought).
So, below are the 3 types of people who should at least consider buying the software upgrade now before the price goes up.
You Own a Tesla Made After October 2016 And You Have Purchased No Autopilot Software
1. You can now buy the Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer functions for $3,000. If you wait till Monday, you will have to pay $5,000. If you drive on the interstate frequently or even in stop-and-go city traffic, this is a big enhancement and will also help your resale value, since anyone buying the car and wanting either Autopilot or Full Self-Driving will have to pay the $2,000 penalty for not getting it at delivery, or before Monday.
2. Alternatively, you could buy the full stack of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving for $5,000. If wait till Monday, you will have to pay $12,000 ($5,000 for Autopilot and $7,000 for Full Self-Driving). I can make the argument that once Full Self-Driving is approved by a government anywhere on the planet (Elon expects this to happen in 2021, or about 3 years from now), Tesla’s with Full Self-Driving will be in extremely high demand in that country to use as taxis and just to be limousines without having to pay for a driver. In that case, it is easy to imagine the price of used Tesla vehicles with Full Self-Driving going up substantially. Of course, Elon has a reputation for being optimistic on his timelines and you could buy this and not get to use the full features ever, if they never meets the standards of the government body where you live (this is a greater risk if you live in Europe, where it appears the regulators are slightly more cautious than those in the rest of the world.)
You Own a Tesla Made After October 2016 And You Have Purchased Enhanced Autopilot Software
This is very common. This is the camp I was in. You can now buy the upgrade from Enhanced Autopilot Software to Full Self-Driving for $2,000 instead of $4,000 (or for some people, $5,000). For the following reasons, I bought the upgrade this morning:
- Elon’s optimist timeline for Full Self-Driving Features coming this year, safety expected to be 10 times a human driver in a 2020, and regulatory approval in 2021.
- Resale value implications of not buying the upgrade.
- I am a CleanTechnica writer and it is easier to write about the Full Self-Driving Software if I use it daily.
Even though it sounds like I’m saying it is a must-buy option, I think it is fair to present two strong cases for not buying the upgrades:
- Tesla’s are really fun cars to drive and you enjoy driving your car. Why spend money on a feature you don’t want to use. I would argue that no car is that fun to drive in bad traffic and that is where the features are at their best, but if you live in an area without bad traffic, this is a strong argument.
- The resale values don’t matter if you aren’t selling your car anytime soon. Even with the current price reductions, the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features are expensive and beyond the budgets of many. Don’t feel pressured to buy something you don’t need and/or want just because of the urgency implied by articles like mine that perhaps sound like a late night infomercial for Tesla.
So, do I think you should buy either the Autopilot or the Full Self-Driving? Only you can decide that, but you should consider your options before Monday. Whatever you decide, I’m sure you will be happy with your Tesla because these are cars that are designed to bring you maximum joy.