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Autonomous Vehicles

Tesla “Full Self-Driving” Subscriptions Coming Early 2021

Since Tesla started offering the “Full Self-Driving” suite, it has cost several thousand dollars, and much of the benefit is expected to be in coming features. In fact, each time Tesla updates it to add more features to owners’ cars, Tesla raises the price.

Image courtesy Kim Paquette

Since Tesla started offering the “Full Self-Driving” suite, it has cost several thousand dollars, and much of the benefit is expected to be in coming features. In fact, each time Tesla updates it to add more features to owners’ cars, Tesla raises the price.

At the moment it costs $10,000 to get the Full Self-Driving (FSD) software suite. That’s a lot of money for most of us. And it’s hard to go through with clicking that option in various cases, perhaps most notably if you are leasing. After all, as I noted, much of the benefit is in the unforeseen future. The biggest benefits to the current system, in my opinion, are just Auto Lane Change and Navigate on Autopilot. Autostopping at red lights and stop signs is cool, but the car waits too long to brake and then brakes too hard for my tastes, so I stopped using it. I have almost never heard of anyone using Autopark. And Summon is cool and fun but only useful in niche situations. The big benefit, I presume, is when the car can really drive itself better than you from one location to another, and then when it can be done at such a level that you can do other things or could even make money on your fully autonomous “robotaxi.” But betting that’s worth $10,000 in the next 3 years on a car you won’t be able to keep is … well, probably illogical unless $10,000 means very little to you.

Now, the news is that Tesla is about to roll out a FSD subscription option — in early 2021 — that will allow people to pay annually, or I assume monthly, for the FSD features. We saw hint of this recently when some of the code in Tesla vehicles changed to indicate this was coming.

Last I heard, FSD uptake was somewhere around 50%. I don’t know what uptake across all owners is right now, but I presume this subscription option will increase FSD uptake substantially.

However, recall that I noted above that Tesla increases FSD pricing as it adds new features. Buying FSD all at once protects you against such price increases. Also, it seems logical that your car appreciates a bit each time the FSD price increase. If you go the subscription route, I assume that means you have to pay more for the subscription each time the price goes up. So, I assume many people will still go the route I went and simply buy FSD upfront. Also, recall that the vast majority of Tesla drivers buy rather than lease (93% of Model 3 & Model Y buyers according to Tesla’s last statement on this). Even so, the appeal of a subscription option goes beyond lessees. There are a variety of people who may prefer to pay monthly for the features rather than add $10,000 to the car at the time of purchase.

Check out more FSD news and reviews here.

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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