Interest in electric cars is surging as the price of gasoline rises into the stratosphere as a result of Putin’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine. There are reports that demand for Tesla automobiles has increased by 100% since the invasion began. And why not? If the economic case for buying and electric cars was strong before, it is twice as strong today.
Tesla buyers don’t have to deal with the phony “market adjustment” tactics that traditional dealers use to gouge customers who want a car that is in high demand. There’s no haggling over the price like rug merchants in a bazaar. You go online, find the car you want in the color you like and the options you prefer, then you place your order. Tesla builds the car to your specifications, and you go pick it up when it arrives at the nearest Tesla store.
But there is one catch. According to Inside EVs, if you order full self driving, better known as FSD, you are likely to get your car a whole lot sooner than if you don’t. The Model Y is the most popular model today. Inside EVs says if you order one today with FSD, you can expect to be driving it in about 2 months, but if you order it without FSD, it could take 6 months (or more) to find its way to your driveway. The delay is a little less for the Model 3 but still significant.
FSD is a $12,000 option. Tesla may not do market adjustments, but if you have to pony up an extra twelve grand to get your car before Saint Swithern’s Day, the need to opt for FSD to make that happen may feel a lot like a $12,000 market adjustment. Yes, the buyer gets something of value — the possibility the car might someday in the far distant future be able to drive itself — but what if you don’t want FSD?
In the first place, as of today, it is just a glorified driver assist system. In the second place, when and if full self driving becomes available, it will allow you to theoretically make money by letting strangers drive your $73,000 luxury car anywhere they want with no supervision by you. If you have read any stories from Uber drivers about customers having sex in the back seat or vomiting on the upholstery, you might want to think twice about loaning your Tesla to strangers.
People tell me if my Model Y had FSD, I could change lanes on the highway simply by pressing the turn signal stalk. Woo hoo! For $12,000, I can damn well change lanes myself, even if I have to deactivate the so-called Autopilot system every time to prevent the car from trying to wrench the steering wheel our of my hands as the front wheels cross the lane markings.
I am accustomed to putting on my blinker, checking my side view mirror, and then changing lanes even with cruise control engaged. But the minions at Tesla have decided they know better than someone with over a million miles of experience behind the wheel. I am not likely to spend a bunch more money for another system that does less than its name implies and drives like a machine instead of a real live person.
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