By Matt McFarland | CNN Business
The cost of what Tesla refers to as “full self-driving” on its vehicles has been upped once more. This time to $15,000, making it an uncharacteristically pricey choice for a car’s option.
According to a tweet that Musk published the previous month, “After wide release of FSD Beta 10.69.2, the price of FSD will climb to $15k in North America on September 5.”
On Monday, it was decided to push out the launch of the newest software version until “probably the end of the week.” Musk commented that the price hike “needs a bit more polish,” but it was implemented nonetheless.
Some Tesla customers who purchased an earlier, remastered edition of the same “full self-driving” software that is now retailing for $15,000 caution that the new price does not make sense for most buyers. They paid significantly less for that version of the program.
CNN Business spoke with 13 people who own cars equipped with the “full self-driving” beta, and the vast majority of respondents, 11 out of 13, thought that the $15,000 price tag was not justified. According to these drivers, the software has improved, but not much to justify the price increase. They remember having to pay greater attention while utilizing “full self-driving” than when they were driving on their own, as the car can be unexpected. This is the case because the car can be unpredictable. Over one hundred thousand Tesla vehicles have been sold with the feature already installed.
Customers who acquire a Tesla have the option of purchasing “full self-driving” at the time of purchase, or they can choose to pay a monthly membership fee in order to use the feature. Many Tesla owners who talked with CNN Business said that if they were in the market for a new car right now, they would choose either the $199/month subscription for “full self-driving” or the cheaper Enhanced Autopilot, which combines capabilities like as automated parking and automated lane changes on highways, but isn’t as obviously an unfinished, imperfect product.
According to three individuals who spoke with CNN Business, they believe that “full self-driving” is worth the high price to them since they enjoy trying out new technologies and are enthusiastic about the potential that “full self-driving” could one day become.
Brian Moody, executive editor of the online car marketplace AutoTrader.com, had this to say about those who believe “full self-driving” may soon be able to handle all driving responsibilities despite years of delays in the technology: “I really admire the optimism of all these people.” [Citation needed] “I only wish that I could be like that.”
According to an interview that Moody gave to CNN Business, “full self-driving” is particularly pricey in comparison to other driver-assist packages that are currently on the market, such as GM’s SuperCruise and Nissan’s ProPilot Assist. ProPilot Assist can often be purchased for less than $2,000, whereas the cost of SuperCruise is typically over $2,500 — in addition to a monthly connectivity fee of $25 beginning after the third year.
The capability that is promised by these driver-assistance systems is not quite as extensive. Musk claims that “full self-driving” will one day enable Tesla owners to operate their vehicles as robotaxis that do not require a human to be behind the wheel. Currently, Teslas can steer and keep up with traffic on certain highways. However, he says that “full self-driving” will allow this to happen in the future.
It is not unheard of for options to surpass the threshold of $10,000, but such high-priced options often include a variety of add-ons like an adaptive suspension, engine upgrade, and adaptive headlamps, he said. This is not an unheard-of occurrence.
Moody stated that he anticipates customers will pay for the “full self-driving” service via a monthly subscription rather than paying $15,000 up front for the promise of the feature’s future potential.
Taking the deep end of the pool
Wisam Al-Rawi purchased a Tesla that was pre-loaded with the “full self-driving” driver assistance software in 2014. This purchase took place exactly four years ago. He claims that he had no problem shelling out an additional $2,500 for “full self-driving” in the hope that his Tesla might one day operate without his assistance. But one month ago, Al-Rawi decided that he had had enough of the problems caused by the program. He requested that Tesla take it away.
Now, the individual living in California is taken aback to learn that Tesla is increasing the cost of “full self-driving” to $15,000 despite the fact that it does not meet the expectations of the car manufacturer.
According to what Al-Rawi said to CNN Business, “I would never even pay $10,000 for it.” They made ridiculously unrealistic promises.
However, Tesla believes that the feature, which the firm claims is still in testing (or “beta”) despite its widespread rollout, will be worth significantly more than even the price that it is selling for right now.
Musk remarked on Twitter in 2020, “The FSD price will continue to rise as the software gets closer to complete self-driving capabilities with regulatory permission,” predicting that the price of FSD would continue to increase. “[At] that point, the value of FSD is most likely somewhere above $100,000,” the author writes.
But “complete self-driving” was not even close to what Al-Rawi heard from Musk, who stated that self-driving Teslas were probably one to two years away in each of the years between 2015 and 2022 when Al-Rawi interviewed him.
According to Al-Rawi, using the beta version of the “full self-driving” system was nerve-wracking since the software would occasionally attempt to hit curbs or drive on the incorrect side of the road. Sometimes he would suddenly hit the brakes, which would cause people to become angry on the road.
“He guaranteed that your vehicle can serve as a taxi. According to Al-Rawi, this will result in the generation of income. “Unfortunately, none of this took place,” the speaker said.
Al-Rawi is adamant in his conviction that the driver-assist technologies offered by Tesla are superior to those offered by any other automaker. He thinks the lane-keeping technology that the car manufacturer offers is “amazing.” Al-Rawi ran into issues with the “full self-driving” feature, which is responsible for navigating local roadways and includes steering, stopping, and accelerating.
There are a lot of others who share Al-fear Rawi’s about Teslas and sudden braking. He’s not the only one. After receiving a large number of reports of sudden braking in February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is in charge of regulating motor vehicles, decided to conduct an inquiry into the matter.
However, despite the restrictions of “full self-driving,” a significant number of Tesla owners have not come to regret their purchase.
According to Logan Rossignol, a beta tester for Tesla’s “full self-driving” system, “There’s nothing in FSD that’s genuinely that useful, certainly not for this type of money.” This statement was made to CNN Business. “You are still responsible for the fulfillment of a statement. And how much value you place on that is entirely up to you.”
Because Rossignol is a software developer and enjoys playing with with different kinds of technology, he considers the expenditure to have been worthwhile for him. The definition of “full self-driving” is subject to frequent revision as a result of over-the-air automatic updates. The drivers get a new version of the technology to test out and experiment with some mornings when they get up.
Sunny Gulati, who claims to have paid $8,000 for “full self-driving,” claims that he experiences “inherent joy” when he watches his Tesla attempt to navigate roads. He stated that he no longer feels resentment or envy toward the other vehicles on the road. It’s not necessary for the system to be flawless for him to enjoy using it.
He rationalized the acquisition of “full self-driving” in part on the basis that he believed it might one day render the ownership of a second vehicle superfluous. Gulati stated that he may be unable to pay $15,000 for “full self-driving” and that if he were to make the purchase now, he would go with the option to pay a monthly membership price instead.
In 2019, Don Burke decided to purchase a Tesla Model S because he wanted a car that had the potential to drive itself in the future.
The individual from Virginia said that he suffers from a sort of muscular dystrophy. His legs are deteriorating. Within a few years, he will be confined to a wheelchair.
Burke gave an interview to CNN Business while he was traveling across the United States over a period of many months.
He claims that the driver assistance technology in his Tesla makes him a considerably safer driver, even when he logs up to 600 miles each day on the road. He stated that he believes machines would be better drivers than humans, citing the large number of deaths that occur each year on the nation’s roadways as evidence.
Burke stated that he would consider spending the additional $15,000 for “full self-driving” on a Tesla if he ever found himself in the market for a new vehicle.
“I appreciate being able to be mobile,” Burke remarked. If I were to get into a wheelchair, I would dearly love to have the option of owning a vehicle that could transport me to the places I need to go.