If you’re a Tesla owner, then you need to make a pretty serious decision about your car, and quickly. Most of the upgrades that happen to Tesla’s come for free by way of a software update, but the Full-Self Driving package is functionality Tesla are charging for.
When the Tesla Model 3 was announced, Elon Musk highlighted that it had all the necessary hardware to enable the car to be fully autonomous. With hardware being difficult and expensive to upgrade, this was a crucial decision for the company.
While recent Model S and X’s have the same set of hardware, earlier models don’t. Depending on when you purchased the car, it may be eligible for a hardware upgrade (from 2.5 to 3), but really early models are just not able to do what modern Tesla’s can.
While every new Tesla includes Autopilot for free, FSD currently costs A$8,500 in Australia and is set to go up by at least A$1,000 on July 1st (it’s unclear if GST will be added and USD to AUD exchange rate).
This means its decision time, buy now, before the price rise, or wait for more features to be completed.
Autopilot is included with all new cars and has been for a while, which enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane.
The Full Self-Driving capability however is still in development. Currently it offers:
- Navigate on Autopilot: automatic driving from motorway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars.
- Auto Lane Change: automatic lane changes while driving on the motorway.
- Autopark: both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
- Summon: your parked car will come find you anywhere in a car park.
Still on the development list is:
- Recognise and respond to traffic lights and stop signs.
- Automatic driving on city streets.
The driving on city streets is a big one, with many sub-tasks to achieve before ticking this one off. Despite the complexity of the job ahead, Elon Musk has publicly stated that it is expected to be feature complete by the end of the year.
There’s also an FSD subscription on the way, however there’s no guidance around the price and flexibility of this subscription. It is not clear if you can simply start and stop month to month and if we’re talking about $100pm which some may be tempted by, or $500pm-A$1,000pm which would put it out of reach for many.
Musk has repeatedly said that the price of FSD will go up accordingly to its value as they complete new functionality and we’ve seen that happen with FSD starting at A$7,100 when the Model 3 was first launched.
Given how complex the decision is, I recently put together a full review of FSD on techAU which many people have read and mentioned that it helped make their decision to buy.