Tesla’s full self driving package an evolving product which costs A$10,100 if you buy it outright today. After many owners stretched financially to afford the vehicle cost, finding another $10k can be challenging.
Before we get started, we need to highlight that Autopilot is included with every Tesla as part of the price. Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. This keeps your car centered to the lane.
What is FSD today?
Full Self-Driving Capability offers a number of features today that will expand and improve over time.
- 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. Really.
- Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: assisted stops at traffic controlled intersections
What is FSD tomorrow?
On Tesla’s website, they list a final feature:
- Automatic driving on city streets.
That may be one item, but it’s a really difficult, really significant challenge to accomplish. Tesla are currently testing a newer release of the software, known as FSD beta.
There are many videos online that show this software (a preview of what’s coming to all FSD owners), which show cars navigating unmarked streets, making turns, taking round abouts and even avoiding debris on the road.
While timelines of FSD projections by Elon Musk have missed previously, he seems to be very confident that the product will be ‘feature complete’ by the end of 2021.
Assuming an owner is keen to get the functionality offered under FSD, every owner have to evaluate if the value matches the cost. To make FSD more approachable, Elon Musk announced back in December 2020, that a FSD subscription option would be available early this year.
At the start of March, the last month of the first quarter, it wasn’t a surprise to see many in the Tesla community asking where it’s up to. Musk replied today with confirmation that this will now take place in Q2, giving the company another 3 months to deliver the option.
What will FSD Subscription cost?
While we don’t yet have any price confirmed for the FSD subscription, many are imagining a US$150-200 per month cost, which would see a 3-5 year time horizon to match the current outright price.
If you plan on owning the car longer than 3-5 years, you’d benefit from buying it outright. If the price goes up as functionality increases (Musk says it will), you’d benefit from buying it now.
I’d equally expect the subscription cost to be a moving target as the functionality takes us closer to Level 5 driving and the ability to enrol your car in the Tesla fleet as a Robotaxi to make you money.
It is important to know that as of now, we don’t have any reason to believe a wider release of the FSD beta will be tied to the release of the subscription. This means those who subscribe to FSD, will be subscribing to the FSD preview, not the FSD beta. This means if you buy FSD and enable the preview, it’ll recognize and stop at traffic lights and stop signs, but won’t turn corners and take round abouts.
To be functionally complete, there’s another big item on the to-do list for Tesla and that’s to work on the slow-speed aspects of the car. This means Smart Summon needs to go park the car itself which the current offering (even beta) simply doesn’t do.