The price for Tesla’s Full Self Driving package goes up in November, but the big question is when will its available features – Navigation on Autopilot and Smart Summon – become available in Australia?
Full Self Driving, or FSD as it is known, is currently an extra $A8,500 on top of the standard AutoPilot inclusions for any Tesla electric vehicle.
However, as of October 31, 2019, it is still not available to those who have bought FSD even though the V10 software update that included the Smart Summon feature started its roll out at the end of late September.
This has caused some confusion for Tesla owners who have already bought FSD with their vehicle, and those who have been considering adding it to their orders.
It appears likely that a $US1,000 price rise would mean FSD will, as of tomorrow, cost in the vicinity of $A10,000 in Australia.
On Wednesday morning (Australian time), Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk reminded everyone that the price will go up on November 1.
As Elon Musk (currently known as Treelon due to donating 1 million trees to #teamtrees Youtube project) posted on Wednesday (Australian time), “Just a reminder that the Tesla Full Self-Driving option goes up by $1000 at midnight on Nov 1 for all regions that have Smart Summon.”
But Australia does not currently have Smart Summon.
Just a reminder that the Tesla Full Self-Driving option goes up by $1000 at midnight on Nov 1 for all regions that have Smart Summon. Order your car online at https://t.co/7FlnbrMxOl.
— Treelon (@elonmusk) October 30, 2019
But when will it become available then? And what about Navigate on Autopilot?
In mid October Elon Musk tweeted “Coming v soon” in a response to an Australian tweep who asked when the NoA and Smart Summon that will eventually form critical parts of FSD technology will become available in Australia.
This has not yet eventuated, although it is known that state regulators are looking to an autonomous future.
The ultimate reason for FSD is so that Tesla can eventually implement a plan to allow people to add their Tesla vehicles to a “robo-taxi” fleet and get a financial return on their considerable investments.
Musk believes that thanks to this technology to Tesla vehicles will make them appreciate in value as compared to a standard passenger vehicle that depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot and quickly becomes superceded.
Tesla has gradually been working out how to implement each feature needed for a vehicle to drive itself with Level 4 autonomy – that is, without driver attention – from a driver’s home to work.
As it achieves this it has been rolling the features out via “over-the-air” (OTA) software updates to owners with the necessary hardware – the latest of which has been Smart Summon, which allows a vehicle to drive at slow speed to its owner (this is currently only allowed in carparks and private roads).
Another piece of the puzzle, Navigate on Autopilot (NoA), allows a vehicle to enter and exit highways and change lanes at high speeds. This has been available in the United States for around 12 months now.
The income that Tesla receives from the FSD add-on is only disbursed to the company as the package become available.
At its Q3 2019 earnings call last Thursday (Australian time), Musk confirmed that Tesla has a $US500 million ($A724 million) in unrecognised revenue that it cannot access until FSD is considered “feature complete”.
With Tesla now working on the last piece of the FSD puzzle – traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts and medium speed – Musk expects this will be achieved by the end of 2020.
“It’s going to be tight but it still does appear…that it will at least be, for early access, feature complete by end of this year,” he said.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.