Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said on Sunday that the EV maker’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) package will be available from early 2021 – possibly indicating a wide release of the software by that time.
Musk had originally said in April that Tesla would consider making the FSD package available as a subscription product by the end of 2020 in response to a question at the company’s Q1 2020 earnings call.
This will now happen in early 2021, Musk said via Twitter in response to a request from a driver who wants to lease, not own, a Tesla electric car.
Absolutely. We will release FSD subscription early next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2020
FSD is currently available as a one-off payment for a price in Australia of $A10,100, and although it is not yet fully-functional, those who buy it are guaranteed of Tesla’s version 3.0 hardware with proprietary AI chip, and access to partial features as they become available.
To date this includes Navigate on Autopilot, Smart Summon, Auto Lane Change, and Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control.
However, the electric car maker in October released a beta version of its fully-functioning (albeit still learning) FSD software to a limited number of drivers, and has plans to extend that to Canada and Norway imminently.
Tesla only claims portions of the FSD package payments as features are released. Once it is available as a fully functional product it can claim one-off payments in totality at the time of purchase.
While Musk has confirmed that the FSD software will be available as subscription, he has underlined that he believes those who buy it now “will not regret it”, because he estimated it will be worth much, much more in time, assuming his plan for Tesla robo-taxi fleets take off.
In April, Musk said, “In our view buying FSD is an investment in the future, we are confident an investment that will pay off to … the benefit of the consumer.”
“My opinion is buying the FSD option is something people will not regret doing,” said Musk.
Musk did not indicate if the subscription product would be made available to all Tesla markets immediately.
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.