Tesla has released subscription pricing for its Full Self-Driving (FSD) package in the US, which was previously only available as an entire add-on package.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving package is intended to eventually become a fully autonomous driving software suit, and was originally intended to be released in “early” 2021 according to Tesla boss Elon Musk.
Unsurprisingly, “Elon Time” (wherein the actual timeline for feature rollout takes longer than Musk at first optimistically hopes for) inevitably kicked in. But now that it has materialised, we can share that drivers in the US can opt to subscribe to the package for $US199 a month. Drivers that already have “Enhanced Autopilot” can subscribe to additional FSD features for $US99 a month.
To buy the package outright in the US the package costs $US10,000. It currently includes auto-lane changing and assistance entering and leaving motorways, auto-parking and “summon” in carparks (which allows the car to drive at slow speed to meet you on a private roadway), and the ability to recognise, stop and go at traffic lights and stop signs.
The final feature, which allows the vehicle to auto-steer on city streets including navigating roundabouts, will in theory mean a Tesla vehicle with the package activated can drive most trips without the need for human interventions.
Of course, the caveat is that it is not yet approved by regulators as “Level 5” autonomous driving software, which does not require human supervision. Tesla makes this very clear in its app according to screenshots of the package as posted by US Tesla owners on Twitter:
FSD subscription is now available. $199 a month. Seems pretty reasonable compared to $10k at purchase. pic.twitter.com/jA8bTKdOom
— The Tesla Show (@TheTeslaShow) July 17, 2021
For people who want to try FSD without the huge upfront outlay the subscription offering could prove very attrective. However, pundits have been quick to point out that anyone planning to subscribe for four years or more may as well buy the package outright.
The trouble is, a vehicle that has had the package bought for it in its entirety cannot be separated from it when sold. So a Tesla owner who wants to upgrade to a different variant or model must buy it again if they want to continue using FSD.
In Australia, it costs $A10,100, and can also be purchased after buying the vehicle, although older vehicles may require a hardware upgrade to Tesla’s proprietary computer ship which is designed to process the large amounts of visual data generated by the car’s eight cameras.
An timeline for an Australian rollout is not yet known. It is unclear what the FSD subscription will cost in Australia when it does get here; as a $A10,100 outright package it currently costs about $US2,500 less than in the US.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.