Around the time of Tesla's Q1 analyst call, CEO Elon Musk said the price of the Full Self Driving feature would increase on July 1. True to his word, the boss tweeted that the price of FSD goes up more than 14%, rising $1,000 on July 1 to $8,000. In a follow-up tweet, Musk wrote, "The FSD price will continue to rise as the software gets closer to full self-driving capability with regulatory approval. [At] that point, the value of FSD is probably somewhere in excess of $100,000."
We think the six-figure quote represents the optimism of a seller "who knows what he's got." Without regulatory approval, the higher autonomy being pitched is a non-starter. And before that happens, the current features need to finish baking; owners love the promise of the Stopping at Traffic Lights and Stop Signs update, for instance, but the compromise of having the car slow down at green lights or for stop signs meant for crossing traffic is too much burden for some.
Tesla Full Self-Driving option cost rises by ~$1000 worldwide on July 1st. Order a Tesla online in less than 2 minutes at https://t.co/qJm9uPBCX5— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2020
The real, potentially $100K payoff for FSD is meant to be the robotaxi network Tesla's been working on for a few years. That would put fully autonomous Teslas on the road without drivers, the fleet a mix of customer- and automaker-owned cars. Musk is so bullish on the income opportunity for customers that he said in April "It's financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla." Of course, regulatory issues are an even larger hurdle here. Musk tweeted in response to a question that he believes the software is "still looking good for this year," but "Regulatory approval is the big unknown."
Autopilot, which is included, bundles traffic-aware cruise control and Autosteer, a lane-centering system. FSD adds Navigate on Autopilot, automatic lane changing, automatic parking, Summon and Smart Summon, and the traffic and stop sign control.
For now, Tesla instructs drivers that both Autopilot and the more fully featured FSD "require active driver supervision." Getting government and public approval for driverless vehicles shuttling hordes of people all day and night through dense urban areas ... well, we don't see that happening soon, nor do Lyft, Uber, Cruise, or Waymo.
This is the second price increase for FSD in 13 months, after the price rose from $5,000 to $7,000 in May of last year. There will be another rise by the end of the year, Musk having said FSD will move to subscription payments that work out to be higher than the up-front cost, without providing details. It isn't clear when the next FSD upgrade will happen, but Car and Driver reports that Autosteer on city streets is on the way.