One of Tesla’s most controversial options on its electric cars is going up in price, with Elon Musk confirming that from next week the so-called Full Self Driving package is going to cost you about $2,000 more. The price change will apply to both new Tesla buyers and those upgrading their EV, and comes as FSD hits an equally controversial milestone.
FSD has been available as an upgrade on Tesla’s electric cars for some years now, adding several thousand dollars to the price of the vehicle yet offering little more than a promise of abilities still to come. The goal, Musk said, was to deliver the ability to fully self-drive to existing vehicles – assuming they had the FSD option and the correct hardware, such as Tesla’s custom chipsets and the various cameras and other sensors its Autopilot tech uses – after extended alpha testing.
That in-house testing came to an abrupt milestone earlier this week, with Musk announcing that the Tesla FSD beta was beginning – albeit in limited numbers. From October 20, the first beta participants started seeing FSD software arrive on their cars. “Will be extremely slow and cautious,” Musk pointed out, “as it should.”
Just whether Tesla could actually do safe autonomous driving with the hardware it has currently has been a topic of argument in the AV community. Musk has been a vocal critic of LIDAR sensors – generally adopted by most other self-driving vehicle projects for their environment-scanning abilities – insisting that the current Autopilot suite of short and long range radar, ultrasonic sensors, and cameras are sufficient. The automaker has also faced criticism both for charging owners for vehicle abilities not yet enabled or even proven, and for its aggressive autonomy roadmap.
The decision to begin the public beta was met with no small surprise. What hasn’t been so surprising – since Musk has been warning of the change for some months now – is that the FSD package is going to increase in price. Currently, adding the FSD option to a new Model 3 order will set you back $8,000. As of Monday, October 26, it will rise by around $2,000, Musk says.
It’s unclear just how many people are currently enrolled in the FSD beta. One goal is to get to a broader full-self driving rollout by the end of the year, though Musk says that’s “dependent on proving high safety.” Global availability, meanwhile, will depend on the automaker getting localized testing and regulatory approval. As such, Musk confirmed, the price change will only be taking place in countries where the beta is rolling out.
As milestones go, it’s certainly a big one. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of questions about Tesla’s FSD abilities, and the automaker has been mostly quiet about exactly what the system can do on public roads. We’ll presumably know more when the first beta participants start reporting en-masse.