Tesla's 'Self-driving' Suite Grows More Expensive, Subscription Model Likely

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
teslas 8216 self driving suite grows more expensive subscription model likely

On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that his company’s full self-driving (FSD) suite stands to become more expensive starting in July. Intended to serve as the prerequisite hardware for truly autonomous functionality once the software is ready, it’s proven a pricey way to get into brand’s more advance driver assistance features. Of course, the company sells it as a way to buy into complete vehicular autonomy — something that has yet to be realized anywhere in the industry — and has so far failed to deliver on that front.

Luckily for Tesla, the company remains on the bleeding edge of available automotive technologies while continuing to improve the basic fit and finish of its products. As no one else is delivering self-driving vehicles, the Californian EV manufacturer can get away with making certain claims about FSD — like how it’s inching closer to figuring out how to navigate a car through an urban environment.

Musk actually signaled that new features would be coming to the suite earlier this year, noting incoming price increases through 2020. Starting July 1st, FSD becomes an $8,000 option (tacking on a grand to the current price) and may eventually become a subscription model.

If your ears just perked up, that’s probably because you’re not a fan of subscription models either. While they work wonderfully for podcasts and streaming services, automakers dabble with them as a way to make customers pay endlessly for features as vehicles shift into being perpetually connected to the internet. In April, Teslarati chronicled a discussion with Musk and EV hacker/enthusiast Greentheonly after he had discovered Tesla’s source code now includes a subscription plan for FSD.

To its benefit, Tesla’s code suggests FSD subscriptions will be pay-as-you-go — allowing customers to pay for the privilege of enabling or disabling features on the fly. But it also raises questions about how older vehicles that already bought into FSD will be handled. Tesla has already proven itself capable and willing to remove enhanced Autopilot features and performance upgrades once cars enter the secondhand market. We also cannot say with any certainty that the next batch of updates will make the driving assistance suite more appetizing.

With Tesla hinting that legitimate self-driving will come by the end of this year, most watchers assume a major update is on the way to help legitimatize the price increase. Today, the $7,000 upgrade adds navigate on Autopilot, automatic lane change, auto park, a summon option, and traffic light and stop sign control. “Autosteer on city streets” is slated to arrive after the fee goes up.

[Image: JL IMAGES/Shutterstock]

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4 of 17 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on May 20, 2020

    Tesla is a reminder/warning of how dangerous cults can be. Musk's behavior and the company's attitude on FSD is reprehensible. GM ignition switch reprehensible.

  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on May 20, 2020

    I wouldn't be surprised if they required a subscription to open your glove box.

    • See 1 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 21, 2020

      Sat in a brand-new Cadillac inside the showroom several months ago - the glovebox is opened using a capacitive 'touch' switch. My mind reeled going through all the possible failure modes [through the seasons and various use cases and over time]. Also set off a piercing alarm (again, inside the showroom) when I opened the hood - I suppose that isn't done these days. [Can only imagine the scowl that Melody Lee would have shot in my general direction.] The glove compartment in my daily driver has a latch and a keyed lock. I like it even better now.

  • SCE to AUX Love it, and the price is a bargain, actually. The clean exterior is nice.Also, this caught my attention: "105mm throttle body"... that's a lot of air flow.
  • Tassos I predict this will be a big hit and conquer new markets. Housewives will be lining up to grab them, and the dealers will charge $200k a unit. Why? Because they already buy SUVs and crossovers they never needed, which have much less interior space than their minivans. So they will sacrifice a bit more of that space, but at least they will not drive identical looking crossovers with their accursed neighbor's wife.I also predict the Tesla Plaid and even lesses Teslas will beat the living daylights of this idiotic vehicle, and without even breaking a sweat.
  • Bobbysirhan I fully expect to be reading about the last-of-the-line Challenger Demon 170 Redeye Widebody three years from now.
  • Dougjp Finally, luxury/strong performance in a compact size car. Unlike the Civic R, the market for this segment has predominantly automatics buyers. Yet year after year, it appears Acura can't make such a car. They did have a 10 speed with torque (Accord), which counters the thought that they can't make a torque capable automatic.Oh well, look elsewhere I guess.
  • Analoggrotto The real question, how many years or months after the end of production will this vehicle be completely eliminated from the street? Neon lights, yellow spoiler covers, idiotic stripes, brazzers license plate frames, obnoxious exhausts and all.