Tesla cuts Full Self Driving cost by 1/3 ahead of earnings call

Tesla cuts Full Self Driving cost by 1/3 ahead of earnings call

Enlarge / Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” system just got a third cheaper.

Edie Leong for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Tesla has dropped the price of its controversial “Full Self Driving” partially automated driver assist. Last week, getting access to FSD would cost you $12,000—today, it’s a third cheaper at $8,000. Alternatively, customers can subscribe to the feature for $99 a month.

Tesla has bet heavily on FSD for the future of the company. It’s one of two partially automated driving systems offered by Tesla—Autopilot is the older and less-capable system. FSD includes features such as auto lane changes, auto parking, the ability to summon the car from its parking space, and lane keeping (Autosteer in Tesla-speak) on surface streets.

Tesla claims that “[y]our car will be able to drive itself almost anywhere with minimal driver intervention and will continuously improve,” but then also notes that “[t]he currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

Like Autopilot, which has now been blamed for multiple deaths, there are safety concerns with using FSD.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forced Tesla to recall nearly 363,000 cars, as the driver assist system could “allow the vehicle to act unsafe around intersections, such as traveling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, entering a stop sign-controlled intersection without coming to a complete stop, or proceeding into an intersection during a steady yellow traffic signal without due caution.”

The same year, a group of Tesla investors sued the company, claiming that Tesla CEO Elon Musk repeatedly made false statements about the safety and capabilities of the FSD system.

But FSD is now more critical than ever to Tesla’s long-term success. The company has no replacements for its increasingly antiquated Models S, X, 3, or Y, and it recently canceled plans for a $25,000 Model 2 EV. Instead, Musk has decided to double down on a plan to develop a Tesla robotaxi leveraging the FSD system. All new Teslas come with a 30-day trial of FSD, and even at $8,000 per car, that’s a healthy extra slug of cash at a time when the company’s once-envied profit margins are shrinking faster than its quarterly deliveries.

Tesla will deliver its Q1 2024 financial results tomorrow afternoon.

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