Hybrids & Electrics

Switching Tesla Models Means Losing Money for This Non-Transferable Feature

Tesla is known for being a leader in innovation and pushing the limits of technology when designing new cars year-after-year. Their Full Self-Driving software is one of the most intriguing concepts within their vehicles, and Tesla is constantly working to make it better and have more features. Unfortunately, upgrades to this software will cost owners a pretty penny, especially since they cannot transfer their Full-Self Driving software purchase to a new model. 

What is Tesla’s Full Self-Driving?

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving is a software program that Tesla owners can choose to add to their Tesla vehicles. The name “Full Self-Driving” is a bit misleading, as this software cannot allow cars to drive or operate without human interaction. This software, with the basic and included features being called Autopilot, can keep a Tesla in the center of lanes, automatically adjust the speed to match the car in front of it, and also recommend and complete lane changes to navigate around slower cars. Owners can also pay to upgrade to a version of FSD that can stop a Tesla at stoplights and stop signs. 

These features are impressive, but Full Self-Driving still comes with plenty of limits. With each improvement to FSD, the price increases substantially. Tesla CEO Elon Musk states that the price of Full Self-Driving will continue to rise as the software improves and Teslas can operate more autonomously. 

Full-Self Driving costs more and is not transferable

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The price of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving has gradually gone up from $5,000 in mid-2019 to now costing Tesla owners $10,000. In June of 2020, the price was set at $8,000, but Tesla recently released the Full-Self Driving in limited beta. This upgraded version allows owners to use the Full-Self Driving software on local roads. Before, it could only be used on highways, so this seems like a major upgrade. 

One major drawback of purchasing FSD is that the software is not transferable from one Tesla to another. This means that if a current owner has paid for and installed Full Self-Driving capability on their current Tesla model, but the owner would like to sell their current vehicle and buy a newer Tesla, they will have to purchase FSD for their new car again. This is a definite bummer, especially since the price of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving only continues to increase.

A Tesla subscription model may fix this problem 

It seems unlikely that Tesla owners will stay silent about the extra expenses this purchasing system enacts. This may push the company to create a subscription model that would allow owners to transfer their software purchases from one model to another. This way, an owner who already has Full Self-Driving software could have a login that would allow them to access the features they pay for whenever they purchase a new Tesla from the dealership. 

Only time will tell if Tesla will go for this type of plan. Elon Musk recently tweeted that by the time Teslas are fully approved to drive completely by themselves, the software will be worth $100,000. With value estimates that high, it may be less likely. 

The future of Tesla Full Self-Driving software

Elon Musk has high hopes for the future of Autopilot, envisioning a world where Tesla owners can lend their vehicles as “robotaxis” when they are not using them. According to USA Today, Musk estimates that owners could make $30,000 per year by allowing their vehicles to take other people to their destinations for a fee. Once the automaker gets to the point where people can lease out their vehicles as “robotaxis” for extra money, Musk tweeted that the price of a model will go up substantially, as “a fully autonomous car that can function as a robotaxi is several times more valuable than a non-autonomous car.”