Is Tesla Double-Charging For FSD Hardware?

Tesla’s FSD update is here, finally, and Tesla owners are ecstatic. Well, they were. Once the novelty of all that their cars and SUVs can now do wore off, a few were left feeling shortchanged. It seems that some owners of older model Teslas thought that their cars were already equipped with the hardware necessary for the FSD upgrade. Now, Tesla’s telling them they’ll have to pay $1500, or they won’t be able to use FSD.

The interior of a Tesla.
The interior of a Tesla | Tesla

What does FSD come with?

According to Electrek, all Teslas come with Autopilot, which up until now, was Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system. Autopilot enhanced the Tesla’s ability to perform tasks such as lane keep and adaptive cruise control. (If you’ve ever seen an irresponsible Tesla driver hanging out of their car window on the highway, you can thank Autopilot for that.)

Overall, Autopilot is a safety system with even more capabilities than a standard vehicle’s safety system, but FSD takes this even further. FSD allows the Tesla to change lanes on its own, as well as navigate, park, and stop at traffic lights. It’s important to note that drivers must still retain control of their vehicle, with their hands on the steering wheel. It isn’t a perfect system, and the ramifications of it going wrong can be deadly.

Why do some Tesla owners have to update their vehicles?

Some Tesla owners have already purchased the FSD package for a whopping $10,000. This has been offered for recent Tesla vehicles, and those who knew they’d want FSD whenever it came out have already purchased it. Additionally, Tesla is offering a subscription for $99-$199 per month, depending on the configuration of the Tesla. This is available to anyone who either didn’t already purchase FSD, or doesn’t want to spend ten grand on it all at once. 

Here’s the problem: according to Electrek, Tesla has told people since 2016 that their Teslas come with the necessary hardware for FSD, though they may need to pay extra for a software update at some point. They even pointed to the Tesla blog, which states that all Teslas being produced come with Full Self-Driving hardware. 

Yet Tesla realized that the computers in the 2016-2018 Teslas actually couldn’t handle FSD, and they updated their vehicles as of 2019. If you bought a car with FSD, you can get a complimentary upgrade. Otherwise, according to Electrek, Tesla drivers will have to pay for something they thought already came with their car. 

How does the Tesla community feel about the hardware charge?


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The Tesla community seems pretty split on this issue. Some say that they were told when they bought their Tesla that it came with the hardware necessary for an FSD software update at some point. Others say that if you haven’t already purchased FSD, there’s no reason to get a free upgrade now. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There seems to be enough people upset and asking questions that there should be clarification on this issue in the near future. Hopefully, everyone who wants FSD can have access to it (at what they expected to pay), and we can find out more about just how effective it is.