Tesla’s Full Self-Driving release was supposed to be a big deal. It was long-anticipated, it was long speculated about, and once it was released, it was all Tesla owners talked about. And yet it seems that Tesla owners don’t want Full Self-Driving. Or at least not in its current iteration, at its current price. Only 11% of Tesla drivers have purchased the Tesla FSD package. Why isn’t it being adopted by a wider audience?
What exactly does Tesla’s Full Self-Driving do?
Tesla FSD is a more autonomous version of their Autopilot function. While many people believe Autopilot allows a Tesla to operate independently, or autonomously, this is not the case. Tesla’s website includes the following information about the level of autonomy that FSD offers: “Note: These features are designed to become more capable over time; however the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous. The currently enabled features require a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.”
The capabilities of each individual Tesla will depend on the configuration and location of your Tesla. FSD has the capabilities for Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, autosteer, and navigate. FSD also comes with auto lane change, autopark, summon, and smart summon. Smart summon allows Tesla owners to call their cars to them.
Full Self-Driving also includes technology called Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control. Tesla recognizes a stop sign or traffic light, and behaves accordingly.
It’s possible Tesla owners don’t want to pay too much for something so new
It’s important to remember that the new FSD is a beta package. This means that Tesla owners are basically testing it for the company. As FSD operates based on a neural network, it will constantly be adapting and making corrections. A neural network collects information and shares it with the network. It ‘learns’ from the information being collected by all of the Teslas using FSD.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving costs $10,000. Tesla owners can also purchase it as a subscription for $99-$199 per month, depending on the configuration of the vehicle. Tesla owners who purchased their cars between 2016-2018 may also have to pay for an upgrade so their computer can handle Full Self-Driving.
Add to that the fact that Full Self-Driving hasn’t been without its issues. There have been reports of Teslas with FSD having accidents, sideswiping bushes, and being otherwise ineffective. Consumer Reports is concerned about the feature, and two senators want Tesla investigated as to whether their marketing claims make it sound as though Autopilot and FSD are more autonomous than they really are.
Not many Tesla owners have upgraded their software
According to Electrek, the take rate, or the number of Tesla owners who purchase the Tesla Full Self-Driving package, shows how much confidence people have in Tesla being able to deliver a good FSD package. Worldwide, only 11% of Tesla owners have purchased the package.
Electrek does note that there are a few factors that could make the worldwide take rate lower than the actual confidence level in Tesla. Some of these include the FSD package not being as useful in other countries as it is in the United States.
As Tesla has increased the cost of FSD, the take rate has also decreased. Tesla says they may continue to raise the rate for FSD as they enable it to be able to do more. The take rate for the more expensive Teslas (the Model S and Model X) is higher than for the less expensive models (the Model 3 and Model Y).
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that people aren’t eager to pay $10,000 for something that they’re essentially beta-testing for Tesla. At the same time, Tesla will be releasing its newest Full Self-Driving package to the public in just a few weeks, and it’s possible that more people will be interested in it then. We’ll have to see how long it takes – if ever – for more people to feel comfortable using Tesla’s semi-autonomous Full Self-Driving.