Tesla has been one of the few companies dedicated towards taking the automobile world into the driverless phase. They have been working constantly on making the driverless packages for their cars feasible, and have also given previews of what the self-driving package will feel like through its Autopilot mode. With a good structure in place when it comes to the OTA software updates and the necessary hardware requirements, they are well placed to make the move towards a fully driverless world.
Tesla Moving Towards Driverless World
In April earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk hinted towards the possibility of a monthly subscription option to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) package, and that idea is now materializing, it seems. The latest update in the Tesla mobile app suggests that this subscription option might soon be available to customers.
This news comes a day after Tesla reintroduced the Enhanced Autopilot mode for customers. The enhanced mode contains features such as Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, and Summon. This mode can be unlocked through the mobile app for a cost of $4,000. This move seems to be an effect of the FSD package having become quite expensive through recent updates. The FSD offers all of these four features, in addition to the Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control feature, and costs double of what the Enhanced Autopilot costs – $8,000. Along with that, buying the FSD also means that the computer inside your car needs to be upgraded, a process that costs Tesla a lot more money.
Keeping this in mind, the Enhanced Autopilot makes sense, as customers get almost all features by just paying the amount, without the need of any hardware change. It also reduces the cost of Tesla having to physically interact with the customers for the hardware upgrade. The only minus point of this is that the FSD is now available at $5,000 to the people who buy the Enhanced Autopilot. This means that people will end up spending a total of $9,000 if they buy the Enhanced Autopilot first, and then upgrade it to the Full Self-Driving package, instead of taking the direct route.
Tesla has also given their customers a deadline of 30th September of buying the Enhanced Autopilot, which pretty much confirms Tesla’s ulterior motive behind the move – improving sales towards the end of the quarter.
The monthly subscription might be a move to attract customers who have leased their cars. These people will be hesitant about investing $8,000, and the monthly subscription option gives Tesla an opportunity to earn some quick bucks. The pricing of the subscription is unknown, considering the fact that Tesla is yet to formally announce it. The mobile app update was spotted after a Reddit user uploaded an image by reverse-engineering the Upgrades section and revealing a new “Subscribe” option beside the usual “Buy” feature.
It is predicted, however, that Tesla might price this subscription at over $100 a month, which could again make a few people skeptical about making the purchase. This can also be decoded from an earlier statement from Elon Musk, who had made it clear that buying the $8,000 package will be the best financial option for going driverless. Buying the package is like making an investment into the future, an investment that Tesla is sure will pay off to the benefit of the consumer. He said that buying this package completely instead of buying a monthly subscription to it is something that people will not regret.
Obviously, the monthly subscription option may not be entirely economically viable for Tesla, as they would have to make certain hardware changes to cars who might not be paying anything to the company the next month. Canceling the subscription will not affect the owners much, other than going back to the lower-end features they used earlier, but it will be a big dent for the company in terms of hardware upgrades.
There is a possibility that this subscription might be available to owners who already have the Hardware 3.0 FSD computer installed. That way, Tesla won’t have to spend much money in upgrading the hardware. Another possibility might be regarding the availability of the entire set of features to monthly subscribers – they may offer the subscribers something between the Enhanced Autopilot and the Full Self-Driving package. The entire palette may be availed only through the $8,000 investment, thus reducing the possibility of Tesla suffering.
The introduction of the monthly subscription and the reintroduction of the Enhanced Autopilot mode seems to be a trick in order to get more people get on the FSD bandwagon. By having more number of cars with hardware necessities of full self-driving capability, they can easily make the switch when the driverless revolution gathers momentum. It is a master move by Tesla, and once again, we get to see the foresight they have when it comes to revolutionizing the market.