Tesla bumped up the price of its “full self-driving” software option to $US10,000 ($14,241) on Friday, making good on CEO Elon Musk’s promise last week to implement a roughly $US2,000 ($2,848) price hike in the U.S. It follows the launch of a limited beta version of the software, which lets a select number of U.S. customers use Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance features on the road such as automatic car parking and lane steering.
In the same tweet announcing the price change, Musk said that other markets around the world would see comparable price increases as the beta rolls out. He’s previously said that he expects the software to be released network-wide by the end of the year.
While the tech powering it is no doubt impressive, to call it “full self-driving” isn’t entirely accurate. Tesla warns users of its beta program that the software still requires vigilant monitoring and that “it may do the wrong thing at the worse time.” According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, the feature currently meets the standards of a Level 2 self-driving system on a five-point scale because driver supervision is still largely required when using it. Higher levels, aka what’s commonly known as “true self-driving,” require no driver intervention per the agency’s standards.
Tesla has been steadily raising the price of its full self-driving package over the last two years, seeming to waste no time cashing in on the excitement among Tesla drivers itching to take it for a spin after being teased for years about a fully autonomous mode on the horizon. In May 2019, the price jumped from $US5,000 ($7,121) to $US6,000 ($8,545), then to $US7,000 ($9,969) later that year, and finally $US8,000 ($11,393) in June. Musk has repeatedly maintained that this steep price tag is chump change in comparison to the value Tesla owners get out of the technology, which he argues is “probably somewhere in excess of $US100,000 ($142,410).”
As for how he came to that figure, your guess is as good as mine. In the meantime, Musk says that the price of Tesla’s full self-driving package will keep going up as “the software gets closer to full self-driving capability with regulatory approval.” So odds are this won’t be the last price hike Tesla owners see.