Tesla hacker @greentheonly shared that the EV automaker’s vehicles already had the necessary source code for a pay-as-you-go Full Self-Driving subscription. According to the resident Tesla hacker, the FSD subscription source code had been in the company’s vehicles for quite some time but remained hidden.
The pay-as-you-go FSD subscription service was mentioned in a suggestion to Tesla by Ryan Grove last year in April 2019. Grove suggested that a subscription service for FSD might be a better option for Tesla’s customers than the pricey one-time purchase alternative. Elon Musk responded to the suggestion, stating that such a service may be offered in the future.
As of this writing, Tesla FSD costs US$7,000 in the United States. According to Drive Tesla Canada, Tesla FSD costs CAD$9,000, plus tax. Meanwhile, in China, Tesla has started offering FSD with 0% interest, most likely to encourage customers to purchase that feature. Elon Musk has noted that FSD's pricing will increase as more features are introduced.
there's code for pay as you go subscription plan, has been for quite a while. Waiting for that eventual time when it will make sense I am sure ;)— green (@greentheonly) April 28, 2020
A pay-as-you-go FSD subscription service would make the feature more affordable for customers, especially for those who don’t expect to use it often. With an FSD subscription option, Tesla owners or renters can choose to pay for the feature for a limited time and when they feel it would be necessary or most helpful. For example, an FSD subscription could help during long trips.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature will probably have many advantages and uses for different reasons, depending on the customer. For now, however, the one-time purchase of FSD would be most beneficial to those planning to add their Tesla vehicle to the company’s Robotaxi fleet. FSD is crucial to Tesla’s Robotaxi business model. If the EV automaker achieves level 5 autonomy with FSD, ARK Invest believes Tesla could hold a near-monopoly in the ride-hailing market.
There will be that too, but economics will favor initial purchase— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2019
With an FSD subscription service, though, the feature could make a separate income stream for Tesla apart from the customers who would use it for the company’s Robotaxi fleet. A subscription service would make it more affordable and accessible to those who find the one-time fee a little steep.
As of this writing, Tesla hasn’t officially announced its plans for a pay-as-you-go FSD subscription service. Based on Andrej Karpathy’s presentation at the Matroid Scaled Machine Learning Conference 2020, however, Tesla has made breakthroughs with FSD recently. Elon Musk is hopeful that Tesla’s Robotaxi fleet will roll out by the end of 2020, barring any setbacks from the pandemic.
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