For several years now Tesla has been installing the necessary hardware for its autonomous driver-assist features, which has enabled Tesla to offer both its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) systems as either a factory-installed or OTA-upgrade option. Basically, even if those features didn't come with the car, you could pay Tesla to activate them. And customers paid. It's costing $3000 to install Autopilot and $5,000 to FSD in February last year. Autopilot allows the vehicle to perform lane-keeping functions, such as keeping traffic up and avoiding pedestrians. All of that is done by FSD, as well as autonomous parking and the calling feature that calls your car to you in a parking lot.
Cost of Tesla full self-driving option increasing by ~$1000 on August 16— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 16, 2019
By that July, Tesla had tackled a further $1,000 on the price tag of the FSD-$7,000 all said if you install it after the fact. The company then promised another price hike in August which ended up being furloughed until September version 10 of the vehicle software package, which included an enhanced summons capability, was released.
But for people who buy the Tesla second hand or didn't spring to start with the FSD package, dropping seven grand may seem like a steep sum for such an investment, which is why Musk announced on Wednesday, "I think we're going to have it as a subscription service as well, but it's going to be around the end of this year."
"It was about making FSD available as an option. Buying FSD is, in our view, an investment in the future and we're confident his investment will pay off to the consumer, "Musk continued. "My guess is the FSD option that's something people won't regret."
A company representative then reiterated that rolling the FSD system's upfront cost into the overall vehicle loan "will be the least expensive to pay on a monthly basis." Musk also said the planned robo-taxi service powered by self-driving Teslas - previously scheduled for launch in 2020 - was pushed back, and could be available in "some" markets in 2021.
However, the earnings call was not without verbal fireworks, as a clearly frustrated Musk ranted about the quarantine COVID-19 and stay at home orders issued by the government.
"It's right that people's rights be violated," Musk asked. "I think that people are going to be very angry about this as what is happening right now."
"If anyone wants to stay in their own house, that's great. They should be allowed to stay in the house, and not be forced to leave, "he continued. "But to say they can not leave their house, because if they do, they will be arrested, this is fascist."
"This is not democratic, it is not freedom, it gives people back their goddamn freedom," insisted Musk, as a tense silence fell upon the call to the conference.