March 13th, 2019 by Kyle Field
After Tesla lowered the pricing of all of its new vehicles last week, Tesla offered up discounts on its newly reframed Autopilot and Full Self Driving options for existing owners as a way of compensating them for the loss in value they experienced virtually overnight.
Several days later, Tesla course-corrected, opting to close half as many stores and raise the prices of its vehicles 3% from the prices that were just reduced (6%) a week earlier. Tesla is also canceling the discounts on Autopilot and Full Self Driving when the new prices go into effect on Monday, March 18th. All of this forces an ultimatum onto owners.
Before the pricing change, the combined Autopilot and Full Self Driving solution was $8,000 if purchased with the vehicle or $11,000 if acquired after purchase. The reduced pricing allowed owners to buy Autopilot for half price ($2,000) and Full Self-Driving for $3,000. That represents a sweet discount on packages that have only gone up in price in recent months as Tesla continued to fine tune the pricing.
The lucrative offer is clearly convincing owners to pull the trigger on the upgrade, with the hard cutoff date on Monday making the decision even more urgent, as evidenced by numerous anecdotal stories from forums around the web and social media. A friend of CleanTechnica, Vincent, took to Twitter to kick off a poll that, with nearly 550 votes, found that 65% of owners were planning to purchase or had already purchased the package before the price goes back up on Monday.
Upgrading to Autopilot at the discounted rate is $2,000 and upgrading to Full Self Driving is $3,000, turning the lower prices into a veritable windfall of new cash for Tesla, without having to do much of anything for it. Granted, the prices are all front-loaded for Tesla, having invested years of effort into developing not just the software but also the hardware that underpins their autonomous driving solutions. According to CEO Elon Musk, this hardware is 2000% (20×) better than the NVIDIA-based hardware it is currently running its Autopilot and Full Self Driving solutions off of.
The cherry on top for many owners considering upgrading to Full Self Driving is the promise of a hardware upgrade to the new Tesla-built autonomous driving computer. OEM hardware upgrades after purchase are all but unheard of and the promise of keeping their cars current for another couple of years is too much for many owners to pass up.
I know it was for me. We opted not to purchase either package with the car as it was already a significant price tag to swallow by itself and I am now thankful to have the opportunity to buy AP + FSD at a discounted rate.
The result is thousands of unplanned, expensive purchases for owners, tons of cash coming in for Tesla, and thousands of vehicles that just got even safer at the click of a button and an over-the-air update. Stay tuned for more from our experience with Autopilot and Full Self Driving in the coming weeks, but until then, let us know if you’re planning to pull the trigger (or already have) on an Autopilot or Full Self Driving purchase.