Tesla set to launch a Full Self-Driving subscription service this year

An autonomous Tesla Model 3. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla is set to roll out a subscription service for its Full Self-Driving suite later this year, Elon Musk said.

During the company’s Q1 2020 Earnings Call, Musk and CFO Zachary Kirkhorn briefly confirmed the introduction of a subscription program for Full Self-Driving. The capability to acquire the company’s FSD suite in installments was mentioned as well, which could allow drivers to experience Tesla’s latest and greatest tech without having to pay the full $7,000 price tag at once.

It was recently discovered by Tesla hacker-enthusiast @greentheonly that the source code for the company’s vehicles actually contained references to a pay-as-you-go subscription model. Green stated that the pay-as-you-go plan sat within the source code for quite some time. Now it seems Tesla is planning to release the payment plan option by the end of 2020.

When asked about the possibility of a subscription service in the Q1 2020 earnings call, Musk replied, “I think we will offer Full Self-Driving as a subscription service, but it will be probably towards the end of this year.”

While this option could end up being more convenient for some owners who do not wish to pay $7,000 for FSD at once, Musk explained the advantages of purchasing the suite outright. The Tesla CEO described the act of buying FSD in one payment as an “investment in the future.”

“I should say, it will still make sense to buy FSD as an option as in our view, buying FSD is an investment in the future,” Musk said during the earnings call. “And we are confident that it is an investment that will pay off to the consumer – to the benefit of the consumer.”

CFO Zachary Kirkhorn agreed with Musk, stating that the economic benefits undoubtedly lie within a one time purchase, and not with spreading payments out over the life of the vehicle. He added, “financially, rolling the upfront purchase of the FSD option into a loan in the vehicle or a lease will be the least expensive plan on a monthly basis to own, plus you preserve the option value of increased value over time.”

While understanding the fact that it will be cheaper to purchase the FSD suite at once in the long run, some drivers may feel more comfortable with paying for the features over time as Tesla continues to develop its technologies. The company recently rolled out a Traffic Light and Stop Sign recognition feature, allowing for navigation through intersections with minimal driver interference. Other features such as inner-city driving and Reverse Summon are still yet to be released.

Tesla announced in early April that the FSD suite would be due for a price increase on July 1, 2020. It is currently unknown how much the price of the driving features will rise, but the last increase, which took place in November 2019 after Smart Summon was released, added $1,000 to the Full Self-Driving suite’s cost.

Tesla set to launch a Full Self-Driving subscription service this year
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