Home News Opinion: Tesla Full Self-Driving should be transferrable.

Opinion: Tesla Full Self-Driving should be transferrable.

Tesla self driving

One of the great debates among Tesla owners revolves around the company’s Full Self-Driving package. The FSD package adds a range of features to Tesla vehicles. The additions include Summon (and Smart Summon), Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control, Navigate on Autopilot, Autopark, and a promise for a software upgrade for Full Self-Driving when the feature is ready for release. Currently, the beta version of FSD is being tested by a small group of trusted testers. This group is expected to expand in the coming weeks as drivers’ Safety Scores are calculated and reviewed by Tesla, which aims to add only the safest drivers to the program while it’s in the early access beta stage.

For those unfamiliar with the software suite, here’s the rundown. The Summon feature enables drivers to remotely move the vehicle forwards or backward, and automatically open or close a garage door as needed. The later release of Smart Summon enables the vehicles to navigate private roads (think parking lots and driveways) and navigate to the driver on its own. Autopark is exactly what it sounds like- the vehicle can detect parking spots (including parallel) and park itself. Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control enables the vehicles to detect traffic controls while on Autopilot, stopping automatically where appropriate. Navigate on Autopilot, rolled out in 2018, allows the vehicle to automatically make lane changes on the highway to follow your route and pass slower cars, taking exits and navigating interchanges as needed. And, finally, the promise of FSD.

Tesla has said for years that their vehicles would be able to operate fully autonomously but the company has pushed back the expected release date for the software several times. Tesla “Technoking” Elon Musk previously expressed his belief that Tesla would be able to demonstrate full autonomy in 2017. That date was later pushed to 2018, then the end of 2019, and the company now expects the software to be available at the end of this year, 2021. Understandably, this has frustrated some drivers, some of whom have been waiting for the public release of FSD for more than 3 years after purchasing the package.

I asked owners for their opinions on this topic. Most owners argue that, since the full software suite hasn’t been publicly released, they should be able to transfer their FSD purchase to a new Tesla. A few owners explained to me that they’d even be fine with paying a fee – some willing to pay up to $1000 – to allow them to make the transfer. A couple of owners shared that the inability to switch the $10,000 package to a new car is the main reason they haven’t purchased a new Tesla. Many feel cheated; the promised timeline at the time of purchase passed a long time ago, and they feel as though the company hasn’t followed through on its promises. It seems the only ones that want the package to stay with the vehicle, is Tesla themselves.

The counterpoint offered by some is that the new subscription option for FSD – available for $199/month- eliminates this problem. Since the subscription can be canceled at any time, transfers are a non-issue. Though, the cost of the subscription is too high for some. When the package is added upfront, it’s considered part of the purchase price of the vehicle. This means owners that opt for a loan to purchase their Tesla can include that cost in the loan and spread the cost over several years, which is more appealing for owners that plan to keep their vehicle long-term.

My personal opinion is this- for now, while the feature is being tested, Tesla should allow one free transfer of FSD to a new vehicle on their account. After the first transfer, it should stay with the car. This solution would show that the company wants to follow through on the promises made to owners years ago, as well as increasing brand loyalty. However, after the wide release of FSD, it makes sense for it to stick with the vehicle it’s installed on.

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EV enthusiast by day, Twitter addict by night. @nickwhoward on most platforms.