Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Elon Musk Sounded Uncertain About Full Self-Driving on Tesla’s Earnings Call

Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik:

Here’s a transcript of the call, at the bit I want to talk about:

Elon Musk: (57:45)

Yeah. It’s like any given the price is going to be wrong. So we’ll just adjust it over time, as we see if the value proposition makes sense to people. I’m not thinking about this a lot right now. We need to make full self-driving work in order for it to be a compelling value proposition.

Tesla has been selling this service for years now, and Elon is saying that for it to be a “compelling value,” the company will “need to make full self-driving work.”

That sure sounds like he’s saying that anyone who has already paid for FSD both does not yet have a system that works, and their purchase was not a “compelling value.”

It sounds to me like Tesla has been treating the ten thousand dollar self-driving option as a sort of Kickstarter for maybe, eventually, making its existing fleet of vehicles fully autonomous. But what happens if Tesla is unable to deliver these future features with the hardware it has sold under the promise of “Full Self-Driving Capability”? How many Tesla owners optioned it now with the hope that it will be compelling value in the future, instead of waiting for that time — when it will likely be more expensive?

Tesla’s approach to autonomous vehicles is full of contradictions. The company calls the feature “Full Self-Driving”, but a car optioned with it does not currently drive itself, and it may never do so. The company keeps raising the cost of the option creating pressure on buyers to spec it now or risk a greater expense if and when Tesla can deliver the promised features, but Musk also says that the option is not yet “compelling”.