Tesla appears to be preparing a pay-as-you-go payment model for its self-driving tech.
Tesla appears to be readying a subscription payment plan for its groundbreaking, ever-growing suite of "Full Self-Driving Capability" features, which includes Autopark, Summon, and most recently, Stopping at Traffic Lights and Stop Signs. Historically, the suite has been available to purchase only as an all-inclusive, lump-sum featureset, the price increasing substantially each time a new feature is added, even as existing owners gain access to the new features for free.
Presently, Tesla's Full Self-Driving Capability package costs $7,000, although another price increase is expected this summer as Tesla rolls out Stopping at Traffic Lights and Stop Signs to additional cars in the fleet.
Tesla's plans to introduce a subscription pay model were uncovered by a Tesla hacker who goes by the handle @greentheonly on Twitter. On Tuesday, green tweeted that there's already software code in the Tesla system for a pay-as-you-go subscription plan that has, so far, sat inactive.
The California-based EV manufacturer is likely "waiting for that eventual time when it will make sense."
Tesla's approach to automated vehicle operation has differed from other automakers, eschewing high-tech LiDAR sensors in favor of simple cameras and radar, which has allowed the company to install all the equipment it thinks it will need to eventually enable fully-autonomous driving on tens of thousands of its cars already on the road.
A pay-as-you-go subscription model for Tesla's "Full Self-Driving Capability" suite could make it more palatable for customers none too keen on dropping the better part of ten grand on software, along with providing a tenable pathway for customers on-the-fence to try the system out without having to pay such a big sum.
It's unknown when Tesla might roll out a subscription payment plan for its Full Self-Driving Capability suite, which is available on everything from the aging Tesla Model S sedan to the brand-new Model Y crossover. In their tweet, green said the code for the feature "has been [there] for quite a while," suggesting that customers might still have a bit of a wait ahead of them.