Tesla's Full Self-Driving now costs $15,000, but lawmakers argue it doesn't live up to its name

The price has increased by $3,000, but Tesla's FSD is still a work-in-progress.
Chris Young
Tesla Full Self-Driving
Tesla Full Self-Driving


Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta option now costs a hefty $15,000.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter late last month that it would increase the option's price by $3,000.

As of this week, the change has been made official, meaning anyone selecting the FSD option for their Tesla will have to pay the increased price. Musk mentioned in his August tweet that the previous price would be "honored for orders made before September 5, but delivered later".

Is Tesla's $15,000 FSD offering worth it?

Tesla's Full Self-Driving option is very much a work-in-progress software. In fact, as Business Insider points out, California lawmakers have passed a bill that could make it illegal for the electric vehicle company to continue to call the feature "Full Self-Driving".

That's because it doesn't technically live up to its name, as even Tesla warns that drivers should always be alert and ready to take over should the need arise. The bill was passed primarily over a fear that Tesla's marketing could lull drivers into a false sense of security that could ultimately put them in danger.

In fact, a leaked memo last year showed that even people within Tesla believe Elon Musk has exaggerated the company's autonomous driving capabilities to date. "Elon's tweet does not match engineering reality," the memo read, adding that Tesla is currently at Level 2 autonomy on a scale of 1 to 5. All of this makes Tesla's FSD a hard sell for $15,000, meaning drivers may be better off opting for the company's Enhanced Autopilot feature.

The difference between Tesla's FSD and Enhanced Autopilot

Tesla reintroduced Enhanced Autopilot earlier this year, and the option costs less than half the price of FSD at $6,000. Autopilot is still capable of driving the vehicle on its own, though, as with FSD, drivers are cautioned to remain alert with their hands on the wheel.

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Autopilot can also perform autonomous lane changes, and it has the Smart Summon feature, which allows drivers to call their car from a parked position.

The real change FSD brings to the table is that it allows autonomous driving in smaller lanes and in towns, whereas autopilot is primarily for highways. It also identifies and reacts to traffic lights and stop signs, though one driver found it hard to get around when their car started mistaking a full moon for a yellow traffic light.

The jury's still out on the safety of Tesla's autopilot offerings. While many have posted issues and warnings that their systems have mistaken everyday objects for traffic signs, the occasional impressive video of a Tesla quickly swerving to avoid a collision does suggest autopilot is worth buying into — but don't take your hands off the wheels just yet.

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