While Elon Musk has been guiding self-driving capabilities by the end of the year, Tesla has been taking a more cautious approach.
Tesla salespeople have been warning buyers of their ‘Full Self-Driving package’ that it could be “very far away” due to regulations.
The option itself was controversial from the beginning when it was introduced with the Autopilot 2.0 hardware in 2016.
At the time, Tesla said that it would release self-driving capability through over-the-air updates after validating the software and having regulatory approval.
Of course, more than two years later and that has yet to happen, but Tesla has always claimed that it is still in the works.
While it’s not available as an option in the configurator, buyers can still order it as an “off-the-menu” item for $5,000.
But Tesla’s inside sales advisors processing the orders have been warning buyers that the activation of the package could still be “very far away”:
“Before I take your order for the FSD, I would like to point out that the legal aspect of Full Self Driving is very far away. Especially in Europe, the USA might be closer to get it legalized.”
Recently, Tesla has been linking the package to its upcoming Hardware 3 Autopilot computer.
People who have ordered the ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ package will get the new computer as a retrofit once it becomes available.
As we recently reported, Tesla is starting to test the new Autopilot Hardware 3 in employee vehicles. The customer rollout is expected to start in the coming months.
But again, the advisors are telling customers ordering the package that it could take “a very long time” even after they get the new hardware:
“So even when we have the hardware ready, and your car would have it, you would most likely not be able to use it for a very long time.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always been saying that the rollout will be dependent on regulatory approval, but he has also recently been saying that “self-driving will encompass all modes of driving by the end of 2019”.
Tesla’s hardware 3 is creating a big incentive for people to order the package, but they really should know that it doesn’t mean that they will have the promised capabilities soon.
This could really become an issue, but I am glad that Tesla is at least taking the time to tell customers that.
I really don’t see the value in ordering it right now unless Tesla provides a clear rollout plan.
As we have previously discussed, the rollout of the new computer is going to be quite difficult. Tesla needs to produce enough of them for the 7,000+ vehicles that it is producing every week and build a backlog for the retrofits.
Maybe Tesla will perform the retrofit based on when you ordered the feature.
In that case, it could make sense since Tesla will likely have to perform hundreds of thousands of retrofits, which will take quite some time.