Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta Now Costs $15,000: Here's Why

Software updates bring new capability and, with it, justification for a higher price.

Driving the Tesla Model Y on Interstate 5 in Coalinga, CaliforniaKeiron Berndt | Capital One

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Tesla has raised the price of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature set again, this time to $15,000. The increase follows several others, including one just months ago, when the cost rose from $10,000 to $12,000. This latest hike is tied to a software update (FSD Beta 10.69.2), which improves overall driving smoothness through turns, enhances pedestrian and animal detection, and enables a creep-into-intersection function.

What Is Tesla Full Self-Driving?

Full Self-Driving is Tesla’s disingenuously named suite of advanced driver-assistance features. Currently, it includes all the functionality of Basic and Enhanced Autopilot, plus the ability to slow the vehicle to a stop as it approaches red traffic signals and signs.

If you see little importance or utility in the last of those things, you can still get the bulk of Tesla’s magic with Enhanced Autopilot. It costs a relative bargain, at $6,000, and gives your vehicle the ability to park itself and navigate a highway route from on-ramp to off-ramp (including automatic lane changes) with minimal driver involvement. It also includes Summon, which allows the driver to direct a car into or out of a tight parking space while standing outside the vehicle, and Smart Summon, which enables the vehicle to wind its way around objects (such as in a parking lot) to meet the driver.

How Tesla Sells FSD

Tesla treats FSD buyers as beta testers who pay to use the product and share their data with the company so it can work out the kinks. It’s an unconventional (and controversial) approach to vehicle testing, but nonetheless popular. So far, roughly 100,000 Tesla owners have paid for FSD, either with a lump sum as part of the purchase price of their vehicles or via a monthly subscription ($99 for those with Enhanced Autopilot, $199 for those without). Anyone who decides to buy the system outright doesn’t have to pay for future updates.

Tesla Full Self-Driving Competition

Despite the name, Full Self-Driving does not mean the vehicle can drive itself. It is a Level 2 system and, therefore, requires active driver supervision. Currently, only Tesla offers Smart Summon and traffic-light and stop-sign control, but other manufacturers provide superior highway driving systems. In fact, GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise allow for hands-free operation in certain circumstances, which FSD does not. They also cost significantly less. On various Cadillacs, Super Cruise is a $2,500 option or a $25 monthly subscription. BlueCruise goes for even less; it’s $1,900 on the base Mustang Mach-E, for instance.

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Mike Hagerty
Sorting through the hundreds of new car, truck and SUV choices on the market to find the right one for your needs gets tougher all the time. I’m here to help. I’ve been writing and talking about new vehicles for 25 years on TV and radio, in print and online. And my passion for cars and driving goes back even farther than that. I love design and performance, but the second-largest purchase most of us will ever make (for some of us, the largest) needs to be based on more than good looks and quick zero-to-60 times.