Tesla is reintroducing Enhanced Autopilot — software that includes some but not all features of the company’s more expensive “Full Self-Driving” semi-autonomous Level 2 suite — for half the price of FSD, based on an update to the EV maker’s website that went live this week.
Tesla brought back Enhanced Autopilot, or EAP, earlier this month for owners in New Zealand and Australia. Someone tweeted at CEO Elon Musk that he should do the same for American Tesla owners 11 days ago, to which he responded “Ok.” It’s quite possible Tesla had always been planning to reintroduce EAP in the States, but this exchange makes him look like a man of the people, who responds positively to criticism. So everyone’s happy!
Now, if you’re confused as to the differences between EAP and FSD, or the cost breakdown, I will warn you: It is convoluted and nebulous, with regular price changes over the past six years. With that said, let’s do our best to make sense of it all.
Back in 2016, Tesla offered owners interested in semi-autonomous driving a choice: “Full Self-Driving,” a feature which at the time cost just $8,000 (it’s up to $12K now) or the stripped-down Enhanced Autopilot, which was a little cheaper at $5K. This was assuming you purchased the software when you took delivery of your Tesla, because the price went up after the fact.
Then in 2019, the EV maker eliminated Enhanced Autopilot, leaving FSD as the only option, while relegating some EAP capabilities — Autosteer and traffic-aware cruise control — to “Basic Autopilot,” which now comes standard. From there, FSD’s price began to steadily rise every few months to where it is presently.
That brings us to today, where Tesla drivers can now choose between EAP at $6K, or FSD for $12K. And here’s how Tesla itself delineates what each can do, via the Model 3's build and price page.
Enhanced Autopilot comes with:
- Navigate on Autopilot
- Auto Lane Change
- Smart Summon
While Full-Self Driving adds:
- All functionality of Basic Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot
- Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control
What this basically means is that semi-autonomous highway driving, including navigation and automatic lane changes, is now available for half what it cost before. Meanwhile, the features necessary for assistance on city streets and public roads still requires the full FSD package, at $12K. It should be said there’s also a monthly subscription option offered for FSD, priced at $199, or $99 if you already have EAP. My head is spinning.
This is where Tesla’s self-driving suite stands at the moment, though who knows if any of this will still be true come August. In October 2020, FSD cost $10K, before rising in price by another $2k less than a year and a half later. Of course, this mirrors a wide-scale price increase across the manufacturer’s range of models as well. And with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now investigating accidents involving the use of Autopilot and FSD, the fact that some of FSD’s features are now available for a markedly lower price might raise a few alarm bells.