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Tesla owners get a month of the company’s Full Self-Driving Beta for free

Published Mar 26th, 2024 11:41AM EDT

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Buckle up, buckaroos. Every Tesla around you might be driving itself over the next month if Elon Musk has anything to say about it. So, keep an eye on all of those Teslas surrounding you on the highway over the month of April.

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta has been around for years now and has yet to live up to Elon Musk’s age-old promise that you’ll be able to send your vehicle off as a robo-taxi to earn you money. However, the technology has improved over the years, making Musk more confident that the vehicle can drive itself in many scenarios.

While the FSD Beta has improved, it’s still a pretty sizeable investment for anyone who wants to purchase it. An FSD Beta upgrade when buying a Tesla is currently $12,000, an enormous amount of money to spend on the technology considering that the Model 3 now starts at around $39,000. That’s almost a third of the price of the vehicle for a software upgrade.

That’s led a lot of people to recommend skipping the FSD upgrade and instead sticking with the base version of Autopilot which is included with every Tesla. However, Musk seems to want more people to upgrade, so Tesla is now offering a one-month trial for the FSD Beta.

In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), Musk announced that “All US cars that are capable of FSD will be enabled for a one month trial this week.”

So, if you own a Tesla and haven’t yet spent the $12,000 to upgrade to the FSD Beta, you’ll get to experience it for a month to see if you might actually benefit enough to justify the cost.

Obviously, Tesla and Musk are trying to entice more of its owners to upgrade after experiencing the trial. It’s very similar to car dealerships giving you a loaner that is the newer version of the car you own now in an attempt to entice you to upgrade. According to a report from Reuters, “Researcher Troy Teslike said the “FSD take rate” was declining in North America, with about 14% of Tesla customers buying the package in the third quarter of 2022, down from a record high of 53% in the third quarter of 2019.”

Analyst Sam Abuelsamid at Guidehouse Insights said that the move is the “latest in a long-running series of end-of-quarter stunts by Musk intended to boost deliveries and revenues.”

“The combination of substantial price cuts on the vehicles and dramatically lower FSD take rates has severely hurt Tesla’s margins. The mandate to demonstrate FSD as it is today, is just the latest in a long-running series of end-of-quarter stunts by Musk intended to boost deliveries and revenues.”

I’m sure Tesla’s other motivation here is to get more data from its owners. The more vehicles using the FSD Beta, the more data Tesla can receive and use to improve the technology. So, I’m sure there are projected benefits that the company thinks will occur if they are able to increase the sample size of vehicles using the technology.

We’ll have to see if this move boosts the amount of people buying into the FSD Beta. Of course, if you don’t want to shell out $12,000, you can also sign up for a subscription that gets you access for $199 per month.

Interior of the 2024 Tesla Model 3.

Personally, I’m a little concerned about potential safety issues with this move. While the people using the FSD Beta have so far been mostly Tesla diehards who are also really interested in technology, handing it out to literally everyone who owns a compatible Tesla seems like it could cause some safety issues. Does everyone turning this thing on actually know its limitations?

I guess we’ll find out over the next month. Keep an eye on those Teslas in April, people!

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.