Tesla knocked $500 off a hardware upgrade for its Full Self Driving subscription after customer backlash

Tesla Model 3 Hamburg
A Tesla Model 3 (left) and other Tesla models are on display in a Tesla Service Center in Hamburg. Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Tesla told some owners they needed a hardware upgrade to get a Full Self-Driving subscription.
  • This provoked backlash – Tesla said in 2016 its cars would come with Full Self-Driving hardware.
  • Tesla dropped the cost of the upgrade from $US1,500 ($AU2,032) to $US1,000 ($AU1,355).
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk promised for months to offer a low-cost subscription for Tesla’s pricey Full Self-Driving (FSD) system – on Friday, he finally delivered. It should’ve been a joyous occasion, but many long-time Tesla owners were outraged.

Some Tesla owners were enraged when they saw Tesla wanted to charge $US1,500 ($AU2,032) to upgrade hardware on older models to make them FSD-compatible. The company announced in 2016 all its cars would come with FSD hardware already built in.

Amid the backlash, Tesla on Tuesday dropped the price for upgrading FSD hardware from $US1,500 ($AU2,032) to $US1,000 ($AU1,355), according to screenshots of the Tesla app a Tesla owner shared with Insider. Two screenshots posted on Reddit, and various screenshots on Twitter, showed that the installation cost had dropped to $US1,000 ($AU1,355) for some customers.

Full Self-Driving upgrade screenshot
Full Self-Driving upgrade screenshot Insider

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Tesla announced on Friday that customers could get its FSD software through a $US199 ($AU270) monthly subscription rather than paying $US10,000 ($AU13,549) upfront, which was previously the only way to get FSD. FSD does not make Teslas fully autonomous, and when the company rolled out its most recent beta version of the software earlier this month it warned drivers to stay attentive as it could “do the wrong thing at the worst time.”

FSD is the name Tesla gives to its premium driver-assistance software, above its standard Autopilot feature. Autopilot keeps a car centered in its lane and maintains a steady distance to the car ahead. FSD adds capabilities like letting drivers remotely summon their cars and enabling cars to automatically change lanes.

Tesla did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider on the price reduction.