Elon Musk Requires ‘FSD’ Demo For Every Prospective Tesla Buyer In North America

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now requiring employees to install and show customers how to use the latest version of the company’s premium driver assistance system, which is marketed as “FSD” or Full Self-Driving, before completing a vehicle delivery in North America, CNBC reported.

“Going forward, it is mandatory in North America to install and activate FSD V12.3.1 and take customers on a short test ride before handing over the car,” Musk wrote in an email to staffers on Monday. “Almost no one actually realizes how well (supervised) FSD actually works. I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement.”

Bloomberg first reported on Musk’s email, which was also viewed by CNBC.

While all new Tesla vehicles have a standard driver assistance system installed called Autopilot, the company’s FSD option costs $199 per month for most customers in North America.

Tesla’s FSD system does not turn cars into autonomous vehicles. According to Tesla owners’ manuals, drivers must remain attentive to the road and ready to steer or brake at any time when using FSD or FSD Beta.

TechCrunch reported Tesla is about to start giving every customer in the U.S. a one-month trial of its $12,000 driver-assistance system, which it calls Full Self-Driving Beta, provided they have a car with the compatible hardware. The company is also reportedly mandating, at CEO Elon Musk’s request, that prospective buyers are given a demo of the software before they purchase a new Tesla.

The full-court press to promote FSD Beta software, an upgraded version of the Autopilot system that comes standard in all Tesla vehicles, is happening at an interesting moment for the company. It’s the end of the first quarter of 2024, and Tesla usually pulls out all the stops — including having executives help deliver cars to customers — to meet or beat its sales goals.

According to TechCrunch, tempting customers with a new incentive could be one way to boost sales, although it could backfire if prospective customers are turned off by Tesla adding extra steps to its usually streamlined buying process.

To enjoy Tesla’s FSD technology, you’d have to pay $12,000 to unlock it on top of what you paid for the car itself. It comes with all of the company’s Autopilot features, as well as the ability to use auto steer on city streets and to activate your vehicle’s capability to identify stop signs and traffic lights so it can automatically slow your vehicle to a stop on approach, Engadget reported

Still, $12,000 is a big chunk of money. If you’re on the fence about shelling out that much, Tesla might be hoping that the demonstration could give you the push you need to make you say yes.

In my opinion, I think it is likely that people who really want to buy a Tesla will attempt to come to come up with the money for the FSD beta software. That said, having to pay $12,000 on top of the Tesla itself, could be difficult for those unable to throw around that amount of money.