Tesla has a massive problem with the promises it makes: people remember them. If reminding them was not enough, some of these promises are written down so that customers can be sure they were made at some point.
On October 19, 2016, the company said all its cars had full self-driving hardware from that point on. Elon Musk made a similar promise on April 22, 2019, when he announced HW 3.0. This computer would replace the HW 2.5 that would be enough for autonomous vehicles in 2016. With the FSD subscription program, the EV manufacturer is also charging $1,500 to give cars the proper computers – which owners thought they already had.
If Tesla charged this fee solely from cars made before October 19, 2016, that would not be an issue. After all, these vehicles did not have the hardware necessary for the task. However, a Reddit post made public by Electrek shows Tesla is also charging the $1,500 from people that supposed they already had all they needed. And it is not the first time.
After Musk promised all cars would have HW 3.0 instead of HW 2.5, multiple customers received cars with HW 2.5. In China, Tesla clients sued the company for getting vehicles with the old hardware. The company said it was an issue with suppliers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the Chinese government did not swallow that excuse and demanded that Tesla kept “production consistency and product quality and safety.”
All Tesla cars being built today have the hardware necessary for full self-driving:
8 vision cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, radar, and this custom-designed beast of a Full Self-Driving Computer pic.twitter.com/jYMAhB5Ooc
— Tesla (@Tesla) April 23, 2019
Buyers in other countries such as Canada did not have a government backup and are trying to solve the matter on their own. In March 2020, they were considering suing Tesla to get what they were told they would have, but we have no idea if they took the company to courts or not.
This new fee shows Tesla is indeed a unique company. While other automakers perform extensive professional testing to try to offer mature services and equipment to their customers, Tesla receives money from clients who pay to develop beta software with legal disclaimers stating it is all their fault if anything goes wrong. Now, the company also wants to charge for something its EVs were already supposed to have. In this case, it seems people are not accepting that as peacefully as before.