Tesla will allow ‘one-time’ FSD transfer for one more quarter, says Musk

After repeatedly claiming that Tesla will not allow owners to transfer Full Self-Driving capability to new vehicles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk agreed today that Tesla will allow them to do so for “one more quarter.”

Tesla has been selling its FSD system for many years now, to the point where many early owners have been through multiple vehicles without the software actually being delivered in its full working state.

Those owners are able to use Tesla’s FSD Beta, now called FSD Supervised, but no Tesla owner has yet been able to use an actual full self-driving system that lets the car drive itself with no human intervention.

And so, there has been a constant drumbeat from many of those owners, wondering why they should have to purchase the same software again, when they get a new car, if the software was never delivered from the previous vehicle.

This is particularly tough given that the price of buying FSD now is higher than it was for many of those early owners – though it has gone back down in price recently.

And so, last year Tesla started allowing FSD transfers – but only for two months, and then it would happen never again.

It was seen at the time as a way to stoke demand, rather than an example of Tesla “doing the right thing” and letting owners retain eventual access to the software they paid for but were never delivered.

Then, after that period lapsed, Tesla eventually brought back the FSD transfer this year, allowing it for new orders until the end of Q1. And then, once again, that “one-time offer” was brought back.

But after that, on Tesla’s Q1 quarterly call, the question was asked whether FSD transfer could be made permanent, and the answer was a flat “No.”

However, at today’s shareholder meeting, one questioner once again asked Musk if we could have FSD transfer for “one more quarter,” rather than permanent. Musk hemmed and hawed a little in response, stating that it was “complex” to enable the transfers within Tesla’s sales framework. However, after some back and forth, Musk ended up saying “okay, one more quarter.”

We don’t yet have the details, as this was just announced on stage at the shareholder meeting (which has just finished), but we’ll surely hear some more details soon about how this program will actually work.

Electrek’s Take

We should not have to have this discussion every quarter.

Until FSD is able to follow through on its promise, transfers should be free for anyone who has bought the software.

Any other company that pre-sold software and then refused to deliver it would not be looked kindly upon, particularly if that software was thousands of dollars and many years late.

Yes, people can use something that Tesla calls FSD right now. It is gradually doing a better job and gaining more capabilities. But it does not fully drive the car, doesn’t work without intervention, can’t be summoned across country, can’t be used as a revenue-generating robotaxi (a promise that musk made again today), or any number of other statements that haven’t come to pass. And Musk has repeatedly stated that it will be able to fully drive the car “in about a year” – for many years now.

It’s time to stop stringing owners along. If the problem is difficult, and more difficult than you thought, that’s one thing. But making people buy additional licenses to software you already sold them and did not yet deliver is not acceptable.

Further, this is not about “doing the right thing” for owners. The right thing would be to make transfers permanent until level 5 autonomy is delivered. Even “effective permanence” of continually-rolling offers like this are more about stoking demand during end-of-quarter rushes, making customers think that a limited time offer like some sort of rug store that is perpetually going out of business.

But maybe Tesla owners won’t need to rely on Musk’s “benevolence” to grant them the ability to retain software they’ve pre-purchased a license for for long, as there are several cases in court relating to Tesla’s FSD false advertising that could have sweeping effects on how Tesla sells this software and what rights its owners might have.

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