Tesla starts pushing its third ‘one-time’ FSD transfer to boost Q3 demand

Tesla’s third instance of its ‘one-time-only’ Full Self-Driving transfer scheme is in full effect now, allowing owners to transfer their purchase of FSD capability to a new vehicle on purchases before August 31.

Tesla is using this as an opportunity to boost demand, rather than doing the right thing by letting owners transfer the still-unreleased software they spent thousands of dollars on.

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. Tesla has said repeatedly that this software would enable its vehicles to drive themselves with nobody in the car.

Those owners can currently use Tesla’s FSD Beta, now called FSD Supervised, but so far it does not drive itself with no human intervention.

And so, owners who trade in their cars to get a new Tesla have wondered why they have to purchase the same software again if the software was never delivered to the previous vehicle in its full promised state. Particularly since 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.

Last year Tesla started allowing FSD transfers – but only for two months, and said it would happen never again. It was seen 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.

After the initial period lapsed, Tesla brought back the FSD transfer this year, allowing it for new orders until the end of Q1. That offer was then extended, meaning that this “one-time amnesty” has already been offered either two or three times by now, depending on how you count it (so, this might be the fourth instance – or at least the fourth quarter in which the program has been available for at least part of it).

After multiple instances of this offering, the question was asked on Tesla’s Q1 call whether FSD transfer could be made permanent, and the answer was a flat “No.”

However, at Tesla’s recent shareholder meeting, the question was again asked if owners could have FSD transfer for “one more quarter,” to which Tesla CEO Elon Musk said “okay, one more quarter.”

Tesla starts advertising its “one more quarter” FSD transfer scheme, available thru Aug 31

Now Tesla has implemented the transfer, and has started to push the scheme on social media and through its customer contacts.

It has actually been active since June 24th – 11 days after Musk said it was a “complex” feature for Tesla’s sales organization to activate. But while the system was quietly activated in June, Tesla is now pushing it harder publicly.

Yesterday, on the first day of its new sales quarter, Tesla North America put out a tweet announcing the program:

And Tesla began sending emails to customers today, encouraging them to trade in their Tesla for a new one before August 31:

Interestingly, the program ends on August 31, rather than September 30, which would be the last day of the quarter. Tesla has a tendency to do end-of-quarter delivery pushes, and will often offer incentives near the end, rather than the beginning of a quarter.

However, lately, Tesla’s sales have faltered, even as other EV sellers continue to grow sales rapidly. So, perhaps Tesla thinks that giving itself more time with this incentive active is better than rushing to make up lost time at the end of the quarter, as it has done in the past.

Electrek’s Take

As I’ve said before: 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, and if customers were required to re-buy it for every piece of hardware they purchase to run it on.

Yes, people can use something that Tesla calls “FSD” right now, and the system is gradually getting better.

But it does not fully drive the car, doesn’t work without intervention, can’t be summoned across country, and can’t be used as a revenue-generating robotaxi (a promise Musk made again at the shareholder meeting).

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.

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. Tesla is acting like a rug store that is perpetually going out of business.

But if Tesla won’t do the right thing, maybe the law will finally force them to follow through on the promises they’ve made. There are currently 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. Stay tuned for the results of those.

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