Tesla has just announced the upcoming commercialization across the Atlantic of a subscription for an improved version of its autopilot – an offer that the manufacturer has dubbed “complete autonomous driving” – for $ 199 per month, or $ 99 for those who had it. previously from the basic autopilot formula. Full autonomous driving is already available to customers for an initial charge of $ 10,000. The subscription offer simply means that the package can now be more widely available to drivers.
The term is confusing, however, as the car that uses Tesla’s software does not have full control, which suggests that the term “complete” in “fully autonomous driving” conflicts with the language commonly used for talk about autonomous driving, namely an “advanced driving assistance system”. However, the manufacturer describes this experience as complete, indicating that the car will be able to “help” its manufacturer to change lanes, to park, to move in a “restricted space”, with a simple click on the key ring or a touch of the application, or to automatically direct itself towards you.
This is all confusing, as the human driver remains largely in control. “The Autopilot and Full Self-Driving functions currently activated require active supervision of the driver, and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” explains Tesla. “Full range will depend on achieving reliability far superior to that of human drivers, as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience and regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions,” says the constructor.
A more general public offer
Patience is therefore required for aficionados of the brand launched by Elon Musk. “As the autopilot capabilities and full range of Tesla evolve, your car will be continually upgraded through software updates,” Tesla says, without giving a timeline on these. future improvements.
For analyst Pierre Ferragu, of New Street Research, 1.6 million Tesla in circulation are eligible for this offer, which should allow the manufacturer’s vehicles to increase the penetration rate of its autonomous driving offer within the large public … provided you already own a Tesla branded car. According to a note released by the analyst, there could initially be a negative financial impact for Tesla, with users switching from a paid $ 10,000 add-on to a much cheaper subscription offer.
“On a quarterly basis, the net effect will be negative. In the first quarter, it would take about 30 subscribers to compensate for the loss of an initial payer, from a cash flow point of view, ”said the latter. However, “we expect a growing contribution to gross margins,” he notes nonetheless. Assuming 40-80% “penetration” of Tesla customers at some unspecified time in the future. This could increase Tesla’s gross margin by 6 to 11 points, sometimes around 2025, he writes.