Tesla’s ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ Back Again After Full-Self Driving Criticism
Owners are questioning if the tech is worth $6,000 as other automakers close the tech gap.
After a three-year hiatus—and complaints from owners that its repeatedly recalled Full-Self Driving (FSD) was simply too expensive to stomach at $12,000—electric automaker Tesla brought its Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) driver assistance package back from the dead.
EAP has become available for U.S. customers to purchase Friday. New and existing Tesla owners can add the option to their car over the air, enabling features like Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, and Summon. There's just one catch: it costs $6,000.
Tesla has a long history of juggling its Autopilot features between different packages. EAP historically has been sold as the stopgap between vanilla Autopilot and Full-Self Driving packages, containing almost every feature of FSD except for Autosteer on City Streets, plus traffic light and stop sign control.
That being said, existing Tesla owners aren't exactly convinced it's a good buy at $6,000, and many aren't jumping at the opportunity to add EAP to their existing vehicles. Many owners on the TeslaMotors subreddit have specifically gawked at the price tag, which has increased by $1,000 since the feature set was last sold in April 2019. Others simply say that the features underperform or lack reliability.
Price was also presumably the reason that EAP has been revived by Tesla.
Last week, a Twitter user told CEO Elon Musk that FSD was simply too expensive at $12,000 and suggested that Tesla bring back EAP as a mid-tier between standard Autopilot and FSD as it had recently done in Australia and some other markets. That's exactly what the automaker did, but its current price tag of $6,000 in the U.S. is significantly higher than its $3,500 ($5,100 AUD) cost in Australia. Tesla is also not currently offering EAP in a subscription model as it does with FSD, which could be hampering adoption by existing owners.
Tesla has felt a bit of a cash squeeze lately. Elon Musk recently said that Tesla's two newest plants in Texas and Germany are burning billions of dollars while trying to stay afloat during parts and battery shortages. Likewise, Covid restrictions at Gigafactory Shanghai haven't exactly been kind to the company's bottom line. And not to mention the various employee-related lawsuits levied against the automaker. EAP may be an outlet for Tesla to rake in some cash amid a tough quarter, but whether it will accomplish that at its current price tag feels like a reach given consumer feedback.