You can put a price on innovation--and for Tesla, that price is $8,000.
Elon Musk's announced the cost of the new, fully autonomous self-driving feature on its website late Wednesday. As the Tesla CEO revealed in a conference call with reporters, all of the future vehicles will include hardware required for self-driving. The $8,000 price will be the cost to activate the software.
"This is the first time somebody has put a price--a consumer price--toward what that feature set might cost," Stephanie Brinley, an industry analyst with IHS Markit, told the Wall Street Journal. "It sets a level of expectations."
The announcement on Tesla's website referenced the option of using a vehicle for revenue-producing ride-sharing purposes, a possibility that Musk alluded to in his Master Plan blog post back in July. The automaker seems to be on the verge of creating its own competitor to Uber, Lyft, and other similar companies, in which car owners could use to make money when not using their vehicles.
"Using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing or ride hailing for friends and family is fine," the post on Tesla's site read, "but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year."
The company also revealed that customers who don't want to pay $8,000 for the full self-driving feature can pay $5,000 for an enhanced version of the current Autopilot, which assists but isn't fully autonomous.
Tesla aims to begin producing the fully autonomous vehicles at some point in 2017, after which all the cars it produces will have that capability.