Feature idea: Pay-by-the-week autopilot

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Vendacious

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#1
I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who want to buy a Tesla but have driving needs where buying autopilot doesn't make sense. People who are retired, people like me who have short commutes all on surface streets, etc. I'm sure some of these people will take the occasional road-trip where it would be really useful to have auto-pilot available. So here's my idea: Offer the ability to turn autopilot on for a week at a time via the My Tesla web site or via the Tesla app. Set the price such that turning it on every week for two or three years would equal the cost of buying auto-pilot after purchase ($6000), so roughly $175 to $200 per week. If I was going on a week long road trip I'd pay $175 for autopilot for that week.

If Tesla does this they get some extra revenue from people who wouldn't otherwise buy autopilot. People who can't use auto-pilot enough to justify buying it outright could still get to use an awesome feature of their car for the week or two per year when it would be really useful. Since auto-pilot can already be turned on after purchase the only cost is some software changes to be able to turn it back off again after some length of time and setting up a way via the website or app to enable it.
 

Maevra

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#2
I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who want to buy a Tesla but have driving needs where buying autopilot doesn't make sense. People who are retired, people like me who have short commutes all on surface streets, etc. I'm sure some of these people will take the occasional road-trip where it would be really useful to have auto-pilot available. So here's my idea: Offer the ability to turn autopilot on for a week at a time via the My Tesla web site or via the Tesla app. Set the price such that turning it on every week for two or three years would equal the cost of buying auto-pilot after purchase ($6000), so roughly $175 to $200 per week. If I was going on a week long road trip I'd pay $175 for autopilot for that week.

If Tesla does this they get some extra revenue from people who wouldn't otherwise buy autopilot. People who can't use auto-pilot enough to justify buying it outright could still get to use an awesome feature of their car for the week or two per year when it would be really useful. Since auto-pilot can already be turned on after purchase the only cost is some software changes to be able to turn it back off again after some length of time and setting up a way via the website or app to enable it.
Good idea in theory, but I don't think the logistics and resources needed to make this happen would make much financial sense for Tesla right now. Activating AP IS just flipping a switch on software, but we have to look at the associated long term cost of supporting "AP on demand":

1. Currently AP can only be activated via a phone call to CS, there is no "on/off button" on the car for that. Tesla would have to invest more resources to implement that in the system, not to mention overhaul their systems for tracking and operating the on/off switch per vehicle and on their fleet database.

2. Dealing with customer education and having to explain when/ how/ cost of "AP on demand" would be a concern.
How do they make it clear that it's a limited time option and will go away on XYZ date? (Honey I crashed the Tesla, I forgot AP expired last week!)

3. Troubleshooting issues with customers for AP, especially for folks not familiar with it because they don't use it often, would cause additional strain.

I understand not wanting to pay the 5/6k up front, but don't think it would earn them enough money to support as "pay as you go" option due to the maintenance and support costs. Maybe down the line, but not in the near future.
 

Vendacious

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#3
Good idea in theory, but I don't think the logistics and resources needed to make this happen would make much financial sense for Tesla right now. Activating AP IS just flipping a switch on software, but we have to look at the associated long term cost of supporting "AP on demand":

1. Currently AP can only be activated via a phone call to CS, there is no "on/off button" on the car for that. Tesla would have to invest more resources to implement that in the system, not to mention overhaul their systems for tracking and operating the on/off switch per vehicle and on their fleet database.

2. Dealing with customer education and having to explain when/ how/ cost of "AP on demand" would be a concern.
How do they make it clear that it's a limited time option and will go away on XYZ date? (Honey I crashed the Tesla, I forgot AP expired last week!)

3. Troubleshooting issues with customers for AP, especially for folks not familiar with it because they don't use it often, would cause additional strain.

I understand not wanting to pay the 5/6k up front, but don't think it would earn them enough money to support as "pay as you go" option due to the maintenance and support costs. Maybe down the line, but not in the near future.
#1 is a one time cost and they would clearly need to do some market research to determine whether they'd make enough money from implementing it to make it worthwhile.

#2 I'm sure their clever designers could come up with something there. A full screen message saying "Autopilot has expired!" after expiration that doesn't go away or let you drive until you acknowledge it would fix the "Honey I crashed the Tesla" problem. I was thinking you'd only be able to turn it on for a week at a time anyway, so people wouldn't be likely to forget it was going to stop working soon.

#3 is a fair point and you may be right that the ongoing support costs outweigh any additional revenue they'd gain from this.
 

Maevra

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#4
#1 is a one time cost and they would clearly need to do some market research to determine whether they'd make enough money from implementing it to make it worthwhile.

#2 I'm sure their clever designers could come up with something there. A full screen message saying "Autopilot has expired!" after expiration that doesn't go away or let you drive until you acknowledge it would fix the "Honey I crashed the Tesla" problem. I was thinking you'd only be able to turn it on for a week at a time anyway, so people wouldn't be likely to forget it was going to stop working soon.

#3 is a fair point and you may be right that the ongoing support costs outweigh any additional revenue they'd gain from this.
For #1 we should ask folks how much they'd pay if it'd be an option RIGHT NOW. :) My 2 cents is:

Businesswoman in me says charge people $500 per activation (see, you can have unlimited AP for the cost of 10 weekly activations!).
Customer me says I'd want to pay only $200.
 

garsh

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#5
Good idea in theory, but I don't think the logistics and resources needed to make this happen would make much financial sense for Tesla right now.
I used to make the same argument for why they wouldn't make supercharging pay-per-use.

But they already have the infrastructure in place to allow payments. It really wouldn't take much more effort to add autopilot time periods.