April 15, 2024

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is requiring employees to install and show customers how to use his company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) driver assistance system before finalizing a delivery in North America.

“Going forward, it is mandatory in North America to install and activate FSD V12.3.1 and take customers on a short test ride before handing over the car,” Musk wrote in an email to staffers on Monday. “Almost no one actually realizes how well (supervised) FSD actually works. I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement.”

In a post Monday on X , Musk added that all U.S. cars capable of using FSD will have the system enabled for a one-month trial, which begins this week.

The Tesla CEO has long touted FSD as a potential source of profits for the electric vehicle maker. The software costs $12,000, or $199 per month through a subscription model.

But he has repeatedly fallen short of his promises of full autonomous driving over the years. The safety and the company’s marketing of the technology have been scrutinized by both federal and state officials.

“I know I’m the boy who cried FSD,” Musk told investors last July. “But man… I think we’ll be better than a human by the end of this year.”

Plus, drivers’ uptake of FSD has been relatively low, and Tesla has tried offering free trials before. In December 2020, Tesla offered 3 months of free FSD to drive up sales. The company has also promised to update FSD every two weeks.

“The mandate to demonstrate FSD as it is today, is just the latest in a long-running series of end-of-quarter stunts by Musk intended to boost deliveries and revenues,” Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid told Reuters.

Tesla stock was up more than 5% shortly after markets opened Tuesday. But shares have declined almost 27% so far this year, making Tesla stock one of the worst performers in the S&P 500.

The electric vehicle maker is widely expected to miss Wall Street’s estimates for revenue and deliveries for the first quarter of 2024, and several analysts have cut their stock price targets.

Tesla “is a growth company with no growth,” Wells Fargo analyst Colin Langan wrote in a note to investors earlier this month. In January, Tesla warned that sales growth would be “notably lower” in 2024.

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