Opted Out

In March, Tesla started offering its North American customers a free month of its controversial Full Self-Driving (FSD) software.

The misleadingly named package — which doesn't actually allow Teslas to fully drive themselves, but to navigate with close supervision and varying degrees of success — recently got a price cut from a whopping $12,000 down to $8,000.

But according to credit card data obtained by market research firm YipitData, even with the lower price and free demo, the optional add-on is struggling to catch on, with only about two percent of new Tesla owners continuing their FSD membership after the free trial ends.

In other words, the overwhelming majority of the nearly 3,500 users didn't see it as a meaningful value proposition — despite Tesla CEO Elon Musk practically betting the entire company on the success of the feature.

Autopilot Off

Of course, it's still unclear why exactly users are choosing not to opt in. But it's not a stretch to assume the feature's price, nevermind the multiple government investigations and high-profile crashes, played a big role. After all, many competing carmakers offer similar software without charging a massive additional fee or a monthly subscription.

The sample size of just under 3,500 owners is also pretty tiny compared to the 1.8 million users in North America, which means it may not be indicative of a greater trend.

But the stakes for the company are high and Tesla has been pushing the software hard. In March, Musk mandated Tesla employees to install a demo for every customer who buys a car in North America.

The mercurial CEO went as far as to push the feature on other automakers as well, as Quartz reported last month — none of which have so far taken him up on the offer. (Tesla confirmed in January that it hadn't entered into any agreements.)

The dismal sales don't bode well, considering Musk has been doubling down on so-called "self-driving" tech while making major budget cuts across the board, affecting the company's manufacturing operations and charging infrastructure.

To Musk, the future of the company is a "robotaxi" service that relies on autonomous driving tech not unlike FSD. The billionaire has said that the EV maker will show off a "Cybercab" as soon as August.

Whether this billion-dollar bet will pay off in the long run remains to be seen.

More on FSD: Government Says Tesla Autopilot Crashes Have Continued After Patch That Was Supposed to Fix Them

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