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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Tesla puts self-driving option on hiatus

The electric car maker had started selling full self-driving as an $8,000 option in October 2016 but customers have been unable to activate it

Tesla has dropped from its online design studios the option to pay thousands of dollars more for what it called full self-driving. REUTERS
Tesla has dropped from its online design studios the option to pay thousands of dollars more for what it called full self-driving. REUTERS

The self-driving capability that Tesla customers have been able to pay for but not activate for two years is going on hiatus.

The electric-car maker has dropped from its online design studios the option to pay thousands of dollars more for what it called full self-driving, a higher-level feature for its Autopilot system. Chief executive Elon Musk tweeted late Thursday that the feature “was causing too much confusion.”

Also available off menu for a week. Was causing too much confusion.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 18, 2018

Mr Musk, 47, started selling full self-driving as an $8,000 option in October 2016. Tesla then suffered a series of setbacks, including departures of top Autopilot managers and engineers. Owners who paid thousands of dollars for the options filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging they were deceived into buying a feature that didn’t exist.

The option is unlikely to be gone for good. Mr Musk wrote to employees last month that Tesla needed about 100 more employees to join an internal testing programme linked to rolling out the full self-driving capability.

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Any worker who bought a Tesla and agreed to share 300 to 400 hours of driving feedback with the company’s Autopilot team by the end of next year wouldn’t have to pay for full self-driving, or for a premium interior, for a total savings of $13,000, the chief executive wrote in an email obtained by Bloomberg News.