It’s not as bad as it sounds, but the timing is a little questionable

You have to give Tesla some credit. In the face of all the scrutiny surrounding its Autopilot feature, the EV car manufacturer still understands that it’s in the business game and that game is all about making money. So while the company’s announcement of a new 100 kWh battery pack for the Model S and Model X P100D variants understandably grabbed the headlines, Tesla managed to also increase the price of the Autopilot feature from right under our noses.

Whereas the price for the Autopilot system amounted to $2,500 before or $3,000 to be enabled after delivery of the car, Tesla has increased the number to $3,000 and $3,500, respectively. Apparently, the price increase isn’t because of the new sensors that Tesla is reportedly adding for the second-gen version of the system. According to Electrek, a Tesla spokesperson referred to the price increase as nothing more than a “better reflection” of the system’s actual value.

Whether that is the case or not, the timing of the increase is curious given the rash of negative publicity that has been attributed to the Autopilot system. One would think that Tesla would try to keep a low profile on the feature until it sorts out the quirks, thus having a better justification for a price increase. But the company opted to do it now. Similar features aren’t exactly popping up everywhere these days so while the field is still relatively barren compared to what it’s going to be in a few years, a $500 increase isn’t that big of a deal for customers who have spent or are willing to spend north of $60,000 on either a Model S or a Model X.

Skeptics can criticize all they want; at the end of the day, Tesla is still in the money-making business and this 20-percent increase in the price of the Autopilot feature should be a good source of extra revenues for Elon Musk and company. Now about making the system safer for its drivers...

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

It’s no secret a lot of people aren’t as enthusiastic about Tesla’s Autopilot system as the company would like. That’s something that needs to be addressed, but it shouldn’t stop Tesla from making any price adjustments it feels are warranted.

Another important aspect about this subtle announcement is the expectation that Tesla could increase the price of the Autopilot feature again at some point in the future. The company has made no comments on that regard, but given that the price increase happened before the reported hardware and software upgrades attributed to the second-generation Autopilot system, expect another price hike to happen down the road. The only question is when.

Source: Electrek

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