Tesla Staff Ordered to Demo Full Self-Driving Mode to Buyers

Customers Must Be Given ‘Short Test Ride’
Employee in a Tesla
A Tesla employee sits in the driver's seat of a Tesla in New York showroom. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg News)

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Tesla Inc. staff are now required to install and demonstrate the company’s driver-assistance technology before handing cars over to buyers in North America, a “hard requirement” that CEO Elon Musk says will slow deliveries.

Musk instructed employees to perform a “short test ride” with customers to show the system Tesla markets as Full Self-Driving, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News. Workers also will have to perform checks on any vehicles returned from service.

“I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement,” Musk said, citing unfamiliarity with the Tesla system’s capabilities. “This is very important.”

Tesla and Musk didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The directive shows how Tesla is tightening the reins on technology that is both a significant source of revenue and a magnet for controversy. The automaker has drawn scrutiny over its marketing of features with names such as Full Self-Driving and Autopilot, which could suggest the cars drive themselves despite requiring fully attentive drivers to keep their hands on the wheel.

Musk said in the memo that “almost no one actually realizes how well [supervised] FSD actually works.”

The move also could help justify for buyers the cost of FSD, which Tesla sells for $12,000. The company promises in marketing materials that “your car will be able to drive itself almost anywhere with minimal driver intervention and will continuously improve.”

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