Tesla is making conflicting statements about its full self-driving tech
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Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) told a regulator in California that its full self-driving technology might not be ready by the end of the year. However, that statement directly conflicts with what CEO Elon Musk said on the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in January.
Tesla says it won't achieve full self-driving this year
According to Reuters, Tesla's statement about full self-driving not being achieved this year was revealed in a memo by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Musk also contradicted the statement to the California DMV in a tweet, which could draw the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission for potentially making false statements.
On the January earnings call, Musk said he was "highly confident the car will be able to drive itself with reliability in excess of human this year." Tesla also started pushing out a beta version of its full self-driving feature to a limited number of customers and employees in October, and Musk has touted it on Twitter.
In a memo about its March 9 conference call with Tesla, the California DMV stated that Musk's tweet "does not match engineering reality per CJ." The agency noted that the automaker is at Level 2 currently. The CJ mentioned in the memo is Autopilot engineer CJ Moore. "Level 2" refers to a semi-automated driving system that requires a human driver to supervise.
More details on the memo
Legal transparency group PlainSite obtained the memo through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
"Tesla indicated that Elon is extrapolating on the rates of improvement when speaking about L5 capabilities," the memo said. "Tesla couldn't say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year."
"L5" refers to Level 5 self-driving capability. The memo added that Tesla is aware that "the public's misunderstanding about the limits of the technology and its misuse can have tragic consequences." Federal regulators are investigating over 20 crashes involving Tesla vehicles that might have had Autopilot or Full Self-Driving engaged.
Tesla raises prices again
In other Tesla news, the automaker has raised the prices of the Model 3 and Model Y again, bringing the starting price for the least expensive model to $39,500. Tesla updated its online configurator for the vehicles overnight.
Although the automaker would normally raise prices anyway, it has never been as aggressive with price changes as it has been over the last four months. Electrek notes that Tesla reduced Model 3 and Model Y prices in February, only to raise them again in early March. Model 3 prices increased again later that month. Then in April, Tesla raised the prices of the Model 3 and Model Y again two more times.
Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.