Within the same 24 hours, the firm has defied sales expectations with record numbers, as well as rolling out an experimental beta for a “Full Self-Driving” mode, given to select customers in preparation for a fleet-wide update planned later this year.
Tesla sold nearly 320,000 cars this year alone, despite the effects of the pandemic, and reported $8.7bn in revenue across the three months leading up to September 2020. For those of you keeping score, that marks its fifth quarter in a row of increased profit, an increase in deliveries of 54% over the previous quarter, a 44% year-on-year improvement, and most importantly (we double-checked the maths on this one) a metric buttload of money for Elon Musk.
It’s a bizarre victory, considering the circumstances. Most automakers are struggling considering the current economic and sociological effects of COVID-19, because… well, if nobody’s allowed to go anywhere, why invest in travel? Admittedly, they’ve yet to meet their stated goal of selling half a million cars in 2020, but considering the year isn’t over yet and reality is melting around us, they’re doing surprisingly well.
And if that weren’t enough to be getting on with, Tesla also released a beta for their Full-Self Driving mode (or FSD for short), albeit to a very small and select list of clientele/sympathetic journalists. If the update works, it means that cars will practically be able to drive themselves, though those with the beta tweeted pictures of a very frantic Terms and Conditions page that told drivers not to relax for even a second, lest their Tesla suddenly get confused and try to ford a nearby river.
Musk originally stated that he wanted a fleet-wide version of this tech out before the end of the year, though recent tweets have said that progress will be “extremely slow and cautious, as it should”, suggesting that we all might have to wait a little longer before we can have A.I. chauffeur us around.