For Tesla disciples, seemingly part of the EV maker’s appeal is that it’s unlike all of the legacy automakers, particularly its maverick CEO Elon Musk doing things – with apologies to Frank Sinatra – his way.
However, Musk isn’t adverse from borrowing a “good” idea from his non-electrified competition from time to time, including offering a special deal to bolster end of the year sales. While most automakers offer special financing or big rebates.
Musk isn’t offering either, but what he is offering may be more valuable than any financing: free full-self driving for three months.
“All Tesla cars delivered in the final three days of the year will get three months of the Full Self-Driving option for free. Delivery & docs must be fully complete by midnight Dec 31st,” he tweeted recently.
Musk has been pitching full self-driving mode for years, raising the price of the option from $5,000 to $7,000 and then $8,000 before warning it would jump to $10K. The current iteration of the technology is in the beta testing phase with at least hundreds of loyal Tesla owners, who are collecting data to help the company improve the technology.
If you’re looking to make one last big purchase in 2020, here’s what you get with free full self-driving:
- Navigate on Autopilot: automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars.
- Auto Lane Change: automatic lane changes while driving on the highway.
- Autopark: both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
- Summon: your parked car will come find you anywhere in a parking lot. Really.
- Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: assisted stops at traffic controlled intersections.
The push because Musk is looking to hit the 500,000 sales target he told analysts, investors and journalists was still within reach at the company’s last earnings call. He told employees that it’s still possible, but they will need to “go all out” in the final days of 2020 to make it happen.
In the past, Musk has offered enticements like free Supercharging or he’s even lowered prices to help generate sales.
Separately, the EV maker inked a new deal with China’s Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group Co. Ltd., which will supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide to the EV maker the next five years. The company’s new deal highlights the need for lithium to produce batteries.
It also sources it from Ganfeng Lithium, a top producer of the material. The deal has a value ranging from $630 million to $880 million, depending upon how of lithium it procures from the company. Daiwa Capital Markets told Reuters that translates to 63,000 to 88,000 tons during the lifetime of the contract.