Musk Reads: Tesla rolls out full self-driving beta

Tesla starts rolling out a beta of its driving software and the lineup gets a big update. Chrome delete?

A man sleeps while his car is driven by an autopilot. Self driving vehicle concept

Tesla starts rolling out a beta of its driving software and the lineup gets a big update. Chrome delete? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #212.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“FSD beta rollout happening tonight. Will be extremely slow & cautious, as it should.”


Tesla is rolling out its full self-driving beta this week, Musk announced on his Twitter page Tuesday. The highly anticipated software update is expected to offer a dramatic improvement that Musk claimed this month could even offer “zero intervention drives.” Expectations are high, but Tesla appears to be focusing on a limited rollout to what Musk describes as “expert & careful drivers.”

The update is set to offer a vast rewrite of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system, designed to one day offer full point-to-point autonomous rides. The rewrite is expected to cover the long-awaited “4D” approach, which is taken to mean that the system analyzes videos over time instead of flat images individually. In August, Musk described the rewrite as a “quantum leap,” adding that an early version could take him from his house to work with “almost…zero interventions.”

The proof will be in the product, but Tesla’s extremely cautious approach could mean that hands-on experiences are few and far between.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla hosted its third-quarter 2020 earnings call at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, October 21. The call is available for replay at this link.

In other Musk news…

Tesla has made several changes to its product lineup. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Model S price has been reduced to $69,420. Read more.
  • The Model 3 has a new internal design. It offers chrome delete on the outside, a new power trunk, tweaked accents, and redesigned wheels. The Standard Range Plus has gone from 250 miles of range to 263 miles, the Long Range Dual Motor from 322 miles to 353 miles, and the Performance version from 299 miles to 315 miles.
  • The Model X’s range has been boosted from 351 miles to 371 miles.
  • The Model Y Long Range can now travel 325 miles per charge, up from 316 miles, while the Performance version has gone from 299 miles to 315 miles.

Curious to see how a Tesla Solar Roof comes together? A 4,000-square-foot roof, completed by Weddle and Sons Roofing in Kansas, was installed in just four days. Weddle and Sons is one of a handful of firms that have received official certification to install the energy-harvesting roof. Read more.

Tesla is tweaking its production output. The Giga Shanghai factory will now ship cars to more than 10 European countries, Reuters reports. The facility aims to produce 150,000 cars this year.

Musk Reads mailroom

Robert Patrick writes:

Just read the comments on chrome “for the old guys”… I’m 76 and had some of that “stuff” over the years… it causes rust and when spoiled must be completely replaced! When customizing, we always reduced the chrome to make the car/truck look MORE expensive!!! Your other readers come from a different paradigm! Don’t fix what ain’t broken!

For those who don’t want to pay the extra to chrome delete after, Tesla’s new decision could prove pretty popular!

Paul Davis writes:

I would like to start a Tesla dealership. Could you give me any information on how to start a Tesla dealership.

It’s unfortunately unlikely – Tesla is different in that it directly operates its own stores. It doesn’t work with third-party dealerships, an issue that has caused it to be locked out of sales in some states. In a 2012 blog post explaining the decision, Musk wrote:

“Existing franchise dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between selling gasoline cars, which constitute the vast majority of their business, and selling the new technology of electric cars. It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business. This would leave the electric car without a fair opportunity to make its case to an unfamiliar public.”

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to

Photo of the week

Reader Mat Ward suggested this week’s photo, courtesy of Business Insider, which shows a Tesla Model 3 given a muscular upgrade courtesy of Startech.

Tesla Model 3.


Got a photo or video you’d like to see featured? Send it over to!

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #212, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

What did you think of today’s stories? Hit reply to this email to let us know. Thanks for reading!

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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