Tesla Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) vs. Full Self Driving (FSD) | Worth It?

It used to be that self-driving cars were only seen in movies set far into the future. But today, Tesla is making this idea a reality with their vehicle-enhanced autopilot (EAP) and full self-driving (FSD) features. But what is the difference between these programs, and can we trust them? 

Tesla is still working on the FSD (Beta) while all features on EAP work without any issues. Enhanced autopilot includes auto park, smart summon, and auto lane change, while full self-driving uses these and traffic and stop sign control, plus autosteer in cities.

The varying features between these programs may sound subtle but have a significant effect on the functionality and automation of the vehicle. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two features, as well as additional information such as the cost, benefits, and concerns regarding each program. 

What Is the Difference Between Enhanced Autopilot and FSD?

The difference between enhanced autopilot and FSD can be seen in the degree of automation in each feature, as well as the price differences between the two. While it’s clear that FSD offers more in terms of hands-off driving, it costs more than twice as much as enhanced autopilot.

The table below demonstrates the differences in features and cost of the two programs:

Enhanced AutopilotFull Self Driving
Enhanced autopilot includes all of the features of both regular autopilot as well as the additional features that come with enhanced autopilotFull self-driving has the features of regular autopilot, enhanced autopilot, and the additional features that come with full self-driving
Enhanced autopilot is far from fully autonomous, and requires human interaction and supervisionFull self-driving is the closest model yet to a completely autonomous vehicle. It still requires active human supervision but considerably less than enhanced autopilot does
Enhanced autopilot serves as a simple “upgrade” from the regular autopilot features all new Teslas are installed withFull self-driving upgrades “two levels” above the regular features of a Tesla
Enhanced autopilot costs about $6,000 Full self-driving costs about $12,000
The prices of enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving are constantly changing. The above prices reflect the latest price changes as of May 2022.

As you can see, while there are some similarities, the automation level of full self-driving reflects major improvements from the enhanced autopilot. But the price difference certainly raises eyebrows as to whether these differences are worth the investment. 

Check out this video for more information on the key differences between the two:

Pro Tip:

If you’re using Navigate on Autopilot and FSD this tip will come in handy. Whenever a lane change is suggested, you can tap on the screen if you don’t want it to make that change. You might fiddle and be in a hurry to touch it on the screen to cancel it. You can circumvent this by just pressing the turn signal in the opposite direction to cancel the lane change that was suggested. This will save you time and allow you to not let your hands off the wheel.

Is Enhanced Autopilot Worth it for $6 000?

Enhanced Autopilot is definitely worth it for $6 000. You’re getting features that currently are working without any issues. The price difference is too extreme for the features that you’re currently getting with FSD. If you’re driving a lot on highways and like lots of techy stuff, this feature will definitely be worth it!

You never quite know with FSD; in terms of when it will come out and how good it will work (if at all). FSD is potentially years away from being perfect.

If you already own a Tesla with an FSD subscription you can still unsubscribe and buy EAP. For new owners; adding $6 000 to the overall price is going to increase your monthly payment by about $90/month (depending on which features you choose).

EAP is not available as a subscription but FSD is available for $199/month.
If you have FSD and switch/ buy Enhanced Autopilot, the FSD subscription will be lowered to $99/month. You can upgrade EAP to FSD at any time. But Tesla might change this in the future.

What does EAP not include?

Traffic lights and stop sign control. That’s pretty much it. LOL!

Tesla Upgrades That You Can Get for $6 000

  • Most expensive paint
  • Upgraded wheels
  • Acceleration boost
  • White Seats

Do All Teslas Have Autopilot? I wrote a similar article that might answer some additional questions you might have if you’re still unsure. Check it out!

Automation Levels of Enhanced Autopilot vs. Full Self Driving

As of now, there is not a single car on the market that is fully automated. With how new the technology is, as well as the constantly updating regulations placed on these vehicles by the government, no car is fully ready to drive without the supervision of a human behind the wheel. 

But they’re getting closer.

When it comes to the automation of different cars, there are actually six stages developed by SAE International (the Society of Automotive Engineers). 

Each of these stages has unique levels of automation and human dependence. The fifth stage is the most automated, and the first stage (called stage 0) is the least automated (and the most reliant on human intervention). 

Even with Tesla’s incredible advancements, they are still only at Stage 2 per the SAE International standards. Though it may be called “full self-driving,” in reality, it’s still very far from that feat. 

Stage 0

Stage 0 reflects a car that has very little if any, automation. Even when some sort of automation is engaged, you are still the one ultimately doing the driving. 

Some examples of stage 0 automated features are: 

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blindspot detectors and warnings
  • Lane departure warnings

As standard, both EAP and FSD include stage 0 features. 

Stage 1

Stage 1 reflects a car with slightly more automation, but the automated functions are still incredibly limited. In stage 1 automation, the driver is still driving and needs to constantly supervise the vehicle’s actions. 

Stage 1 automation will still have the warnings and emergency braking systems in place in stage 0 but may also have more advanced features to accelerate or slow down for safety.

Some examples of stage 1 automated features are:

  • Lane centering technology

OR

  • Adaptive cruise control

Stage 2

Stage 2 automation is the last level in which the driver is still the one doing the driving. Like stage 0 and stage 1, the driver is responsible for supervising the car and may need to do corrective actions; however, the car is doing most of the work. 

Stage 2 automation includes the features of stage 0 and stage 1 but may also have the ability, unlike stage 1, to both speed up and slow down as needed. 

Some features will include both:

  • Lane centering technology

AND

  • Adaptive cruise control

This is the category both Tesla’s enhanced autopilot and full self-driving fall under. 

Stage 3

Stage 3 automation is the first stage in which the driver is not doing the majority of the driving. 

While the driver may still need to supervise the actions of the car, they are not the ones doing most of the driving; rather, they are just along for the ride. There are times in which the vehicle will require the driver to drive, and the car may refuse to drive unless all ideal conditions are met. 

Stage 3’s only unique feature is that it may have what is called a “traffic driver chauffeur.” In this, if the vehicle detects traffic, it will take over for the driver. 

Stage 4

Stage 4 automation is similar to stage 3 in that the driver is doing very little driving, but is different because the vehicle will rarely if ever, require you to take action and drive without the assistance of automation. 

The vehicle can drive itself in most places, in most conditions, but still may require the driver to intervene. Some features of stage 4 automation will include all of the features of lower stages, as well as: 

  • The local driverless taxi system
  • The vehicle may not use steering wheels or pedals

Stage 5

Stage 5 automation is very much the cars of the future we imagine when we think of automated vehicles. These vehicles can drive anywhere, in any condition: be it over a mountain in a snowstorm, or just in a traffic jam in the middle of a city.

This is where Elon Musk intends to take Tesla, but it doesn’t look as though it will be possible any time soon. In addition to technological issues, this would be incredibly difficult to make road-safe and to get approval.

Tesla-Enhanced-Autopilot
Since FSD costs twice as much as EAP, you will need to decide just how much you think you would use the advanced technology and if it’s worth the added cost. Photo by Karthik Sridasyam on Unsplash

Can a Tesla Drive Itself Without a Driver?

Teslas cannot drive without a driver. The autopilot systems, both standard and advanced, are only capable of level 2 automation. That means they can steer, accelerate and decelerate, but a driver must be present to take control in case of an emergency.

Teslas now come with eight cameras around the vehicle that offer 360° of visibility. They also have 12 sensors to back up the cameras, should one be damaged. 

Using these, the car can make suggestions, such as lane changes, but the driver must perform such functions. Therefore, the car is not able to drive on its own.

However, their goal is to create a fully autonomous car that can take you anywhere you need to go without human interaction (other than the initial command).

The Progression of Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot 

Looking online, one of the most common questions regarding the enhanced autopilot features of Teslas seems somewhat confusing: Will Tesla bring back the enhanced autopilot option? 

Reading this article, you might be able to guess that the enhanced autopilot option is once again alive and well, yet this has not always been the case. In fact, over the past few years, Tesla has changed their autopilot options so many times, it has been easy to lose track. 

Today, standard “autopilot” comes with all Tesla models post 2019. This means every new Tesla will carry the autosteer and traffic-aware cruise control, while only those who pay for it will receive the “enhanced” features. 

Originally, the frequent variations to the autopilot plans were due to rapid advances in autonomous driving technology. With the progressive slowdown in autonomous driving tech development, features are becoming more standardized. 

Perhaps fortunately, Tesla has announced its plans to keep enhanced autopilot as an option for the foreseeable future, thus limiting the confusion about if it still exists. 

How Much Does It Cost To Add FSD to Tesla?

With the sticker price of Tesla’s ranging anywhere between $40,000 and over $100,000, it is certainly more than a pretty penny. But, then, when considering paying additional for enhanced autopilot or full self-driving, the price goes up even further. 

Understanding the variation in prices may be helpful to assess which plan is best for you.

It costs around $12,000 to add FSD to your Tesla when you first purchase the car or they now also offer a monthly subscription of just $199 for those not wanting to pay so much out of pocket. This amount includes installation and is constantly changing. Tesla sees tremendous value in the future of autonomous driving and the robo-taxi network.

Though it may seem like a lot of money, having your Tesla pre-equipped with this technology will prevent the need for costly upgrades down the line.

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade From EAP to FSD?

Tesla now allows customers to either pre-purchase enhanced autopilot and full self-driving or to purchase it after already receiving the car. Naturally, choosing an upgrade after the fact will cost you.

It costs around $1,000 to upgrade an older Tesla with the new FSD computer system plus just under $100 a month to upgrade from EAP to FSD. It costs just under $200 to upgrade from the basic autopilot package to FSD.

Some vehicles are eligible for free upgrades, which users can check on their Tesla screens. You need to have either FSD capabilities already purchased or the ​​Autopilot computer 2.0 or 2.5.

Important to note, however, is that as new features are unrolled, the cost of Full Self Driving is likely to increase

Though we are unsure when these new features would be released or how much it would change the price of the full self-driving feature, executives at Tesla said that the increase in price would be noted before actually going into effect, but that it would be well worth it. 

With that in mind, if you’re considering buying a Tesla in the near future, it would be worth investing in the technology before the prices skyrocket. 

Will Tesla Lower the Price of FSD?

Tesla won’t lower the price of FSD because as the technology becomes more advanced, it will cost more to develop and maintain. Although Tesla reduced the price briefly in 2020, as they add to its features, it’s likely that the cost will rise exponentially.

Do Tesla Employees Get Free FSD?

Seeing all of this information regarding the advanced features of both the enhanced autopilot and full self-driving, many of us may be asking ourselves: 

  • Who gets to test these features? 
  • Are new features available to be tested by the public? 
  • If not, how can I sign up to do the testing?

While some testing is available for the general public, most of the testing of these features is actually conducted by Tesla employees.

Tesla employees get free FSD and a number of other new features in their private vehicles for the purpose of testing them. This perk is only available to a couple of hundred people though and not everyone that works there. 

EV Speedy’s Take

When purchasing your Tesla, the idea of installing enhanced autopilot or full self-driving is certainly worth considering.

Though expensive, being able to use these brand new features is incredibly exciting. 


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.