Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly said that solving the self-driving problem is the key to determining how much Tesla is worth.
Tesla shares have taken a major hit since Musk announced his acquisition of Twitter. Despite its tough market position in the past few months, Tesla remains one of the world's highest market cap companies with a market capitalization of nearly $700 billion.
Musk said in an interview this week about Tesla's efforts on the software side, "The key is whether or not we can achieve fully autonomous driving, which will determine whether Tesla is very valuable or worthless." But he has always believed the company would achieve fully autonomous driving.
Tesla is currently developing self-driving technology through its Fully Self-Driving Beta (FSD Beta) program. Tesla has been selling an FSD kit (which includes some self-driving assistance features) that costs up to $12,000 and promises that Tesla will implement self-driving capabilities through future software updates.
It remains unclear when Tesla will deliver on the promise of Autopilot. Recently, Elon Musk changed Tesla's goal to having 1 million people in the FSD Beta program by the end of this year. However, FSD Beta requires constant monitoring by the driver and also requires the driver to be ready to take over control, so FSD Beta is not a fully autonomous driving system.
With many seriously questioning Tesla's ability to deliver on its self-driving promises, there is a growing belief that Tesla needs to upgrade its hardware before it can offer a true self-driving system through a software update.
Electrek believes that if Tesla is able to install Autopilot on all Tesla cars produced since 2016 as it has promised, it will add hundreds of billions of dollars to its customer fleet and significantly increase the value of every car it currently produces.
But there are others who disagree with Musk and argue that Tesla already has a very profitable business - selling electric cars.
Electrek believes that FSDs are a challenge that Tesla must overcome because the company has been promising to sell FSDs to its customers. if Tesla fails to deliver on those promises, or keeps delaying them, the company could pay the price.