Tesla will 'substantially' raise the price of its self-driving option

You'll see the first price hike on May 1st.

You might want to act quickly if you're determined to get a Tesla vehicle with self-driving capability. Elon Musk has warned that the price of the Full Self-Driving package will "increase substantially over time," starting with a hike on May 1st. He didn't give a ballpark of his own, but said it would be "something like" the $3,000 suggested by one Twitter follower. It currently costs $5,000 to add the (eventual) full autonomy when ordering a car, and $7,000 if you want it later.

The increase comes on the heels of Tesla making Autopilot standard and won't exactly thrill buyers who can't buy before May. However, there is a reason for the move: Tesla is showing off its next-gen driverless technology, which comes in tandem with a new computer, at an investor meeting on April 22nd. The company appears to have a better sense of the price of autonomy now that it's closer to becoming a practical reality, and it's passing that cost along to newer customers.

There is good news: Tesla still intends to upgrade existing Full Self-Driving buyers to the newer hardware, and Musk expects the upgrades to happen in "a few months." You won't be hosed if you buy a car now -- you might just have to get the feature later than people buying cars with the latest hardware installed at the factory.