• Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that he once again expects Full Self-Driving to be available by the end of the year.
  • Even with the global pandemic, Tesla was able to post its first profitable year in its history and unveiled new Model X and Model S vehicles.
  • During the call, Musk discussed the upcoming Cybertruck and also said that Tesla will build a van sometime in the future.

    Tesla has done what some thought wasn’t possible: it had its first profitable year. Of course, some of that profit comes from selling EV credits to other automakers, but the company is still making money. In addition to being in the black, the automaker also introduced new Model S and Model X vehicles, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk pronounced that "2021 is going to be more exciting. I think it’s going to be a great year for Tesla."

    Part of the excitement is an updated proclamation from Musk that Tesla’s long-awaited $10,000 Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature will finally be available out of beta and available to Tesla owners at some point in 2021. CEO Elon Musk had previously promised FSD would be available in 2020 and, before that, in 2019. Part of the reason for the latest delay, according to Musk, is that the whole software stack and the neural net have to learn how to label items via video from all the cameras on the vehicle instead of via individual images from a single camera.

    As for the promised FSD subscription service, during the call Musk said that it would be available in the next month or two. How that would work with a feature that's still in beta was not discussed during the call. The Tesla CEO also reiterated the business proposition of Tesla robotaxis once FSD goes live.

    The FSD subscription option was brought up after Tesla was asked if owners will be able to transfer their FSD purchase from their current vehicle to a new Tesla. It's likely an issue for those who have previously purchased the yet-to-be-released feature and are looking to upgrade to a new Tesla in the near future. Musk's response to the query was, "Unfortunately, we're not considering that at this time."

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    While transferring a feature from car to car seemingly won't be available to Tesla owners, we learned during the call that the company will license its FSD technology to any automaker that wants to pay for it. While more automakers are working on their own self-driving-car technologies, manufacturers partnering to close technology gaps isn't out of the question.

    On the Cybertruck front, Musk said Tesla has finished engineering the vehicle. The CEO also noted that it will be ordering components to build the electric pickup soon, including purchasing an even larger casting machine for the rear end of the truck compared to what it currently uses for the Model Y, which is a 6000-ton machine. The Model X's casting machine will be an 8000-ton behemoth. But while large machines are exciting, they don't speed up the delivery schedule for the vehicle. Musk said, "If we get lucky, we'll be able to do a few deliveries by the end of this year. But I expect volume production in 2022."

    For fans of #VanLife, Musk said that "Tesla is definitely going to make an electric van at some point." What’s keeping the company from doing so now is that it's being limited by battery cell production: the company doesn't have enough batteries to build additional vehicles, according to Musk, and that includes the upcoming commercial Tesla Semi.

    So an EV van is coming, but there's no word on when it'll happen, as Tesla continues to work toward bringing the Cybertruck, Roadster, Semi, and of course, FSD to market.

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