Why Tesla Stock Took Off Today

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What happened

Full self-driving is here (kind of), and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock is up 3.4% as of 10:55 a.m. EDT.

On midnight Friday, the electric vehicle pioneer began sending out over-the-air software updates upgrading thousands of Tesla owners who had paid in advance for Full Self Driving (FSD) capability to version 9 of the beta feature.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

It’s been a long wait. CEO Elon Musk has been promising that Tesla would roll out version 9 since 2018, immediately creating “over a million cars” with essentially autonomous driving capability — so it’s clear why this news has investors excited. Early reviewers of the new software report that “driving visualization” [has received] a massive improvement,” while the verdict on “actual driving behavior” is not yet in.  

And many Tesla owners may have to wait a bit longer to take FSD for a spin.

As industry site Electrek reports, the new version of the software relies on Tesla Vision for its guidance, driving based on camera readings rather than a mix of cameras and radar. The company is warning, however, that the software “may do the wrong thing at the worst time,” and that drivers using the feature “must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention on the road.” While monitoring how the software performs in the real world, therefore, Tesla is limiting the rollout to just “early limited access Beta” distribution — meaning not everyone who has paid for FSD will get it immediately.  

Now what

What does it mean for investors? Elon Musk has finally delivered on his promise. As is often the case, he took a bit longer to deliver than initially promised — but as is often also the case, he did eventually deliver.

Now, we need to see if this version was worth the wait. The better the autonomous driving software turns out to be, the more willing folks — who have hesitated up till now to pay $10,000 to buy it — will become. And that will mean more money in Tesla’s pocket, and more profits for Tesla shareholders.

Indeed, if rumors that Tesla is planning to raise the price on FSD to $14,000 turn out to be true, the arrival of FSD could be just the thing needed to keep Tesla’s stock price moving higher.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.