Even before Tesla has officially introduced their next generation self-driving computer, known as Hardware 4 (HW4), owners have been asking if there is going to be a retrofit to allow them to upgrade to the newest hardware. On the Q4 2022 and full year earnings call, CEO Elon Musk finally put the question to rest.
When responding to the question of a retail investor who asked if there will be “an upgrade path for Hardware 3 cars to Hardware 4,” Musk said that there will be no retrofit, either paid or free, offered for two main reasons.
The first is that there will be no significant difference between how HW3 and HW4 performs in terms of Full Self-Driving. As he has said before, Musk explained that while HW3 will not be as good as HW4, it will still be much safer than a human driver. Musk used the example of HW3 being 200% or 300% safer than a human, whereas HW4 might be 500% to 600% safer.
The other reason is the cost and difficulty of performing a retrofit. According to Musk the cost is “quite significant,” making it not economically feasible to do so. Unfortunately Musk didn’t provide any new details on HW4, but did confirm it will be included on the Cybertruck, which is still on schedule to begin production later this year.
Tesla hasn’t released any official details on HW4, but based on a recent leak from Giga Shanghai we know the number of forward facing cameras is being reduced from 3 to 2, and some new fans and heating elements are being added, presumably to keep the cameras from fogging up. We also know that the cameras are being upgraded from the current 1.2 megapixels to 5 megapixels.
Despite slashing hopes of a HW4 retrofit, Musk did say that HW5 will be coming afterwards, which will no doubt lead to questions of a retrofit once that iteration of Tesla’s self-driving computer arrives to market.
You can listen to the full earnings call below. The video will begin at the point where the HW4 retrofit is discussed.