How expensive are self-driving cars going to be?
From over $100,000 to around half that estimate, here are nine answers to the question, “Do you have a prediction about how expensive self-driving cars will be?”
- $100,000 to $300,000
- $70,000, but Declining to less than $40,000
- Entry Level at $30,000
- $20,000 Over Normal Cars
- Around $50,000, Depending on Competition
- $90,000 to $100,000
- Over $115,000
- 10-20% More Than the Regular Cars
- $55,000 to $60,000
$100,000 to $300,000
The first few waves of self-driving cars will be luxury items, out of reach for most consumers. Much like the initial electric vehicles or specialty vehicles like Teslas, these cars are going to be the first of their kind on the market.
Being first means you can charge what you want since competition is virtually nonexistent. I also imagine the insurance will be astronomical until these vehicles become mainstream and insurance companies have adequate data to assess.
I’d expect self-driving cars will be comparable in price to European sports cars because of their rarity, the specialized maintenance, and the newness of the technology involved. Expect to pay over 100K and up to 300K during the first 5-10 years of availability on the market.
$70,000, but Declining to less than $40,000
Self-driving cars will continue to cost between $70,000 and $100,000 over the next 10 years. The main reason for this is the cost of the technology required to make a car autonomous. These cars require advanced sensors, cameras, and processors, as well as specialized software, which all come at a high cost.
We should expect to see these costs decrease to less than $40,000 after 2030 as the technology improves and economies of scale are achieved. Additionally, as more companies enter the market, competition will drive down prices, making self-driving cars more affordable.
However, it’s important to note that the cost of self-driving cars will also depend on the level of autonomy. Cars with higher levels of autonomy will likely be more expensive than cars with lower levels of autonomy.
Entry Level at $30,000
Self-driving cars are definitely the wave of the future, and we’re seeing estimates of how much they will cost. My prediction is that a typical entry-level model starts at $30,000 and that there will be more expensive models with more features as well.
To be sure, this is a hefty expense, but it’s worth noting that self-driving cars ultimately aim to save you money on fuel, repairs, insurance, and parking tickets. For those who have the budget available for it, self-driving cars may very easily prove themselves to be a reliable long-term investment.
$20,000 Over Normal Cars
Over the next five years, we’ll likely see self-driving cars cost up to $20,000 on top of traditional vehicle prices. With Tesla increasing their driver assistance software costs from $8,000 in 2020 to $12,000 recently, it’s clear that in this phase of development, it costs a lot of money to innovate, test, and deliver reliably to customers.
As technology develops and mass production brings down costs, consumers will see those cost savings, too. By 2033, I believe self-driving cars will only cost $2,000 to $3,000 more than manual cars of a similar make and model.
Around $50,000, Depending on Competition
As with any innovation, the level of competition in the market will be a significant deciding factor for pricing. As we move from core development to peripheral innovation, it’ll all be about that extra edge in terms of safety and reliability.
Players looking at the long-term market will offer lower prices and prefer a larger market share over margins. Others who know innovation depends on revenue will exchange the nuances they provide for higher pricing.
The wider market, however, will be captured by carmakers who cater to the basic demands of consumers. While the 2023 Corsair, at around $40,000, could be setting the bar for affordable self-driven cars, I think the market would still be fair at $50,000 for resilient, dependable, and innovative features.
Even if we continue to measure returns against innovation and safety, I will place my bet on an average cost of $50,000 as a fair starting price for a self-driven machine we can depend on.
$90,000 to $100,000
Like most other groundbreaking innovations in tech, self-driving cars are going to cost an arm and a leg. And you better believe that a self-driving car is primarily a tech innovation rather than an automotive industry novelty.
With that in mind, I’d argue that an entry-level self-driving car will cost as much as a flagship Tesla. That would put it in the $90,000-100,000 price range if we’re comparing it with a standard 2023 Model S.
I’m using Tesla as a comparison, seeing as how the brand’s cars were, technologically speaking, pushing the envelope of the automotive industry. The price likely won’t fluctuate much, at least not in the first decade of self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars could very well be the transportation of the future. As the technology matures, I believe we will see more individuals opt for the self-driving option as their new vehicle. For now, I would venture to say that a fully self-driving car can be purchased for the tune of $115,000 or more depending on the car brand.
While this may become more inexpensive as the technology matures and as more companies create self-driving vehicles of their own, the price of a self-driving car could remain sky-high for quite some time.
Tesla, one of the major brands offering an early edition of a self-driving option, offers Tesla owners the option to purchase the self-driving option besides the price of the vehicle. For now, the purchase of the self-driving option ranges from $12,000 to $15,000 on top of the cost of the vehicle. In total, a brand new self-driving Tesla Model X will be upwards of $120,000. I believe this will be the average price for a long period.
10-20% More Than the Regular Cars
I recently attended a tech summit on self-driving cars, and one topic that was discussed was their cost. There’s no question that this revolutionary technology will come with a hefty price tag, as so many new innovations do.
The overall consensus seemed to be that these self-driving cars would cost up to twice as much as an ordinary car; however, I believe the long-term economic benefits provided by this technology will eventually make them comparable in cost.
My prediction is that within a few years self-driving cars will probably only cost about 10-20% more than regular cars, allowing them to become accessible to a wider audience and thus expanding the possibilities for transportation in the future.
$55,000 to $60,000
Forecasts on how much a self-driving car would cost in the future say that it will be much more expensive than an average car a few years after its release. Some experts even forecast a whopping $200,000 increase per vehicle.
However, depending on how the economy will perform in the next few years, self-driving cars could find an easier transition to the market. I predict it could even be as cheap as the average car by 2030.
Currently, the average price of new cars in the US is around $50,000. So, it might not make sense why self-driving cars would cost only $5,000 to $10,000 more seven years from now. Well, this prediction is strongly based on the decreasing cost of mapping technology autonomous vehicles use.
Some experts believe that the cost of Lidar might drop to $2,000 by 2030. Including the fact that the demand for these vehicles will not be as high as conventional ones seven years from now, I believe that my prediction is reasonable.
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