Tesla finally returns Autopilot to second-hand Model S owner


Tesla’s unsolicited removal of additional vehicle features appears to have been resolved, but it’s highlighted a much bigger issue with buying second-hand Teslas from third-party dealers.

Last week, a report from Jalopnik revealed that Tesla surreptitiously removed the Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) and Full Self-Driving (FSD) features from a Model S that was sold second-hand, through a third-party dealer.

On one hand, it looks like a quick attempt to make more money by selling upgrades multiple times on the same vehicle. On the other, it looks like another classic poorly handled Tesla mess-up.

The whole debacle has highlighted a confusing situation for second-hand owners of the EVs.

[Read: Accidental Tesla ‘butt dial’ upgrade highlights confusing future of car maintenance]

So what happened?

There’s a lot to unpack here, so strap in.

The Tesla Model S in question was originally owned by an unnamed individual. However, during the car’s life it developed a known problem with its main control screen where it turns a shade of yellow. Under local California law (Lemon Law) Tesla bought the car back off its original owner. 

As is common in the used car world, Tesla then went on to sell this vehicle at auction on November 15, 2019. A third-party (non-Tesla) dealership called United Traders bought the car, which at the time was equipped with Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, some $8,000 worth of options. Options which no doubt pushed the bids at auction up higher than they would have been otherwise.

tesla, autopilot, self-driving