With Tesla having a variety of different hardware versions including for AP, EAP, FSD, MCU1 and MCU2 and now even which generation of electric motor in the car impacting the features available, the permutations are getting quite big. We try to set out the various permutations and what impacts what.
If you are interested in more technical details of the differences, read about the Technical differences between Tesla hardware versions
Tesla have run two broad versions of autopilot hardware, the original Mobileye version, sometimes known as AP1, and the subsequent Tesla version which was originally called Enhanced Autopilot (EAP), and latterly reduced to just Autopilot (AP) and Full Self Driving (FSD).
AP1 was introduced in early 2015 and is either on or off.
The Tesla system was introduced in late 2016 as EAP which was a cost option with FSD as a further cost option although all cars came with the hardware. This later changed to AP which was a simplified version of the system and which became standard in 2019. Depending on the age of the car and what options were purchased, it may have nothing activated, AP, EAP or FSD. An upgrade to FSD requires AP so if this is not active then this is an additional cost, whereas the upgrade from EAP is discounted to reflect the existing EAP purchase.
To add a little extra confusion, Tesla have also had 3 versions of their hardware on AP/EAP/FSD cars, the original HW2, later revised to HW2.5 which included some additional redundancy to the wiring, and the latest version HW3 also known as the Full Self Driving Computer. There are also other changes, the Model 3, Model Y and facelifted Model S and Model X also include an interior camera although for now, this makes no difference to the operation, and radar was dropped in 2021 from Model 3 and Model Y but seemingly not from the Model S. There is also talk of FSD2 for the Cynertruck
As a broad principal however, AP using the Tesla sensor suite will try and visualise most features, but other than lane keep will only use that information if you have full self-driving. For instance, AP will see a stop sign but you will require FSD for the car to try and stop. The details are changing a little all the time and how some of these things relate to the passive safety systems which may also have influence what will happen.
Tesla have promised to upgrade owners with older versions of the AP hardware (from version 2 onwards) to that needed to run the full self-driving software if the option was purchased. There is some emerging evidence that even the EAP features are now struggling to perform on the early hardware, and Tesla have removed the option to upgrade some early cars to FSD (and as a result get the hardware upgrade from MyTesla. Considering these cars are now up to 3 years old, its unlikely Tesla want to revisit these older cars unless the owners have already purchased the FSD capability such is the increasing cost of the upgrade.
To determine which features a car may have, see our guide to determine which version of autopilot is installed. It's worth noting that just because a car has full self driving hardware, it does not mean the car has the software activated.
While Tesla have been keen to suggest that all cars built since their version of Autopilot came out in late 2016, now known as HW2, would support autopilot and they would offer free upgrades to anyone should they need it, Tesla have started to release features that do not work on all hardware versions, much to the annoyance of some owners although its primarily HW2 owners who are missing out, a double blow for those that bought their car new as they had to wait for nearly a year for any Autopilot features to be delivered.
While Tesla have called HW3 (introduced in mid 2019) the 'FSD hardware', and it is said to have twice the computing power of HW2.5 (which was introduced in 2018), the autopilot features are the same across all versions. What we suspect is happening is the software at times runs out of processing capacity and a situation may not be handled as well under the earlier versions compared to HW3. Tesla are said to still be optimising the code for HW2.5 and we can expect a jump in performance if not features when this happens. The problem Tesla have is maintaining backward comparability as even HW2 were sold as having everything needed for Full Self Driving. While upgrades are taking place for cars who have the FSD option, we suspect the real challenge will be in the performance of regular Autopilot features on cars with lower levels of AP hardware. This seems to be illustrated with HW3 cars being able to see and report cones and not the earlier versions and mixed reactions to cars detecting speed limits depending on AP hardware. Some owners claim AP2.5 cars have seen speed limits, others say not.
To determine which hardware level of autopilot the car has, go to the main menu in the car and select Software. There should be the option to see "Additional vehicle information". Click this and you should see a list of hardware including the Autopilot computer version.
The original electric motors in the MS and MX were called IR and then Infinion but the both of these were fundamentally different to the permanent magnet motor (PMSRM) in the Model 3. There are pro's and con's of both but Tesla decided to move the MS and MX over to the new PMSRM motor in 2019 as part of the 'Raven' update. It's believed the rear motor in the performance MS and MX is still of the older type with just the front motor changing to the PMSRM motor, with the non-performance versions having both motors changed over. As a result of the different technology, some new features are only available on these later cars.
To determine which motors the car has the car has, go to the main menu in the car and select Software. There should be the option to see "Additional vehicle information". Click this and you should see the motors type the car has
Tesla have had a number of MCUs over the years. With the exception of very early screens, there is MCU1 which was used up until the MCU2 launch in March 2018. The MCU2 which has been in production since then although be mindful that this is production date and not delivery date, and that Tesla do not build in strict VIN order. The MCU is totally separate to the autopilot hardware and the performance of one is not dependant on the other. The table below refers to European cars once they have V10 installed, although the results are correct in most countries. While not strictly accurate, MCU2 and the M3 screen system have the same features.
To determine the version of MCU a car has you can use the more information feature on the Software screen within the car.
To determine which MCU the car has, go to the main menu in the car and select Software. There should be the option to see "Additional vehicle information". Click this and if you see against Infotainment processor "NVIDIA Tegra" the car has MCU1. If it says something else like "Atom" it has the later MCU2.