14 Tesla Owners share their experience with FSD beta.  What they said was surprising!

I asked 14 Tesla owners who use FSD beta three questions,

  • Did you purchase or do you subscribe monthly to FSD beta?
  • What made you decide to use FSD beta?
  • What do you like about FSD beta?

I was surprised at their answers and you will be too! This is one of my longer articles and I hope you’ll take time to enjoy it and even share it with others. It contains many heartwarming stories, among them are Nancy Larson’s, Jonathan Yokley’s and more. Relax and enjoy this good read!

Subscribe vs purchase FSD beta, what is best?

12 Tesla owners I talked to purchased FSD, only one owner subscribes and one received FSD free for being a Tesla employee (surprise!). Tesla says on their website, “You are eligible to enroll regardless of whether you have purchased Tesla Full-Self Driving capabilities with a one-time payment or subscription.” Subscribing to FSD beta is a great way to test it out before purchasing it.

Nancy is extending her ability to move about independently at age 78 and beyond!

Nancy Larson and Easy at 78 uses FSD beta, photo courtesy Nancy Larson

Nancy Larson helps people look forward to being independent longer through her story.  She wrote, 

“In 2016 we traded in our 2014 green Model S for one with the new Autopilot feature as I saw the increased safety it could provide. And when I purchased my silver Model 3 in 2018, it also included FSD in the purchase price because I wanted to follow the advancing technology forward. So when Beta testing began, it felt like one of those rare opportunities to make a contribution to the safety of the whole world through Elon Musk and the Tesla Mission.

As a 78-year-old, I also see a personal benefit by extending my ability to move about independently over time. While using Beta I can see some situations that don’t appear to be solvable with FSD, but for the most part, I am delighted by what my car, Easy, can do. What fun when she displays a new ability or makes what I thought was a mistake that turns out to be the right thing. Supervising her in town with heavy traffic takes extra effort, and being a part of a revolution is never expected to be stress-free.”

James Bond would drive a Tesla

Shawn Ξ s Model Y photo courtesy Shawn Ξ

Shawn Ξ from Granite Bay finds tough routes to challenge FSD beta.  He enjoys contributing to Tesla’s data collection. Shawn explained,

“FSD beta testing is one way every Tesla owner can give back to humanity and support our children’s future. The positive disruptive impact FSD (all Tesla AI) will have on saving lives, via preventable motor vehicle accidents (MVA) has yet to be fully appreciated. Tesla FSD will eliminate the billions of dollars spent on healthcare costs contingent to MVAs.

What I like most about FSD is that it illustrates what mankind is capable of creating. Tesla’s engineers are implementing AI with a discipline focused on safety, prevention, humility, and caution. FSD is the epitome of caution when considering AI. They are showing us that AI can be used to aid mankind and help advance the light of consciousness, instead of controlling it. It’s also really cool. James Bond would drive a Tesla!” 

This Texas Dad will be remembered as a beta tester

Jonathan Yokley uses FSD beta to take his kids to see Starbase, Texas. photo courtesy Jonathan Yokley

Jonathan Yokley of San Antonio Texas knows how important it is to Tesla’s mission to have people testing FSD beta,

“I’ve driven my 2019 Tesla Model 3 for four years and almost 80k miles. I’ve had beta since October 2021 and use it nearly 100% of the time. Prior to that, I used Autopilot and NAVoAP everywhere possible. I could never go back to driving manually.  I use FSD beta nearly 100% of the time I’m driving. I purchased it back when it was $7,000. I’ve had FSD since the 100/99%ers got it back in October of ’22. I wanted to be part of the coming-of-age of autonomous driving. It’s been my way to contributing.”

“One day in the future when all cars are self-driving
my kids will remember their Dad was one of the beta testers.”
Jonathan Yokley, Texas

You’re safer using FSD beta than not using it

Robert McLaughlin purchased FSD to help advance the technology so he can remain independent as he gets older and for the advanced safety features to reduce the risk of getting in an accident. Robert says,

“I love that I can pull out onto my street, dictate a destination, put it in FSD beta, and the majority of the time it will get me to my destination with few or no critical disengagements. A critical disengagement includes the need to take control to prevent an accident or otherwise create a dangerous situation. I also find it necessary to take control to not hold up other cars. The most frequent intervention is hitting the accelerator in certain situations like phantom braking or advancing at an intersection. It has been fascinating to watch the evolution of technology.

With each new software update, FSD beta gets a little better. The visual representation of what the car “sees” gets cleaner and more detailed, and the ride quality is smoother. To really appreciate this technology you need to spend a few months using it. I also like that it has a 5-star safety rating and that it proactively tightens seat belts and pre-deploys the airbags if the software determines that a crash is unavoidable. Only Teslas’ have this capability. So less likely to be in an accident, and less likely to be seriously injured if you are in an accident. This is a significant increase in overall safety. As FSD beta technology keeps improving, the risk of getting into an accident continues to go down.”

FSD beta testing contributes useful data to Tesla

Dirty Tesla enjoys contributing data to Tesla AI team. Image courtesy Dirty Tesla

Dirty Tesla loves to contribute data to Tesla. He uses FSD Beta as much as possible for 95% of off-highway driving. He shares that, 

“Being invited into the FSD beta program as one of the original testers was an honor and opportunity. I felt I had the chance to really do some good by helping feed data to Tesla to improve their self-driving software which would eventually lead to safer roads for everyone. I also love tech and find it all very fascinating. It makes driving fun and interesting.

I do a lot of driving and I enjoy using it to find edge cases and contribute data to Tesla. It also feels like an extra set of eyes while driving. It’s common for FSD Beta to see something that I do not and react to it before I do.”

FSD is underrated

Douglas, a Model 3 owner in New Jersey candidly explained he bought FSD without telling his wife because of the extra safety it provides. He says it’s underrated and unappreciated. It helped him avoid a collision with a deer.  In Douglas’ words, 

“The most dangerous thing that most people do is drive so often that they don’t think about it. I try to talk my friends into Tesla not just because they’re electric but because of the safety. People don’t realize how easily distracted they are even if for a few seconds whenever they’re driving. Obviously, everyone knows that texting and driving is dangerous and so is tinkering with your music stream or whatever.  It only takes a few seconds for someone to drive in front of you unexpectedly or for a pedestrian to cross the road or a deer for that matter.  Tesla FSD literally has your back, front, left and right. 360° coverage.” 

“It’s like having a copilot to watch the road AND having people facing in a big circle around you watching the road on your behalf. It’s an amazing technology that is saving lives and will save many lives. I always say to my friends that the most dangerous thing you do is drive and if you love yourself as I love you my friend and you love your family, then this is something you should seriously consider purchasing.” Douglas, Model 3 owner, New Jersey

FSD beta is safer, acts like a chauffeur and makes driving enjoyable

Arash Malek uses Tesla FSD beta every day. Photo courtesy Arash Malek.

Ryan Cave of North Texas and dad of two used Autopilot daily for 3 years in his Model S and is excited about the future when cars will drive humans. He wrote,

“I can envision the day when those who can’t drive will be given a newfound freedom. Even those who can will be free to use their travel time more productively. Driving is fun, but I like that FSD beta makes driving enjoyable in a different way. It does most of my driving now, and using it is like watching your children learn. You get to see how far it has advanced, and how interventions generally decrease over time. I also feel more relaxed after long drives or commuting in traffic.” 

Chris Barberich of Encinitas, California also told me he’s excited about the future of driverless cars, 

“It’s fun to see the software make progress towards that future. Also, in most situations, I think FSD plus a human observer is safer than a human driver. I like that it’s there in case I want to use it and I can easily turn it on and off. I like that it often notices cars slowing down before I do.”

Dave Smith, a Model X and 3 owner in Arizona told me FSD Beta feels like a chauffeur. He said,

“It does 99.9% of the driving for me and the 0.1% is where I would intervene or take over. Using FSD makes my mind free up to focus on the real emergencies when driving rather than focus on how to keep the car in the lane, where is my next turn or next exit. The fact that it does everything and I just need to supervise saves you from a lot of mental fatigue. This is huge because it increases safety a lot and also you reach your destination without any fatigue from driving.”

Michael Phan agrees, 

“I like that FSD Beta can be my chauffeur. It’s like having a personal assistant ready to take over driving duties as needed. What’s not to like about it? The hybrid mode of FSD Beta driving with a human over-seeing makes me feel like I can keep myself and my family safe in the car while we travel.” 

Michael Phan tests FSD beta, photo courtesy Michael Phan

FSD Beta lets the public see development progress firsthand

Dan Burkland has been using and testing FSD Beta daily since October 2021 across every kind of road and weather condition imaginable in Minnesota. Dan told me his decision to use FSD Beta came from losing friends & family to motor-vehicle accidents that he felt could have been avoided if the proper autonomous driving technology had been active in their vehicles. Dan said,

“I’m a techy at heart and my curiosity peaked when Tesla came on the scene and described their approach to bringing autonomous driving technology to the masses. I recognized the heavy lift something like Autopilot requires not to mention the large operational domain it is expected to excel in. As a result, I wanted to do my part by extensively testing FSD Beta in Minnesota by establishing several test loops and regularly testing FSD against these test loops (in all sorts of weather conditions). 

What I like most about FSD Beta is how the public has the ability to see the development progress firsthand. Confidence in creep behavior, path planning, unprotected left turns, etc. are things that immediately pop out at me when I compare my recent videos against my early 10.2 videos.” 


Tesla owners are closely involved in providing important data to the Tesla AI team and many are motivated by a sense of urgency to help future generations move faster toward a much safer and more autonomous future. When fathers tell me they are thinking of their children’s futures it reminds me of the impression I had when I met Elon Musk at Gigafactory Texas in June 2022. Elon radiates kindness and a strong sense of urgency. He’s kind to the people around him and when he speaks it is with a clear and well-thought-out vision of how we can advance humanity. This article and the people I got to meet through it really touched my heart. We’re in good hands with people like this who care so much about our futures.

Here’s a chart that contains all 14 owners’ responses and I also included myself, since I also love testing FSD beta!

Tesla owners share their opinions about Tesla FSD beta

Special thanks to these Tesla owners for making this article possible! 

Nancy Larsen, @orangewheels2 , Shawn Ξ  @YoumotherFUDer , Jonathan Yokely @yokley_jonathan, Robert McLaughlin or @BulldozerBob, Ryan Cave, https://twitter.com/RyanCaveman , Dino Napoletano @Dr_DinoDMD, Douglas @djohnstonpax

Chris Barberich @cbarberich, Dirty Tesla http://youtube.com/c/dirtytesla

Dan Burkland @dburkland Dan’s Youtube  and Blog – https://dburkland.com, Akshay Jindal https://twitter.com/jindalakshay, Michael Phan https://twitter.com/mpgenchau

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – January 22, 2023. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla (the most American vehicle manufacturer) and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Updated 1/22/23 3:53 pm to correct statement on tax credits. FSD purchase does not impact the tax credit limit, its only added options like paint, etc. that count towards the limit.


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