The free data connectivity tier that Tesla now offers may have a significant effect on how its customers use their cars. The basic navigation features added by the Standard Connectivity package will no longer be valid after eight years. These features include no live traffic views or satellite maps and the ability to stream music via Bluetooth (via Electrek).
Although eight years is still a long time to have navigation and Bluetooth, it is one less enticing note for prospective buyers. Tesla’s decision to limit data usage to a set period of time weakens the overall customer experience at a time when automakers are looking for new revenue streams by charging extra for features that were previously free (looking at you, BMW).
Some businesses offer services that are more nuanced than others. The maps in BMWs, for example, can be upgraded for a fee after three years, and the more advanced navigation features (including automatic high beams) require a ConnectedDrive subscription that costs $50 per year. Audi’s premium MMI Navigation Plus service with satellite maps costs $84.99 per month.
Until June 30th, 2018, all Tesla vehicles came with lifetime access to premium data features like streaming music and movies, live security camera feeds, and internet browsing. However, access to these features is now restricted behind a $10 per month Premium Connectivity subscription (or $99 if paid annually). You should give subscriptions, even if just for the FM radio, serious consideration if you plan to keep your new Tesla for at least eight years. Because the automaker has locked down basic features like Bluetooth audio streaming behind a paid subscription for “Standard Connectivity,” and because it has refused to integrate smartphone-connected platforms like Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, there are few alternate connectivity options available. (Though, with some ingenuity, the former is doable.)
Your uncle’s fondness for labelling your car a “computer on wheels” suggests that you’ll want the Premium Connectivity package sooner rather than later. Considering that Teslas seem to increase in price every few months, it’s not a huge sacrifice. Despite the price increases, I think it’s best to wait before committing to a Full Self Driving subscription.
According to Motherboard, a division of Vice, there is now a thriving underground scene of hackers who will, for a price, remove any software restrictions or enable previously inaccessible features in a vehicle. Customer feedback is taken seriously, and we work hard to implement requested improvements. Paul Smith, content marketing specialist at Bimmer Tech, a BMW coding firm, told Motherboard via email, “As long as BMW makes it possible to activate heated seats, we can look at offering it.”
BMW coding shops typically provide two options for customers to obtain updates. Company representatives can travel to customers’ houses to perform the coding in person, or they can access customers’ BMWs remotely. According to Motherboard, some companies only offer remote coding in the United States and Canada.
Among the features that can be programmed are the activation of an alarm when unlocking or locking the vehicle (which is off by default in some regions), the activation of video functions while driving, the removal of the legal notice on the iDrive BMW entertainment and communications system upon startup, the automatic unlocking of doors upon pressing the Stop Button, the automatic closing of windows via the key fob, the automatic opening of windows via the key fob while keeping the sunroof open, automatic humming of the stereo system, An anonymous coder told Motherboard, “When I first started doing this about seven years ago, there were a lot of requests for common comfort features” like using the key fob to open and close windows. One could use the BMW software package to accomplish these tasks.
But now it’s changed a little bit because a lot of the scene has matured,” as programmers have begun hacking the car’s firmware, creating fake certificates to enable paid features, and even developing hardware solutions to enable latent features like BMW’s driver assist system.
Because manufacturers can disable many of these hacks with over-the-air updates, the hackers have responded by providing services to reinstall them. The conflict is heating up, but in the end, corporations have more firepower. Either way, consumers must pay a fee to obtain the desired functionalities. One cracker remarked that subscribers could save themselves the trouble of thinking about whether or not they really needed heated seats by simply paying the fee.
Jason Hughes is well-known among Tesla enthusiasts. Since Tesla’s first production cars left the Fremont factory, this “white hat” hacker has had his sights set on them. Recently, he mentioned to Auto Evolution the existence of a specific 2013 Model S that caught his eye. The initial 60 kWh battery installed when the vehicle was built was upgraded to a larger one during the warranty period. The replacement 90 kWh battery increased the range by 80 miles. Sweet! Tesla service centre technicians even swapped out the “60” emblem on the trunk lid for a “90” emblem.
The car was eventually sold. And resold once more. Another one of the third owner’s MCU flash drives was recalled. After noticing the “90” designation on the trunk lid that Tesla service people had placed there, a helpful technician noticed the battery had been upgraded and installed a software lock that limited the battery’s capacity to 60 kWh when he brought the car in for service.
fter the owner paid the $4,500 fee, the software lock was disabled. Hughes claims that he went public with this case because he is sick of “seeing Tesla derail themselves with this kind of nonsense.”
Tesla has announced that starting with Model S vehicles produced after July 20, 2022, the company will no longer provide free basic connectivity for life. After 8 years, the promotional offer will no longer be valid. After that trial period ends, drivers will be required to pay a subscription fee to continue using basic connectivity features, such as the navigation system.