Revolution at Tesla. The standard connectivity service, offered for life to new buyers, will become chargeable.
There are no small savings, especially at Tesla. After having stopped offering its miniature key rings bearing the image of its Model S, the Californian manufacturer will charge for the “standard connectivity” of its electric cars. More specifically, this option, which was previously offered for life to any new owner, will become payable in all Teslas after eight years of use. Eight years is indeed a fairly long period during which some of the owners will no doubt have already sold their Tesla. However, the gesture is symbolic and says a lot about the evolution of the manufacturer’s economic model.
Indeed, you should know that Tesla distinguishes between two types of connectivity options in its vehicles. Standard and premium connectivity. The first was free so far, the second required a subscription. Concretely, standard connectivity includes basic mapping, navigation, and access to music and multimedia content via Bluetooth. Other features such as Internet browser, Netflix, real-time traffic and maps with satellite view are reserved for premium service subscribers (13.99 euros/month). In fact, a majority of users are satisfied with the free version insofar as it includes most of the useful features. Above all, Model 3 and other Model S users have the possibility of using their smartphone in connection sharing to access some of the features limited to high-end connectivity.
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Be that as it may, insofar as Tesla’s OS is particularly closed and is neither compatible with Apple CarPlay nor with Android Auto, this connectivity option offered was the insurance for the owner of have at least navigation at all times.
Returning (again) to one of the advantages offered to its customers, is Tesla changing its economic model? Elon Musk has always indicated that his goal was for the software value of his Teslas to be higher than their material value. In other words, that the OS is more valued than the mechanical part. In this vision, the Tesla OS was to be a global service including both on-board infotainment and autonomous driving. However, by charging for features hitherto included in the purchase, Tesla seems to be borrowing the model of historical manufacturers who plan to charge for certain features on board their vehicles. Like a BMW that monetizes its heated seats option by subscription, would Tesla have felt the good vein, even if it meant denying its founding principles?