Tesla will make navigation a subscription service for older vehicles

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

  • Until this month, free navigation for life was included in all Tesla vehicles.

  • Now browsing will be free for the first 8 years after purchase before turning into a subscription

  • A similar subscription already existed for premium connectivity, which included navigation and other functions

Owners of older Tesla vehicles will need to pay a monthly subscription to continue using the navigation system when their vehicle is 8 years old.

Until this month, Tesla included the Standard Connectivity Package for free with every vehicle sold. So the navigation system was standard on all Tesla models for the life of the car, but that’s no longer the case.

Indeed, Tesla recently announced that it will turn this group into a subscription service that will require owners to pay a monthly fee to continue to have access to the vehicle’s navigation system.

This change will not be immediate, however, since the automaker will continue to include navigation for free for the first eight years of each vehicle’s life.

This means that most people who buy a Tesla vehicle will not have to pay for this subscription since they trade in their vehicle for another after a few years.

People who buy used Tesla vehicles will be affected, however, because someone buying a five-year-old car will only get three years of free navigation before having to pay each month.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if drivers could use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to display their phone’s navigation on the car’s center display, but Tesla vehicles don’t come with either system.

Additionally, the factory navigation system is required to use the Full Self-Driving option which Tesla says should be available in late 2022, having been pushed back numerous times already.

It won’t be the first time Tesla has turned options into subscriptions since the Premium Connectivity package, which adds an internet browser, Sentry mode and video streaming capabilities to vehicles, already requires owners to pay $9.99 per month or $99 per year in the United States.

As more automakers turn to subscriptions to ensure a steady stream of money from previous customers, this move is not surprising.

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