Tesla: Another Automaker Adding Subscription Packages

Tesla is requiring new buyers to select between two connectivity subscription packages.
Written by Alexandra Maloney
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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Over the last year, we’ve seen many car brands begin to offer subscription packages for select vehicles and markets. BMW began implementing a heated seats fee for drivers outside of the United States, and other car brands have offered different services for a price. 
Tesla
just announced two subscription packages it’ll be offering to their drivers, officially joining the group of automakers forcing customers to pay for services that were once free. 
Jerry
, the
car ownership super app
, looks at Tesla’s new packages. 

What are Tesla’s subscription packages?

Tesla will be requiring new buyers of their vehicles to choose one of two connectivity subscription packages. According to
Kelley Blue Book
, there will be a standard connectivity package that includes Bluetooth for music and streaming, as well as basic navigation. 
However, the basic navigation feature in this package is a bit outdated, and doesn’t use live traffic information. This package will be free for the first eight years, then require drivers to upgrade to the premium connectivity package.
Alternatively, drivers can opt in for the premium connectivity package right away, instead of going eight years with the free standard package. This package starts with a $9.99/month or $99/year fee right away, but includes more updated technology features. 
The premium connectivity package will have in-car WiFi, live traffic navigation updates, and in-car entertainment content provided by Tesla every month, like car karaoke or games on the central touchscreen. 
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Is there any way to get around the subscription packages?

If you’ve ordered a Tesla before July 20, 2022, the new subscription packages will not apply to you, and you’ll have free standard connectivity for the lifetime of the vehicle—but any car ordered after will have to select one of the two connectivity packages. 
If you buy a used vehicle that was originally purchased after July 20, 2022, you’ll get the remainder of the free standard package on the vehicle. If your used vehicle was originally purchased before July 20, 2022, you’ll be grandfathered into the lifetime free package. The packages apply to Tesla Model S, Model X, Model Y, and Model 3. 
As
CNET
points out, although drivers have the option to have standard connectivity for eight years free, after the initial grace period, if you want turn-by-turn directions or music streaming, you’re locked into purchasing the premium connectivity package. Tesla vehicles don’t support technology like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, so there’s really no work around by using your phone in this case. 

Will subscription packages for cars become the new normal?

As
Consumer Reports
notes, Tesla is the fifth automaker to begin implementing subscription packages for drivers, joining BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Cadillac. While right now, it seems like only luxury car brands are utilizing subscription services, industry experts predict it could become standard for all car brands in the future.
Car subscriptions would transform the industry, as it's something that has never been done before. It would force drivers to hand select features they want with their car, potentially compromising things that were once included as standard. 
Beyond that, it would continue monthly or yearly payments to the automaker, even after the car is paid off, to continue using select features. And, car subscription services aren’t the only thing Tesla might begin to start offering
What car features do you think are worth a subscription package?
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