The widespread adoption of software-defined vehicles is a topic of debate within the automotive industry. Some companies, such as BMW, are completely abandoning paid software features and subscription models. On the other hand, Audi believes that consumers desire more software subscriptions and on-demand features.
Tesla, however, seems to be embracing paid software unlocks and subscriptions even more prominently than before.
@greentheonly, a software hacker known on social media, recently revealed that Tesla’s software update 2023.38.8 mentioned a paid unlock for front heated seats. The software update will be applied to the new Tesla Model Y (model year 2024).
2023.38.8 brings us:
2024 base models
MY RWD SR (soft-range limited to 260 mile sit seems)
UI for electronic toll connector interface (needs bluetooth pairing to program)
Front heated seats and heated wipers are turning into paid features (for new cars?)
FCW gets R152 mode
— green (@greentheonly) November 15, 2023
It remains unclear whether Tesla will only charge 2024 Model Y customers for heating their front seats, or whether it will charge the owners of other models as well. It’s also important to note that Tesla has yet to officially confirm the heated seat charge.
If @greentheonly’s information is correct, it would be a foolish move on the part of Tesla. In September, BMW reversed its decision to charge drivers $18 a month for heated front seats after customer backlash. BMW also had to reverse a 2019 decision to charge customers $80 per year to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (technology that is typically free).
EV analyst Julian van der Merwe speculates that Tesla may be trying to lower the base price of the Model Y as a marketing ploy. It will then add numerous fees for basic car functionalities to make the same profits.
@greentheonly’s hack also suggests that regardless of the trim level, the Model Y will have the same battery capacity. However, the standard Model Y RWD will have its battery capacity limited through software. This will allow Tesla to update the software on used Model Ys and then resell the vehicles at a higher price.
Image Source: TESLA CAR WORLD