Telsa, which was expected to start charging for cellular data access in its cars, has pleasantly surprised consumers by announcing that there will no additional charge, as of now, for standard connectivity cell access, though it will be launching a paid premium connectivity package for all its vehicles on or after July 1, 2018.
Back in 2012, Telsa informed drivers, “To further enhance the driver experience, new Model S customers will now receive free data connectivity and Internet radio for four years. As an added benefit to our existing Model S customers, the free four year period starts on January 1, 2014. To be fair to all, in rare cases a customer may be charged for extreme data use.”
Telsa vehicles will still feature navigation with traffic-based routing over cellular, live supercharger usage data and safety updates. All essential components will still be free. Other features, such as the satellite view, live traffic visuals, the web browser, music streaming and non-safety updates will be part of the premium package.
The reported target price is expected to be $100 per year, which is seemingly affordable for Telsa owners. Drivers who purchase a Model 3 with the Premium Interior option, or any Model S or Model X will be given a year of free premium connectivity. Those who already ordered a Tesla (before July 1, 2018) will still have free internet access.
Tesla’s new connectivity packages are seen as one of the company’s strategies to hit profitability by Q3 or Q4 2018. As they expand their portfolio, it has become costly to provide free internet access to its entire fleet. The charge of $100 per year, or $8.34 per month, is still lower than most LTE services for the Apple Watch Series 3, which adds $10 to a mobile phone subscription on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Tesla’s decision to still offer free standard internet access comes on the heels of the bad press the company received recently after a Tesla Model S driven by the husband of actress Mary McCormack caught fire in a Los Angeles last week, and after a driver died after his vehicle crashed while on autopilot back in March. The company has also had to contend with a supposed saboteur. In an email, the entrepreneur said the employee had changed the computer code of the company's manufacturing operating system in an attempt to hinder production. The employee had also reportedly sent extensive highly sensitive company data to third parties.