Mobile internet connectivity has been a center-point for Tesla‘s electric vehicles since they first hit the scene, and that’s not about to change. But the way it’s being presented is, as is the manner in which it will be paid for.
Starting July 1, customers who order a new Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 will be presented with two connectivity options. According to a sales memo cited by Teslarati and Electrek, the Standard Connectivity package will access the vehicle’s cellular internet for navigation, but that’s about it.
Live traffic data will also be beamed to the routing system, however it won’t show on the map to the end user. Everything else, like internet radio and web browsing, will be accessed via Bluetooth connection from the user’s mobile phone.
Over-the-air updates will be loaded when the vehicle’s in range of a wi-fi connection, though important safety updates will still be pushed via the vehicle’s cellular connection (at the manufacturer’s cost).
Those wanting more will still be able to opt for the Premium Connectivity package, which will include live-traffic visualization, media streaming, web browsing, and over-the-air updates. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but this package is expected to go for about $100 per year.
The kicker is that vehicles purchased before July 1 will continue to receive what’s now bundled under the Premium package for free, for the entire lifetime of the vehicle. That’s a surprising change from Tesla’s previous plan, which was to start charging existing owners after four years beginning with 2014 – which would be right about now.