Tesla makes odd move and limits Standard Connectivity; will no longer include nav and more after 8 years

By Lennon Cihak
Tesla to limit Standard Connectivity to eight years
Tesla to limit Standard Connectivity to eight years
Tesla

Tesla has stopped offering free unlimited Standard Connectivity for new vehicle orders.

According to Teslarati, vehicle orders placed after July 20, 2022 will include free Standard Connectivity for a period of eight years.

The EV automaker will notify owners when their free Standard Connectivity is about to expire. Tesla’s Connectivity section on their Support page reads:

“All new Tesla vehicles ordered on or before July 20, 2022, will have Standard Connectivity features at no cost for the lifetime of the vehicle (excluding retrofits or upgrades required for any features or services externally supplied to the vehicle - e.g. telecommunications network). As additional features and services become available in the future, you will have the opportunity to upgrade your connectivity plan.”

At $9.99 per month or $99 for a year, Premium Connectivity is worth the upgrade right now.

The contrast between Standard and Premium Connectivity is quite drastic; there aren’t many reasons to argue for staying on Standard. I think the live traffic visualization and music streaming are worth $9.99 alone.

The features included in Premium Connectivity further enhance the vehicle’s features and are important for the full experience of owning a Tesla. Premium Connectivity also includes live traffic visualization, satellite-view maps, video streaming, Caraoke, live Sentry Mode view, and a few others.

“An important part of all Tesla vehicles, further enhancing the driving experience providing access to features that require data usage - including streaming music and media, live traffic visualization, and more,” reads the Tesla Connectivity page on their Support section.

Tesla has yet to say what the price of Standard Connectivity will be since the first cars to expire are still eight years away, but we can speculate it may end up being somewhere around $5/month.

Currently if you do not subscribe to Premium Connectivity, you can still use some of the premium features such as music streaming or watch Netflix if you're connected via a Hotspot or WiFi connection. However, Tesla has added a new footnote to their site that suggests this may not always be the case.

The new footnote reads that items such as music and video streaming, internet browsing, Caraoke and others are "Currently available over Wi-Fi for Standard Connectivity."

It appears that Tesla either has plans to make these features exclusive to Premium Connectivity subscribers or that they're at least leaving the door open to change their minds in the future.

Although Tesla doesn't explicitly call it out on their website, it's expected that you will not need Standard Connectivity to use the Tesla app and that functionality will remain intact with or without Standard Connectivity.

Tesla compares their Standard and Premium Connectivity options
Tesla compares their Standard and Premium Connectivity options
Tesla

The features that will no longer work without Standard Connectivity will include maps, navigation and voice commands. There may be others as well if Tesla adds any new features that require connectivity in the coming years.

Tesla will still include WiFi and cellular connections in the vehicle so that the app and software updates continue to function properly, so this comes across as a small money grab by Tesla.

The actual bandwidth costs for Tesla are very small since Standard Connectivity doesn't feature any bandwidth extensive features. To take away a feature like navigation seems odd, especially since it takes up two-thirds of the screen in a Model 3 or Model Y and the owner has no way to replace the maps with anything else.

It may have been preferred for Tesla to raise the price of their vehicles by a few hundred dollars (assuming Standard Connectivity would cost $5/month or $60/year) rather than reduce the functionality of the vehicle.

Feature Included Standard WiFi / Hotspot Premium
Phone Notifications
Ability to Use Tesla App
Voice Commands
Maps
Navigation
Video Streaming
Caraoke
Music Streaming
Internet Browser
Live Traffic Visualization
Satellite-View Maps
Sentry Mode Live

If we look at this in a slightly different way, it looks like Tesla is essentially going to charge a monthly subscription for the use of its navigation system, which isn't a great look for the leader in car software.

This is one feature I hope Tesla backtracks on.

Tesla's Model 3 Turns 5 Years-Old

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's Model 3 HVAC UI in 2017
Tesla's Model 3 HVAC UI in 2017

Happy Birthday to Tesla’s Model 3. It’s hard to believe that five years ago, just 30 Model 3’s had rolled off the assembly line and been delivered. Now Tesla’s answer to a more affordable vehicle is the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, has been named car of the year, is considered one of the safest vehicles on the planet and has a long waiting list of eager buyers.

It’s a birthday, so we should reminisce about the early days. While this iconic car first appeared on the road in 2017, it was on Elon Musk’s to-do list for over a decade.

Elon Musk talks to Wired Science about the Model 3 in 2006

Years later, as it became more of a reality, the car was given the code name BlueStar. It was to be named the Model E, but Ford had already trademarked the wording. Then Musk turned the E into a 3, but he didn’t want the number; he envisioned 3 lines, similar to the current E in Tesla. But Adidas quashed that, arguing it was too close to that brand’s three stripes. So that’s how the 3 was named.

The Model 3 was supposed to be the smaller, stripped-down version of the Model S to invite more buyers into Tesla and EVs. However, this more affordable, entry-level Tesla holds its own against luxury sedans and even its big sister, the Model S. Tesla has been rolling out several updates throughout the Model 3’s existence, allowing the vehicles to keep up and even pass the Joneses.

In 2019 the Model 3 received a significant software boost when the beta versions of Navigate on Autopilot and Smart Summon were added. Voice commands, a voice keyboard and new language supports were also implemented along with the popular Camp Mode. Once owners posted photos and videos of comfortable beds in the Model 3 with the backseat down, Tesla had to add climate control and a camp fire to complete the experience.

Tesla introduced Dog Mode in Teslas in 2019. In fact, the manufacturer used a Model 3 to unveil the feature to the world. With the help of a sleepy Husky and an excited German Shepherd, Dog Mode was demonstrated to the world on all of Tesla’s social media channels. This made Tesla a must-have for any dog lover!

Also included with the Model 3 in late 2019 and early 2020 was Sentry Mode. This all-encompassing security system records and notifies the owner if anything is happening around or to the Tesla. It’s arguably the most advanced stock vehicle alarm system on the market.

In 2020 the Tesla Toybox was overhauled and updated in all Model 3s. Emissions, sketchpad and many more favorites were revised and made even more fun. But it wasn’t just the games that have been updated; although plenty of games were added over time, Tesla improved it’s maps and dashcam. Later in the year, the Beta version of Full Self Driving was added to all Teslas, including the Model 3. While FSD is still a work in progress, for the system to be available in even the entry-level Model 3 was a big attraction.

A crowd pleaser is the Boombox. This was another addition in 2020 to all models. With the car in park, the boombox blasts music or sound effects through an external speaker. You can even add your own sounds through a USB drive. Perhaps the Boombox should be used by all Model 3 owners to wish their Tesla a happy 5th Birthday!

Elon Musk says Canada could be home to the next Tesla Gigafactory

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla's Fremont Gigafactory
Tesla's Fremont Gigafactory
Tesla

Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla could announce a new factory location later this year at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting. 

During his speech at the shareholder meeting, Elon talked in detail about Tesla's newly opened factories: Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg and Gigafactory Texas. 

During the meeting Elon said that Tesla "might be able to announce another factory location later this year." When Elon asked where the next Gigafactory should be, the crowd shouted out various locations. Elon then said:

"We get a lot of Canada. I am half Canadian, maybe I should?"

This is not the first time Elon hinted that Canada could be home to the next gigafactory.

During an employee meeting in June, Elon confirmed that the company was looking at a new site in North America. During the Q and A, an employee asked a question about the location of the next American Gigafactory.

Musk noted that the company had not confirmed the location, but he said it may not necessarily be in the United States:

"We are looking at sites, but we are considering some site options more broadly in North America, so including Canada and Mexico, and the US as well."

Scaling Production

At the shareholder meeting, Elon told investors that Tesla's next Gigafactory will be one of 10-12 factories the company is planning.

"Ultimately, we'll end up building probably at least 10 or 12 Gigafactories and they will be really big Gigafactories aiming for an average output of 1.5 to 2 million units per factory, which is enormous."

If Canada is home to the next Gigafactory, it would most likely be located somewhere in Ontario's "Golden Horseshoe", Canada's most populated and economically productive region. Alberta could also be a good option considering it has favorable business regulations, cheaper energy costs, including Canada's best solar and wind potential, and its proximity to lithium resources.

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