Everyone was expecting this to happen at one point and the impending change is finally here. Tesla will start to charge $9.99 per month for data connectivity from the Tesla owners who purchased their vehicles on or after July 1, 2018.
Last summer, Tesla had announced they were going to introduce new tiers: Standard Connectivity and Premium Connectivity.
Standard Connectivity offers basic maps navigation, music and media over Bluetooth and software updates over Wi-Fi. It will be included on all Tesla cars at no additional cost. The new charged features are bundled into what Tesla calls "Premium Connectivity", which includes satellite-view maps, live traffic visualization, and in-car video streaming services such as Youtube and Netflix.
Owners who purchase the Model S, X, Model 3 with the "premium interior" get a one-year trial of Premium Connectivity after purchasing the car. Owners purchasing a Model 3 with “standard” or “partial premium interior” get a 30-day trial with the purchase of the vehicle.
In summary, all cars, except the base versions of the Model 3, sold before July 2018 have the Premium Connectivity features included for free for the car's lifetime. However, everyone else will have to pay eventually.
It appears that Tesla is concerned about the escalating data cost and drivers are expected to shoulder some of that burden. Obviously, if you can afford a Tesla, you will probably have $120 to spare per year for music and satellite data purposes. Still, this new addition might be rough on some buyer's wallets.
Free access to data features has been a Tesla building stone for Tesla for years; however, this new addition seems to have turned the tables around. Customers will need to add Tesla data costs to their monthly Spotify and Netflix payments and the oncoming days will show how the owners will react.