Originally published on X Auto.
There is some exciting news for Tesla Model S and Model X owners whose cars were built prior to March 2018 (the infotainment system* in these cars has gone legacy by today’s Tesla standards) — Tesla is offering Model S and X owners the option to update their system to the latest and fastest yet version for a $2,500 fee. (*This infotainment system is also referred to as the Media Control Unit, or MCU.)
The MCU processor in any Tesla vehicle controls the graphics, renderings, maps, video games, music, and center touchscreen UI. It has nothing to do with Autopilot or self-driving features of the car — for that, another supercomputer is installed in a Tesla, the latest version of which is the Hardware 3.0 FSD Computer.
Tesla introduced the latest MCU in 2018, which we covered in detail at the time. This latest MCU is also called MCU2 by the Tesla community, as it has a new graphics computer with more power to render things quickly and smoothly compared to the old MCU1. Now MCU1 owners have the option to upgrade to this new infotainment unit, which some people are trying to confuse with Full Self-Driving (FSD), so I’ll reiterate this is in no way related to FSD — FSD will run just fine on MCU1-equipped cars, but the cool new driving visualizations will not be available on these Teslas.
MCU (infotainment computer) upgrade not recommended imo. Isn’t needed for full self-driving & cost is ~$2k for limited entertainment improvements.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2019
Not true. I've confirmed w/Tesla that MCU1s will run FSD, just differently than MCU2s.
THERE WILL BE NO FREE MCU UPGRADE. This rumor was based on old info, when Engineering was still exploring options. https://t.co/iLc6zuME8z
— bonnienorman.bsky.social (@bonnienorman) March 3, 2020
The Tesla infotainment upgrade will also enhance your Tesla Model S and Model X touchscreen experience. It will be more responsive and smooth, because the entire center touchscreen with the graphics card will be replaced in this upgrade.
To know what software and hardware version a Tesla is running on right now, the owners should go to the newly introduced “Additional Information” tab from the Tesla center touchscreen UI. This will give you an idea of the estimated time left in your turn to be invited for the upgrade by Tesla.
Tesla has listed the following enhancements on its detailed support page that also contains FAQs about this upgrade. It looks like Tesla owners who bought the FSD package will get priority over other owners.
The Tesla support website states the following on the infotainment upgrade program:
Owners of Model S and Model X built March 2018 or earlier will be eligible to purchase an Infotainment Upgrade, enabling access to some of our favorite features like video streaming and an expanded Tesla Arcade, in addition to a more responsive and faster touchscreen experience.
Eligible owners will be invited by email to schedule an appointment to purchase and install the Infotainment Upgrade through Tesla Service. This upgrade is available for $2,500 plus applicable tax including installation. You won’t be able to purchase the upgrade before we notify you that your car is eligible.
Note: Some features enabled by the Infotainment Upgrade require a Premium Connectivity subscription of $9.99 per month plus applicable tax. You may already have Premium Connectivity. Confirm your status in your Tesla Account.
Owners with Full Self-Driving Capability will receive early access to the Infotainment Upgrade and a complimentary upgrade to the Full Self-Driving Computer during their appointment. Purchase Full Self Driving Capability from your Tesla app or Tesla Account to enjoy priority access the Infotainment Upgrade. Learn more about the Full Self-Driving Computer (source).
Featured photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica. Shirt available in CleanTechnica store.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Latest CleanTechnica TV Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.