Is Tesla Seriously Going To Start Charging For Heated Seats?

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Helpful hacker “Green” has uncovered more new Tesla code in a software update. Perhaps most notably, it appears that Tesla is preparing to charge drivers to activate the heated seats feature — not just for the rear seats (already a thing) but for the front seats.

This seems a bit much. While carmakers have made money on extra features for decades, there are some features that have become standard or are standard at different levels or car classes. No one has to pay extra for automatic windows any more, or for a radio. Heated seats are clearly something that have cost extra in recent decades, but at certain car classes, they are expected. Tesla has always been seen as a high-tech, premium-class automaker. As part of that, it’s only sensible to me that heated front seats should be part of the package. Starting to charge — whether a one-time flat fee or a monthly subscription cost — for heated seats feels scammy to me. It also lends credence to the argument that Tesla is going down-class to the detriment of its brand. Is charging extra for heated seats going to be make or break for how people view Tesla and whether they get a Tesla, a Mercedes, a BMW, or a Volkswagen? I don’t know, but I don’t think it will help the company make its case.

As we saw recently, BMW tried out this exact same extra charge. (Want to be warm in winter? Pay extra, on top of the premium you’re already paying.) There was a mild uproar about this and BMW dropped the heated seat subscription cost. Is Tesla really going to follow BMW down a dirty tunnel that BMW just pulled itself out of?

Maybe Tesla will next charge for the defrost function?

Oh yeah, and the code also suggests that Tesla will charge extra — presumably via an optional software upgrade — for heated windshield wipers. Seriously.

Is Tesla just trying to squeeze customers to make more profits? Seemingly, yes.

Note that we don’t know yet for sure if Tesla will implement these extra charges, and, if so, which model versions the extra cost will apply to. Will the Tesla Model 3 Long Range get heated seats by default? Will you have to pay extra for them when owning/buying any Model 3 or Model Y? Will the extra charges only apply to people who bought the base Model 3 or Model Y? We’ll find out sooner or later, but not today.

Another coming feature based on the new code “Green” uncovered seems to be some electronic toll connector option. [wpdiscuz-feedback id=”3s1gk5ahxo” question=”Do you know with certainty what this is about?” opened=”0″]I’m not clear what this is[/wpdiscuz-feedback], but I think, in theory, your Tesla account could automatically pay tolls for you when you are driving on toll roads. Maybe?

Last but not least, the new software code implies that the Model Y has the same capacity battery no matter what the trim level, but that the standard Model Y RWD will be software limited to a lower capacity. Tesla has deployed this approach in the past many times. Then, 1) it can charge you at any point to update to a longer-range version of the car with a simple click of a button, and 2) if Tesla buys the car back from the customer, the company can easily update the software and have a longer-range, higher-value car to sell again.

What do you think of the changes? All’s fair in love and car subscriptions?

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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