Tesla's Premium In-Car Internet Goes From Free To Paid July 1 For New Cars

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Ever since the original Model S launched back in 2012, one of the bedrocks of Tesla's forward-looking mission was the inclusion of integrated (and free) in-car internet. This cellular internet connection powers everything from vehicle navigation enhancements, to music streaming, to over-the-air updates that continually provide new functionality to the Tesla EV family. However, it looks as though Tesla has grown tired of giving away its full-fledged internet service to customers and will begin making some changes starting July 1st.

We should come right out and clarify that the new policy that takes goes into effect on July 1st doesn't affect current Model S, Model X or Model 3 owners. These folks will still be able to enjoy all the internet perks that were afforded to them when they purchased their vehicles. However, customers that place new orders after July 1st will have to choose from one of two internet packages.

The first package will remain free, but will give you limited internet access. It's called the "Standard Connectivity Package" and will include cellular navigation, traffic-based routing and safety-related over-the-air (OTA) updates. All other major OTA software updates will have to be performed over Wi-Fi.

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Customers that want the functionality that has been included for free with all Tesla vehicles sold up to this point will have to spring for the "Premium Connectivity Package". This package adds in satellites maps, live traffic visualizations and the ability to perform all vehicular OTA updates over a cellular connection. You'll also have access to in-car music streaming and web browsing from the massive center touch screen.

Electrek wasn't able to nail down exact pricing for the Premium Connectivity Package, but it's expected to be priced at around $100 per year. In addition, all Model S and Model X EVs will come with a year subscription from the factory. After that point, you'll have to choose between the freebie service or pay for "the works". Model 3 customers can also get a free year of the Premium Connectivity Package, but they will first have to spring for the Premium Interior option ($5,000). 

This isn't the first time that Tesla has started charging for what once was a free feature. Last year, the company started charging for Supercharger access on new vehicles.