A few automakers have proposed subscription services for things like heated seats, or access to premium safety features. BMW was one of the first companies to suggest something like that – but then quickly backed down after much protest from the internet. But that seemingly hasn't deterred other brands from thinking about it.
Tesla might be adding subscription features to its upcoming vehicles. A hacker by the name of GreenTheOnly dug into Tesla's upcoming 2023.38.8 vehicle software update and discovered heated front seats and heated windshield wipers hidden behind a paywall for new models. GreenTheOnly also discovered that the Model Y SUV might have a software-locked battery capacity for the Standard Range trim, which could allow for more consistent production across trims.
This wouldn't be the first instance of Tesla putting more premium features behind a paywall. In the past, the company has charged for footwell lights in the Model 3, additional battery capacity for older Model S and X vehicles, and yes, even heated seats – which have since been removed.
But these findings from GreenTheOnly aren't necessarily set in stone. As our colleagues at InsideEVs note, who initially reported on this story, Tesla may keep dropping the base price of the Model 3 as a way to maintain price-based tax incentives. Offering some of these services as add-ons could help with that.
We've reached out to Elon on X for a comment and will update the story when he responds.