Tesla is starting to monitor data usage in its vehicles, which has always been free, but the automaker is now planning to start to charge for connectivity.

When Tesla first launched Model S in 2012, some owners were quite perplexed about the fact that the internet service came with the cars at no cost and there was no clear indication of when it was going to change, if at all.

In 2014, Tesla clarified that the internet connection would be for four years, but the deadline came, and Tesla kept offering connectivity for free.

Last summer, the automaker started introducing different tiers of connectivity:

  • Standard Connectivity offers basic maps & navigation, music & media over Bluetooth® and software updates over Wi-Fi. Note: Important safety updates will continue to be available over the car’s cellular connection.
  • Premium Connectivity adds satellite-view maps with live traffic visualization, in-car streaming music & media, an internet browser (for Model S and Model X), and over-the-air software updates via Wi-Fi and cellular.

Tesla still includes the “Premium Connectivity” package with most cars, except for the base versions of the Model 3.

However, they have yet to offer an option for people who don’t have it to upgrade to the “Premium Connectivity” package.

CEO Elon Musk said that they should start to offer it soon, and Tesla has been guiding a price of about US $100 per year.

Ahead of the change, some owners are reporting that Tesla is starting to add a data usage counter in their vehicle (hat tip to Andrew):

There appears to be a “50 GB” cap, but it’s unclear what it is for at this point.

It also doesn’t seem to only apply to owners without the “Premium Connectivity” package included.

As you can see, the example above is for a Tesla Model 3 Long Range, which is supposed to have “Premium Connectivity” for the life of the car.

We should learn more about how Tesla plans to approach data usage with the wider launch of Tesla V10 in the coming weeks.

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