But there may be a very good reason for this.
A Tesla hacking expert has revealed that the electric automaker may soon be adding subscription features to future vehicles and that the Model Y SUV may have its maximum range software locked in the Standard Range trim. The news comes via @greentheonly on X (formerly Twitter), who accessed Tesla's 2023.38.8 software update and learned that features like heated seats and heated windshield wipers are becoming paid features that one can access via a subscription.
BMW infamously attempted something similar, noting that this would allow it to streamline production and maximize value for future buyers of used cars. But BMW eventually gave up on the idea because customers simply did not understand how it worked, so why should Tesla's decision to paywall hardware behind a software barrier be any different?
We can think of one good reason for this move. By selling the vehicle at a lower MSRP, it has a better chance of qualifying for federal tax credits. Thus, a customer would not have to choose between having the features they want and scoring a substantial discount.
Another reason is that this streamlines production as all cars can be built the same with identical hardware, which reduces the automaker's carbon footprint. BMW made a similar argument, and it makes a certain amount of sense.
This would also explain why the Model Y Standard Range has a software-locked battery capacity; with one production line building two cars, Tesla can save immensely. For the record, Tesla has, in the past, locked range and other features like ambient lighting and heated seats behind paywalls.
For the time being, Tesla has not confirmed any of this news, but that will surely change before too long. Perhaps these changes will take effect at the same time that Tesla's big new Full Self-Driving update takes place, although an expected timeline for this FSD upgrade has not yet been announced either.
In the meantime, Tesla is expected to begin deliveries of the long-awaited Cybertruck on Thursday, November 30, but given how many delays have taken place over the last four years, this is yet another development that we can only believe when we see it happening before us.