Tesla ends lifetime connectivity subscription

Generally, when you outright purchase a product from a company, you expect that product to be capable of all of the things it’s capable of doing. Increasingly however companies are looking to tie some (or all) of those capabilities up in some sort of re-occurring rental-like subscription fee. This transforms a product into a service. Cancel or stop paying your subscription? Well now you no longer have access to either some portion or in some cases the entire thing you purchased. Or, the company you bought the product from could go out of business or stop supporting the version of whatever you’d bought, leaving you with a non or partially functioning product. With that in mind, you don’t own the thing you bought, you’re just renting it.


I’d like to hold out hope for Honda, but I have my doubts. If they’re making software/services the focus of their business, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they took the usual steps to lock it down and lock you in. In short, I expect the John Deereification of Honda and most other automakers. I hope I end up being pleasantly surprised.

Recently, Honda outlined its recurring revenue strategy as a technology-driven transformation of its business. “Honda will strive to transform its business portfolio,” a press release read, “by shifting focus from non-recurring hardware (product) sales business to recurring business in which Honda continues to offer various services and value to its customers after the sale through Honda products that combine hardware and software.”


Which becomes more relevant as Tesla doesn’t have stable leadership, and in general as society is entering the Mad Max universe.


Unfortunately most people just lease these kinds of cars, so another $50 a month, what does it matter. If it does matter than maybe you should you look at a Kia. It comes with heated seats too.


Since it hasn’t been said yet, there’s one thing worth throwing out- I actually have some sympathy for software subscription models in the case of things like Adobe products or other desktop software. Software requires constant maintenance, including bug fixes, security patches, and keeping up with the constant moving target of operating systems and hardware platforms. These companies do need a way to pay engineers for that work and charging a huge upfront cost to cover all future work that might be needed to supply you with free patches for years isn’t something people would support.

That said, I’d still prefer a choice of buying a product once, knowing it will become obsolete if I choose (and paying to update when needed), rather than being forced to sign up for a monthly fee for something I may not even use very much.

And fees to use hardware you bought? Forget it. That’s straight evil.


Yep. We’ve seen this quite a few times with IoT devices that turn into e-waste when their servers are shut off because the company either goes bankrupt, or decides that everyone needs to buy a new device because they don’t want to support the old ones, or “just because.”

I can… partially agree with this, but only as far as “you are paying for x level of software, so you should always be able to access all the functions and features of that level.” removing features or functionality from that level is bordering on, if not across that line, of evil. There’s at least one application that is useful for 3d modeling for CAD/CAM that decided to remove the ability to export customer created data as STL files on their lowest level of subscription, presumably to force people to pay for a more expensive subscription level that had a host of features and functions that the lowest level users didn’t need/want except for that export function. That’s evil in my book.

But yeah- fees to use hardware I’ve bought? no thanks. (the xm radio in my truck will forever be at the ‘please sign up for our service’ channel, only because I don’t want to drop a grand or two to replace the head with something that still works with the steering wheel controls and other nice widgets the stock head came with.)

Yep. that recent thing with the company that made a prosthetic eye that went under, so people who got it can no longer use/fix it or remove it? that’s exactly what I’m talking about.


Especially evil when those devices are medically necessary.


The point here seems to be to FORCE you to update your hardware. I have two vehicles, both more than 20 years old. I only replaced my old flip phone when they threated to stop supporting 3g. For those of us that are cheap bastards, the idea of being forced to replace hardware that isn’t broken because of a lack of software support is irritating to say the least.


Many of whom are not slow to learn lessons on how to maximise profit. When every car maker is eventually a software company that happens to make cars, this will be everyone’s model.

But that IS all capitalism’s wet dream - it’s what they all want and will strive for whenever there’s an opportunity

A case for software/server escrow, if ever I heard one. A company should be legally prevented from removing support unless it has made some sort of escrow provision (or open source equivalent) enabling soon-to-be ex-customers to carry on being users.

But if I am still using a 10 year old OS which is entirely stable, and the version of the software I am using on it is also bug-free (it’s been meeting my needs for 10 years so I’m happy to risk the very remote possibility I’ll encounter a new glitch) I do not want to be paying for being forced to upgrade every year when useful function is removed and not-needed function is added. Whilst I entirely agree about fees to use hardware being evil, I see some of these ongoing ‘maintenance’ items pretty much tantamount to the same thing.
(Much what @Bonivus_elderheart and @simonize said)


The reason I will drive my 2001 subaru until they bury me in it.


There’s only one way to end rentier capitalism: government regulation.

This whole “subscription” worldview doesn’t have to be inevitable. Regulate it.


Strong agree. Apple has done this a bunch in their consumer grade applications. They’ve removed a huge number of features from iMovie over the years, presumably to drive people to Final Cut Pro. iMovie is free, so not a perfect example, but I agree with your sentiment. Fusion 360 has started to do this a little bit also, gradually “restructuring” their subscription plans to shift features around, and even eliminating one of the entry-level tiers that brought most casual users to the package (and thus locking them in).

My preference is still for “buy it once, then I’ll pay for major upgrades if needed”. I’d even accept some OS-level restrictions, because Mac OS and Windows are fast moving targets and it’s a lot of work to keep software compatible with them. So if you tell me I have to pay for every second or third OS upgrade compatibility (not full price mind you), I’m okay with that.

The other catch here is that the software companies don’t always hold up their end of the deal on subscriptions. After the big M1 Mac architecture change, for example, many of the big subscription-based packages just stopped working for months while they scrambled to update. People were paying monthly for software that didn’t work. There’s no excuse for this either. For all big OS and architecture updates, Apple sends out free previews and emulators to developers months in advance so they can prep updates. I’m sure Windows does the same.


Definitely. For particularly long term products like cars, we may need some regulation here to force car makers into X years of backward compatibility and support. They shouldn’t be allowed to brick your heated seats and nav system because their servers didn’t get maintained and their version of PHP was deprecated or whatever.

We’re getting a window into this future with phones. We’ve all had that experience of not being able to use an app anymore because your OS is too old but you can’t upgrade the OS because your old hardware isn’t supported by it.


This is true, but what is lacking is a no frills compact car. I think the only electric car that still has analogue dials and not a screen vor instrumentation and doesn’t have a touch screen is the VW Up.

If other carmakers see that people are buying Tesla, they will make cars like the Tesla, with a giant touch screen. If people likes the fact that the car could be updated remotely and brag about it, other car makers will add this option.

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My primary gripe with touchscreens is the safety factor having to f%^k around with a touchscreen UI while driving. I don’t always drive with a clone of myself someone in the passenger seat to adjust the settings for me, so I appreciate buttons and knobs to do things like turn the volume down or adjust the environmental controls without having to take my eyes off the road.

My other concern is screen brightness and driving at night- sure, it’s supposed to dim the screen so it won’t screw over night vision, but what happens when the software driving that functionality breaks? or the sensor for it breaks/gets covered up/etc.?

Plus the replacement cost for said touchscreen when it inevitably bakes to death in the Arizona summer is also a factor.

I want a commuter car that’s basically a version of a Honda Civic (or some other economy car without a touch screen) but in a plug-in EV or hybrid. (and I looked- the E.UP was canned in 2020/21. :frowning: )

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The Mini Cooper SE might be up your alley

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ISTR that there IS a law about the availability of repair parts that might cover this, but it only lasts for 10 years. The automakers would certainly like to be able to brick cars more than 10 years old.

Edited to say that there is no such law, at least in the US. But back in the day, that was the practice of the Detroit Automakers. They at least tried to keep parts in inventory for 10 years.


$70 - 100+k sticker price maybe?

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For services that are online and require constant maintenance I’m somewhat sympathetic to some of the problems companies complain about, but I think the deeper problem is many of these things just shouldn’t be online or internet connected at all.

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