Tesla Paywalling Range on the Model Y Is Just the Beginning

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Tesla Model Y charging

Turns out your old Model Y has more range than you thought. Tesla is looking at unlocking more range for its standard range rear-wheel drive trim of its Model Y, which is no longer on sale.

In a response on X, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk explained this older version of the Model Y has more range that can be unlocked for $1,500 to $2,000. You could get anywhere between 40 to 60 extra miles, according to Musk.

On one hand, adding more range is an upgrade that most people wouldn’t mind paying money for. On the other? Shouldn’t you just get what you already paid for?

The discontinued Model Y should have a range closer to between 300 and 320 miles.


Not Actually Standard Range

There’s an argument for the paywall to be seen as a welcome software update from Tesla. In a tangent on X, Musk likened it to self-driving in the future, rather than a locked feature.

From a customer standpoint, however, things look a little different. After all, you’re already driving around in a Model Y with the capability of longer range, so you should get the maximum range it can provide. Right?

It probably won’t be the last time Tesla does something like this. The EV maker previously had a similar setup with its Model S and Model X, since the standard range versions come with the same battery as the Long Range models but have software-locked capacities. Other automakers have been paywalling EV performance too, including Mercedes-Benz and Kia who both require payment for improved acceleration.

The battery is already part of the Model Y, why shouldn’t we get full access to it?


Still Locked

We’re not sure when the older Model Ys will get this update that unlocks its true max range. Musk did post that Tesla is “working through regulatory approvals to enable this,” but didn’t specify any sort of timeline.

Looking at the bigger picture for Tesla, the company is going through a rocky patch. Musk recently fired the team behind its Superchargers, which have been a big success. Tesla also had another round of layoffs, marking the third round in just a matter of weeks. The company is deep in a restructuring process that follows less-than-stellar recent financial results, but this Model Y paywall just looks like Tesla trying to squeeze as much juice out of its customers as it can.

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