Car Comfort-as-a-Service

But not (yet) in the U.S.:

It’s a deeply flawed business model (to say the least!) that allows a car manufacturer to centrally control the ability to remotely turn features of your car on or off. (Tesla does this, too, don’t they?)

Would you buy a car from a manufacturer that changed previously “included” features to a recurring subscription only?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

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I had heard that Tesla puts the hardware for heated seats in every car but the buyer has to pay to turn them on. However, as far as I know, it is a one time payment. Things like that are why I will never buy a Tesla even though they appear to be some of the best designed affordable electric cars available in the US. I was hoping that other car manufacturers would be slow to catch on to those business practices but that was probably wishful thinking. I know that subscriptions are the big deal with businesses now so I’m sure it’s a no-brainer for them to implement this.

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Not to mention the fact that Tesla can remotely control how much battery range you get based on how much you pay them.

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…and if you pay for the extra range, then sell the car, the new owner will also have to pay for the extra range.


And the #1 issue that I personally have with this … central control implies communication and communication implies tracking. (This isn’t necessarily true but since the implementation will be opaque, it might as well be assumed to be true.)

If I were a government fleet car buyer or a fleet car buyer in an espionage-exposed industry, I would be very wary.

Communication also implies more exotic (remote) intrusion possibilities. It’s an unnecessary security exposure. Across a great many industries we have seen how time-to-market trumps security. In the rush to get a product or feature to market, horrible security blunders get overlooked - but not overlooked by governments and other criminals of course.

I don’t have a problem with features-by-subscription per se, provided that the alternative business model (paid for up front) continues to exist. With the latter business model, you can compare cars in a direct way - price v. features. With a subscription model, it is more difficult to do that (“confusopoly”).

With a subscription model, during the period of ownership, features can be unconditionally withdrawn or altered and/or the monthly price of the feature can go up and up and up.

I wonder how far car manufacturers will go with this. The linked article touches on the safety aspects of this but then there are the fuel economy / performance aspects (already mentioned above).

Looking at the bigger picture, what this represents is an attempt by car manufacturers to make their revenue more uniform (and of course higher!). With the existing business model, you pay a single large amount up front and that may be the last time you interact with them (possibly excepting a “free” 3 month vehicle check) for a decade or more. This, perversely, creates an incentive for the manufacturer to create crappy cars that become uneconomic to repair after not too long.

So, firstly, car manufacturers introduced service packages - to get you coming back every year (or whatever) to pay for your service. They introduced proprietary service software to make it more difficult for you to get your car serviced at an independent car service place.

Then they also introduced roadside assistance packages, typically paid annually.

So features-by-subscription is just the next logical step in order to get you paying every year between car purchases.


Micro transactions will be next. Want to change your interior lights? $4.99!


That’s why China forbids Tesla cars to be close to military installations. (Tesla also has in-build camera’s!).

Next USA sanction will: not allowing imported cars …

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Motorcycles are also affected by this
Zero motorcycle is starting to go this way too with those shitty pay-to-unlock already installed features

  • Upgrade charging speed by 17% for US$295
  • Double your charging speed for US$1,495
  • Unlock 10% more battery capacity, with a further 10% available when you tell the bike to do an “extended range charge” for US$2,195
  • Unlock on-dash navigation for US$195
  • Unlock “parking mode” complete with reverse crawl for US$195
  • Unlock heated grips for US$195

What a dream product :face_vomiting: