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Tesla begins to observe in-car data usage, likely as free connectivity ends

Tesla hasn't been entirely clear on what will be covered for free and how much data will cost.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
The gravy train of free data is coming to an end, it seems.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Some Tesla owners have begun to notice a new graphic on their touchscreens regarding data usage, and it adds fuel to the rumor that the Silicon Valley-based automaker will soon start charging for internet connectivity.

Electrek first reported on the data usage graphic after an owner submitted a photo of the new text. It shows a 50GB limit, but it's entirely unclear what counts toward usage. Roadshow reached out to Tesla to learn more about the situation but the company didn't immediately respond.

As the report notes, internet connectivity has, so far, been entirely free for owners. Five years ago, the automaker then stated the connection would last free of charge for four years, but the time frame has since come and gone. Finally, in summer of 2018, Tesla released two structures of connectivity: Standard and Premium

Standard connectivity is a no-cost option that includes internet connectivity for things like maps and navigation. Over-the-air updates will only occur over a Wi-Fi network, unless they're important safety related updates. Most Tesla vehicles come with one year of the Premium connectivity option as standard today. It's likely what most owners want, as it includes in-car music and media streaming and satellite-view maps. As for how much it will cost afterward, we don't know.

The original report noted the data usage counter also hasn't appeared for owners who do not have the Premium connectivity option. Perhaps Tesla is in the midst of shuffling how all the features work yet again. Hopefully, Tesla can share more information in the near future as infotainment is a hot-ticket item for most Tesla buyers and those who lust after the brand's cars.

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