Tesla Is Working On A Monthly Subscription Service for Autopilot

With the release of the new Traffic Light and Stop Sign control feature, many people want to upgrade. But the cost is going up soon, so if you can’t buy now you might be out of luck. Thankfully, Tesla is working on a subscription service to make their self-driving features more accessible. But could subscriptions come back to bite us?

How much would you pay for FSD?

Many people have criticized Tesla for charging thousands of dollars for the promise of features to come. But maybe more people would be willing to pay a monthly subscription for the current self-driving features that are available. The FSD features work better for some routes, so people could test the feature out for their own commute without forking over thousands of dollars.

Electrek reports that such a subscription might not be too far off. Noted Tesla hacker, Green, found evidence of such a subscription in the Tesla app.

It seems like once FSD is more feature-complete Tesla might release this subscription plan, which makes sense. Paying for the FSD upgrade is generally seen as early access crowdfunding, for those who are very excited about the tech. But those paying for a subscription service wouldn’t as be happy about buggy features in beta.

Opening Pandora’s Box

So we’ll be able to access FSD features for cheaper, that’s great right? I’m not so sure, and I think a move like this is bound to flare up plenty of debate.

Paying seven thousand dollars for autopilot software is a hard pill to swallow. Paying a monthly subscription fee is much easier. But I’m worried a subscription plan like this might open the doors for many more paywalls. It doesn’t have to be Tesla, some car company is going to see this and take the subscription model too far.

We’ve already seen that Tesla is able to increase performance through over the air software updates. Any EV company with a similar system could do the same to decrease performance. Then they could charge you a monthly subscription to use full power.

This might sound a bit tinfoil hat, but the potential is there. I’ve always been conflicted about paying for software to make full use of the car’s computer. But I understand why Tesla needs to do that to fund the development of the tech. But expanding that to a subscription service will slowly make paying to unlock features of a car more normalized.

We’re not going to see a car that requires an air conditioner subscription next year. But that kind of thing won’t come quickly. A subscription to FSD opens the door to that, and will slowly make people open up to more subscription services. It sounds ridiculous, but if you’ve been paying for an FSD subscription for years, the right marketing will make a “performance mode” subscription sound just fine.

I don’t think an FSD subscription is a bad thing. It will make the tech available to many more people, and make our roads safer. But I’m going to be keeping my eyes out for any new subscription services that might take things too far.

We hope you enjoyed reading! Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. And make sure to follow our social media up top for all the latest electric vehicle news!

Apple Bans 3rd Party Tesla Apps

Tesla App Interface

If you’re a Tesla owner you have probably used Tesla’s first-party app for iOS or Android. While this app is full of great features, some users feel unsatisfied with the features available. That’s where apps like Remote for Tesla come in. Third-party apps like this provide more flexibility in controlling your car remotely, planning trips, and more. But, these third-party apps are in trouble with bad news coming from an app developer who has been trying to get his app accepted by Apple for the past year.

Why Apple Banned The App

Apple has tons of rules developers need to follow in order to have their app accepted into the Appstore. One of these rules is that developers who use a private API must provide documents proving they are allowed to access that API. For lots of APIs, they are publicly accessible and no proof of access is needed. But for Tesla’s API, developers aren’t so lucky.

Tesla’s Private API

Tesla has an API, but it is not public. It had to be reverse-engineered, basically meaning someone had to trace how the first-party Tesla app interacted with the private API and reproduced it for other developers to use. This is actually a very common practice in development; APIs are reverse-engineered like this regularly. Sometimes this leads the company to make a publicly-accessible and well-documented API, and sometimes it leads to companies locking down their API with complex authentication tactics to prevent use outside of a company’s control.

Tesla hasn’t made any strong decisions either way yet, but their indecisiveness has already affected several 3rd party developers, such as Rody Davis who was working on the “Sidecar for Tesla” app.

Our Take

Tesla needs to take a clear stance and either release a public API for their cars or let developers know that one will never come. There is a valid argument that some of the use-cases for the API could be considered rather dangerous. For example, one of Remote for Tesla’s selling points is “Summon your car when not near it and without continuous press needed”. The reason summoning requires a continuous press in the Tesla-made app is because Summon has been known to result in collisions. Letting go of a button is faster and easier than clicking another button when your car is colliding with something or someone.

If Tesla made a public API, they would have control over these things. They could allow for safe functionality like starting the car, turning on lights, and getting trip data. They could also disallow anything potentially dangerous in anything but their own app. I think this is the best of both worlds, more safety and more flexibility for Tesla owners.