July 27, Electrek reported that Tesla had sold a portion of the Model S with software lock. The car was originally installed with a larger capacity battery pack, but Tesla restricted the car's range through software as a way to provide customers with a different range version of the model. Recently, a car owner wanted Tesla to unlock the software restrictions on the battery, but was asked to have to pay $4,500 to unlock it.
It is understood that a car owner purchased a used Model S 90, but when performing a car system upgrade as it only supports 3G network connection, he drove the car to the Tesla service center to perform the upgrade. However, during the upgrade process, the Tesla service staff found a mistake in the car's configuration and took the initiative to help the owner fix the mistake.
The "error" was actually changing the car's configuration to a Model S 60, which locked the battery range to 80 miles. The owner asked Tesla to unlock the limit again, since he had purchased a Model S 90 and paid for the 90kWh battery version. Instead, Tesla told him that he had to pay $4,500 to unlock the feature.
The owner was so helpless that he finally had to find Jason Hughes, a hacker who specializes in cracking Tesla's system. but Hughes didn't find a solution that wouldn't cause other problems, and posted the situation online. Immediately thereafter, a whole bunch of internet users expressed their dissatisfaction with Tesla's operation and refused to pay the money to Tesla. As an update, it seems that Tesla has reached out to the owner and said it will take care of it right away.
In fact, this situation is not uncommon in smart cars, and many features on Tesla cars need to be unlocked in order to use them. Such as the rear seat and steering wheel heating function, FSD function, etc., all must be paid separately to use. Some time ago, Mercedes-Benz launched a pay to unlock the rear wheel steering function, BMW also changed the seat/steering wheel heating function to a subscription system.
Many netizens spouted that although you buy the car, but you do not have the right to use the car, you must pay the car company separately before you can use certain features on the car. Obviously, everyone can't accept this model, and have spat out that this secondary charge is so stinky that they can do anything to make money.
However, this model of paying to unlock features seems to have become a common phenomenon in the automotive industry. Car companies, in order to reduce the production cost of the car, will be equipped with the same hardware as standard for all models, and then unlock different features for customers on demand. But consumers clearly do not accept this approach, believing that they must have the right to use the hardware they buy. In the era of hardware transparency, coupled with a more competitive market, this model will likely not last long, but car companies may also come up with new ways to play whole.