Tesla cut the cost of its infotainment upgrade by 40% about a week after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called for a recall of nearly 159,000 cars due to a faulty touchscreen. While the upgrade brings a series of new features and removes older ones, it also fixes the problem identified by the agency.
Owners of a Model S or Model X built before March 2018 can purchase the infotainment upgrade, which the company simply calls Infotainment upgrade, through the Tesla app. It adds in-car video streaming, Caraoke and Tesla Arcade, among other things, and it removes the AM, FM and Sirius XM radios. Significantly, it also includes a faster and more responsive touchscreen that does not rely on the faulty hardware identified in the NHTSA’s findings.
Tesla charged $ 2,500 for the upgrade until January 2021, when it quietly lowered the price to $ 1,500. It adjusts the cost of its option packs and its cars regularly, so the drop is not uncommon, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the bundle’s price changes again in the not-too-distant future. What’s strange is the timing.
One way to interpret the sudden drop is that Tesla is hoping to tell its customers that they can stream ‘Cobra Kai’ on Netflix while they wait for their car to charge, which will reduce the number of vehicles it will have to recall sooner or later. assuming it chooses not to contest the NHTSA’s report. Recalling a car to replace a three-cent bolt is expensive, so replacing 159,000 touchscreens can cost millions.
As a trade-off, drivers who opt for the upgrade instead of waiting for a recall will get features. If a recall is made, Tesla will replace the touchscreen in affected cars, but it probably won’t load it with games and connectivity.
Of course, the California-based company simply wants to make it easier for its customers to access the latest technology features after a year marred by a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. It has not commented on the drop, and has remained astonishingly silent on the recall. As we’ve reported, it can either accept the NHTSA’s findings and recall the affected cars, or appeal the decision. It has until January 27, 2021 to respond.