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Elon Musk wants Tesla Model Y drivers to pay to unlock more range

Ana Altchek   

Elon Musk wants Tesla Model Y drivers to pay to unlock more range
  • Tesla's Model Y may offer unlocked driving range for an extra $1,500 to $2,000.
  • Elon Musk said the new range provides an extra 40 to 60 miles and is pending regulatory approvals.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says its recent Model Y models have more driving range than you thought — but you'll have to pay to get it.

Musk said in a post on X that Model Y vehicles built over the past few months have an extra 40 to 60 miles of range that can be unlocked, depending on the battery.

Musk said Tesla could charge an extra $1,500 to $2,000 for the upgrade and that he's "working through regulatory approvals to enable" the new range.

Musk revealed this in response to the Tesla investor Sawyer Merritt's post about the automaker launching a new Long Range RWD Model Y.

Merritt said in the X post that the previous Model Y was discontinued.

Tesla replaced the Standard Range Model Y with a 320-mile Long Range rear-wheel drive for about $2,000 more.

The EV costs between $44,990 and $49,490, depending on add-ons. Owners who qualify for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit can get the new version for $37,490.

Tesla is known to use its remote-software rollouts to add features or make fixes to its EVs. This isn't the first time its locked an EV's range and offered access to it for an additional charge.

Tesla's Model S 70 originally had a 70 kWh battery and 220-mile range, but the company later revealed the battery pack had a higher capacity of 75 kWh with a 237-mile range, which could be unlocked for an additional $3,000.

Tesla has even disabled software features like Autopilot when someone buys one of their EVs from a third-party vendor.

When a user asked why the unlocked range isn't offered for free, Musk said, "We have to pay the bills somehow."

The decision to attach a fee to locked updates is a growing trend in the auto industry. BMW received backlash for making some of its heated seats a subscription service. Mercedes offered an add-on "acceleration increase" for $1,200 a year. Meanwhile, Polestar offered a horsepower upgrade for a fee of $1,195.

With the EV market slumping, subscriptions and unlockable offerings could provide automakers with additional revenue streams.

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