Tesla waived its full Model S battery range unlock fee, but BMW's heated seats subscription is staying
While BMW sparked a controversy for wanting to ship cars with heated seats and then charge a subscription to use them, Tesla remotely locked access to the full battery capacity of a Model S owner as they paid for the cheaper version with the smaller battery. After popular outrage, mainly on Twitter, Tesla waived the fee and gave the Model S owner the extra 80 miles or so that their car is able to pull off with the battery pack fully charged. BMW didn't budge, though, and was forced into explanation mode for its pay-to-play heated seat efforts.
The Tesla story became popular thanks to one John Hughes who complained that a customer of theirs needed to have some work done on their Tesla to account for the 3G network services sunset by the big US carriers. Upon learning that the 60 kWh battery pack originally purchased by the first owner of the Model S has been swapped with a 90 kWh one as Tesla didn't have the lower capacity modules on hand, the Tesla reps did a software downgrade to limit the battery charge at 60 kWh. Tesla then demanded that US$4,500, or the price difference between the packs, be paid in order to unlock the car's full range potential.
Needless to say, the business operator who took the car to Tesla raised the alarm over what they considered unfair practice, and a popular outrage erupted on Twitter and other social media avenues. Tesla then waived the US$4,500 racket on the next day and did so for another Model S owner who also complained about the virtual range restrictions that Elon Musk's company put in place for the same reason. BMW hadn't given up on the plans to introduce heated seats on a subscription basis just yet, so this time around the power of Twitter that Mr. Musk at some point wanted to buy, was not sufficient to shift the carmaker's newly minted microtransaction business model.
Jason Hughes (Twitter)