Do Teslas Have WiFi?

Buying an electric car like a Tesla is a big step, and before you do so, you’ve probably got tons of questions. In this article, we’ll be looking into one of the most frequently asked questions about Teslas; do they have WiFi?

Yes, all Tesla cars have the capability of connecting to WiFi, but they can’t act as a WiFi hotspot for you to connect your external device to. All Teslas come with Standard WiFi Connectivity which can be upgraded to premium.

Sometimes, when people ask this question, we are not sure whether they are referring to the ability of the car to connect to the internet or whether the car can share its internet connectivity in the sense of serving as a hotspot. If you continue reading, you will understand the Wi-Fi capacity of Teslas.

Tesla vehicles previously offered connectivity services over Wi-Fi for free, but Tesla has said users will need to pay for some of their nav features. This update may seem a bit confusing so let’s explain it.

How Does the Wi-Fi Work in a Tesla?

Tesla provides “Connectivity” features over Wi-Fi. All their cars come with Standard Connectivity which has basic features for navigation. Premium Connectivity has extended features for leisure and lifestyle. One thing that must be pointed out is that Wi-Fi is how the cars connect to the internet and work in a similar manner as the one on smartphones. This means that you can connect to paid or free hotspots in the same way you would connect your PC or mobiles. Where Standard Connectivity and Premium Connectivity comes to play is not in the availability of Wi-Fi rather, in the features that are available to that car over Wi-Fi.

While some PC can share their internet connection acting as hotspots, Tesla vehicles cannot. This means that as much as the car is connected to the internet, you cannot connect to the internet through the car’s connection.

Standard Connectivity Vs Premium Connectivity

The full Connectivity package includes the following features: navigation, live traffic visualization, satellite-view maps, video streaming, Caraoke, music streaming, and internet browser. The Standard Connectivity which comes with all cars provide all the packages listed over Wi-Fi except the live traffic visualization and satellite-view maps.

Standard Connectivity offers Bluetooth® pairing, FM radio, Sirius XM capability in North America (for XM-enabled and configured cars), playback from a USB drive and music and media streaming over Wi-Fi. Premium Connectivity is required for in-car streaming music & media over cellular.

Premium Connectivity comes with the full gamut of connectivity features. It adds an extra, cellular connection. This means that connectivity features can be provided over cellular connections. So, you can use regular ISPs to provide connectivity to the car.

Connectivity PackagesStandard
Included
Premium
$9.99 /mo plus applicable tax 
Navigation
Live Traffic Visualization
Satellite-View Maps
Video Streaming*
Karaoke*
Music Streaming*
Internet Browser*

* Accessible over Wi-Fi for Standard Connectivity

How do these connectivity packages affect my driving experience?

When on the Standard Package, you get everything you are normally used to. Basic navigation and multimedia are available to you. But you will always require a W-Fi connection. You also get over-the-air updates.

With Premium, it feels more like using your phone. Here is what I mean. When using a PC, you mostly have to be in an area with a hotspot. Your phone however is not that limited. This is because most users connect to the internet using cellular networks. So, your car also is not limited to Wi-Fi hotspots when using premium. You get all the features of Standard but also over cellular networks.

Tesla also added Live Traffic Visualization and Satellite-View Maps to the navigation features available to Premium. Over-the-air updates will still require Wi-Fi but important software updates can be done over a cellular network. Regular charges of your internet service provider will apply.

Both Packages support autopilot the same way. All that is required is that you keep your software up to date. Do not also forget to acquaint yourself with the guidelines.

Eligibility

All cars come with Standard Connectivity. However, Premium Connectivity is only available to some cars based on a number of factors. It should be noted that you pay $9.99 a month for it. However, for all cars ordered before June 30, 2018 do not get to pay for Premium. It is free for the lifetime of the car. This does not apply to Model Y, Model 3 Standard Range, and Standard Range Plus. It only applies to Model 3 with Premium Interior, Model S, and Model X. But all these models ordered on or after July 1, 2018, are eligible for the subscription. A special note is that used cars ordered on or after January 9, 2020, are also eligible for the subscription.

ModelOrdered on or before
June 30, 2018
Ordered on or after
July 1, 2018
Model S
Model X
Free Premium ConnectivityEligible for Premium Connectivity subscription
Model 3 with Premium InteriorFree Premium ConnectivityEligible for Premium Connectivity subscription
Model Y
Model 3 Standard Range
Standard Range Plus
Not ApplicableEligible for Premium Connectivity subscription

Tesla offers a trial period for the Premium Connectivity for all their cars. New Model S, Model X, Model Y, Model 3 Long Range and Model 3 Performance inventory ordered on or after July 1, 2018 get one-year trial period starting from the delivery date. New orders of Model S, Model X, Model Y and Model 3 with Premium Interior on or after July 1, 2018 also get one-year trial starting from the delivery date. Model 3 Standard Range and Standard Range Plus get 30 days trial as do used cars ordered on or after January 9, 2020. Cars sold privately or through third-parties do not get free trials. You get an email when your trial expiration is approaching and then you can decide whether you want to continue with a subscription. To know your package subscription, you can check your Tesla Account.

Order TypePremium Connectivity Trial Eligibility
New orders of Model S, Model X, Model Y and Model 3 with Premium Interior on or after July 1, 2018 Yes, one year starting from delivery date
New Model S, Model X, Model Y, Model 3 Long Range and Model 3 Performance inventory orders on or after July 1, 2018 Yes, one year starting from delivery date
Used car orders on or after January 9, 2020Yes, 30 days starting from delivery date
Model 3 Standard Range and Standard Range PlusYes, 30 days starting from delivery date
Any car that is sold privately through a third-party, and does not already have Premium ConnectivityNo

Subscription

Owners of Tesla’s cars can manage their subscriptions in their Tesla Account. Once Premium Connectivity is subscribed for, you cannot get a refund whether full or partial. This means that if you choose to opt-out of an active subscription, you still get the features available to that subscription for the duration of the billing cycle. Your opting out becomes active only at the end of the billing cycle.

Conclusion

Electric vehicles can be called smart devices these days because they connect with the internet and act “intelligently”. How this connection is done is super important as it determines the smartness of the car. More than that, it also determines the experience of the owner. Teslas connect and provide features using Wi-Fi. These features are boxed into packages- Standard Connectivity and Premium Connectivity. You can think of Standard Connectivity like your iPod and Premium Connectivity like the iPhone. One uses only Wi-fi, the other uses both Wi-Fi and cellular.