If you’re searching for a used Tesla, chances are you’ve heard of Tesla’s “Premium Connectivity” feature. So what exactly is Tesla Premium Connectivity? How much does it cost? Which vehicles already have it? How has this changed in 2022?
In keeping with our Tesla Features Explained blog series, we’re going to take an in-depth look at this feature and break it down completely so that anyone shopping for a used Tesla understands *exactly* what to look for.
So, with that said—let’s jump into the world of Tesla Premium Connectivity!
Tesla Standard Connectivity vs. Premium Connectivity – What’s the Difference?
When Tesla first built the Model S, a lot of things were included due to the higher price point (such as Autopilot), but some of that has changed over the years now that Tesla offers less expensive vehicles (like the Model 3). One of the things that’s changed quite a bit is the way that Tesla handles Premium Connectivity.
Originally, Premium Connectivity was included on every Tesla, but changes in tech and in the amount of data necessary for things like Traffic Visualization have pushed Tesla to change the connectivity pay structure. Currently, connectivity on a Tesla comes in two tiers: Standard and Premium.
Here’s a quick rundown of the differences in each one:
- Tesla Over-the-air (OTA) Updates
- Bluetooth Capability
- Navigation (WiFi + LTE)
- Video Streaming (WiFi Only)
- Caraoke (WiFi Only)
- Music Streaming (WiFi Only)
- Internet Browser (WiFi Only)
The majority of the features available in Standard Connectivity can only be accessed via wifi. When your car is out of range of wifi, Tesla’s Standard Connectivity really only includes Navigation and OVA updates. Nothing to sniff at, of course; having your Tesla update itself whenever and wherever necessary is a pretty cool feature.
Premium Connectivity (includes everything in Standard, plus the following):
- Live Traffic Visualization
- Satellite-View Maps
- Video Streaming (WiFi + LTE)
- Caraoke (WiFi + LTE)
- Music Streaming (WiFi + LTE)
- Internet Browser (WiFi + LTE)
Premium Connectivity includes two additional features that Standard Connectivity lacks: Live Traffic Visualization and Satellite-View Maps. These two really useful tools are awesome to have both on daily commutes and during road trips.
Going beyond Standard, Premium Connectivity also allows most features to be accessible through the AT&T cellular network (LTE). Essentially, you’re paying Premium Connectivity fees for data access, not unlike a cellphone data plan for your Tesla. This means supported video and audio apps are accessible anywhere you can get a decent network signal. Obviously, video and music streaming app subscriptions are still paid for and handled by you, not Tesla.
Now that we’ve looked at what Premium Connectivity includes, let’s talk about price.
Tesla Premium Connectivity Cost – How Much Is It?
Currently, Tesla charges $9.99 per month for a Premium Connectivity subscription (this does not include applicable taxes).
You can activate a Premium Connectivity subscription on your Tesla directly through your Tesla account. If you’ve ever purchased Tesla upgrades in the past (such as the Model 3 acceleration boost), it’s just as simple: open the Tesla app, go to Upgrades > Subscribe to select Premium Connectivity and purchase your subscription. This can also be done through the vehicle’s touchscreen in many cases; you can go to Controls > Upgrades to purchase a Premium Connectivity subscription directly from your Tesla’s touchscreen.
There’s also an annual option, for $99 per year (with no pro-rated refunds, or any refunds at all, really). This isn’t a bad option for those looking to save a few bucks, and purchase a year at a time.
Are There Any Discounts for Premium Connectivity?
Discounts aren’t available for Premium Connectivity at the moment, and there is no option to buy a year’s worth of access for a lower price. However, Tesla does offer a variety of free trial options for Premium Connectivity, depending upon how and when you purchased your vehicle. Jump ahead to the next section to learn about those options!
Is There a Free Trial for Tesla Premium Connectivity?
Yes! Tesla offers a few different levels of free periods of Premium Connectivity, though this depends on which model you buy.
At the time of writing, new orders for Model S and Model X receive a free 1-year trial of Premium Connectivity. After that, you need to subscribe in order to keep it.
Additionally, new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles have a free 30-day trial of Premium Connectivity—and after that, you have to pay for it.
Can you get a Premium Connectivity trial for used Teslas? Yes, to an extent. When you buy a used Tesla, if the trial is not already active at the time of transfer to the new owner, you automatically activate a 30-day free trial period upon notifying Tesla that you are the new owner (this happens before you are eligible to buy a Premium connectivity subscription). If there is a trial already active, you get the balance of that trial before needing a subscription.
Which Teslas Have Lifetime Premium Connectivity?
All new Teslas ordered on or before June 30, 2018 have lifetime Premium Connectivity.
Additionally, all used Teslas (purchased from Tesla directly) on or before January 8, 2020 have lifetime Premium Connectivity as a bonus feature.
This means it’s included with the car, for the life of the car, and you never have to pay for it. Zero, nada—it’s free for life (with that specific car).
Does Premium Connectivity Transfer if You Buy a Used Tesla? What About CPO Cars?
This is an interesting question. The answer is basically, yes—but there are some caveats. Here’s what Tesla has decided when it comes to used vehicles and Premium Connectivity:
- All used vehicles purchased from Tesla on or before January 8, 2020 have Premium Connectivity for the life of the car and it will stay active for future owners if sold privately
- All used vehicles purchased from Tesla (CPO cars) on or after January 9, 2020 get a 30-day free trial of Premium Connectivity
- Cars that were originally somewhere into their 1-year free trial, and were sold by a third-party or privately on or after January 21, 2020 keep the balance of their free trial
- Cars that were sold privately on or after January 21, 2020 that don’t have an active trial or lifetime free subscription are eligible for a free 30-day trial (so, if you’re the new owner of a used Tesla—bonus, you get a free 30-day trial!)
How to Activate Tesla Premium Connectivity
This is probably the easiest part of Premium Connectivity—you simply log into your Tesla account and within a few clicks, you’re subscribed!
You can subscribe to Premium Connectivity from your mobile device, your desktop, or in many cases through your Tesla’s touchscreen—you just need to be signed into your Tesla account and have an active payment method on file.
As mentioned above, this is the same process as purchasing any other Tesla software upgrade (such as FSD, Model 3 Acceleration Boost, etc.).
- Tesla app: go to Upgrades > Subscribe to select Premium Connectivity and purchase your subscription.
- Touchscreen: go to Controls > Upgrades to purchase a Premium Connectivity subscription (note: this requires software update 2021.40.5 or later).
Can You Cancel Premium Connectivity?
Yes. Tesla Premium Connectivity is billed at $9.99/month, so you just need to log into your Tesla account and cancel it if you want to stop paying monthly for this feature. If you’re still in the middle of a billing cycle when you cancel, you won’t get a refund for the days you would have had remaining on your subscription…but at $9.99, that’s really not a big deal. Also, cancelling doesn’t automatically remove these features; Premium Connectivity features will still be available until the end of the billing cycle. Then, it’s back to Standard Connectivity.
Tesla Model 3 Premium Connectivity – Is It Available? What About Model Y?
Yes—Premium Connectivity is definitely available on Model 3 and Model Y.
As mentioned above, if you purchased a new Model 3 with the Premium Interior on or before June 30, 2018 you have lifetime Premium Connectivity for free. This also applies if you purchased a used Model 3 on or before January 8, 2020.
If your purchase was after that date and before October of 2021, then you have a 1-year free trial. If you purchased a Model 3 without the Premium Interior, then you only had a free 30 day free trial to begin with. And all of these specifics apply to Model Y as well (but since Model Y is much newer, some of the dates and cutoffs are not always applicable).
Finally, as of October of 2021, the Model 3 and the Model Y only have a 30-day trial of Premium Connectivity.
Tesla Model 3 Premium Connectivity After 1 Year – What Happens?
If you had the 1-year Premium Connectivity free trial on any Tesla vehicle, and it expired, you have to start paying Tesla $9.99/month if you want the feature again.
Tesla Model X Premium Connectivity – Is It the Same as Model S?
Yes—Model X Premium Connectivity is exactly the same as Model S Premium Connectivity.
How Do You Know If You Have Premium Connectivity in Your Tesla?
Navigate to the “Software” section of your on-screen menu system (the same place where you download software updates and check the current version etc.) and you’ll see in the center of the screen that “Premium Connectivity” is mentioned with an expiry date below it.
Tesla Premium Connectivity in Canada, UK, and Outside of the US – How Does This Work?
As long as there’s an available cellular network where your Tesla can connect, everything works the same—and in terms of what Tesla charges and what they offer, it’s the same (pricing, features, etc.) no matter where you live.
Is Premium Connectivity Worth It When Shopping for a Used Tesla?
In our opinion, it’s a “nice-to-have” but not a dealbreaker. Why? Because you can just subscribe on your own, and at $9.99/month, it’s pretty cheap. It’s really not the same thing as a used Tesla that already has Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or Full-Self Driving (FSD) which are worth considerably more.
If you’re looking for a used Tesla with Premium Connectivity, be sure to check out our used Tesla listings where we make it easier than ever to find the perfect Tesla at a great price with all the features you’ve been looking for!
Selling a used Tesla with lifetime Premium Connectivity? Make sure to include it on your Find My Electric listing. And if selling privately isn’t your style, let us connect you with a Tesla-informed dealership who appreciates the Tesla extras (like Premium Connectivity) as much as we do. Check out our Instant Cash Offer system to get a no-strings-attached offer from our trusted network of dealerships today!