Will ‘connected cars’ persuade drivers to pay for a high-spec ride?

This time it had reset the vehicle to its original 60kWh range (about 215 miles), a big drop from the 90kWh (more than 300 miles) its battery was capable of following repairs under warranty a few years before. Tesla wanted $4,500 to change the car back to the longer range, in what has been labelled battery ransom…

Tesla is by no means the only carmaker to have irked potential buyers with features (of the kind available at zero upfront cost on a smartphone) that can be withdrawn if you don’t pay your dues. Mercedes-Benz charges £19 a year for the ability to access a to-do list and calendar through the dashboard. Volkswagen charges £590 for the navigation upgrade for recent models.

Those are software downloads, but a subscription-like “microtransaction” model is also creeping into cars’ hardware. BMW has started offering heated seats for £15 a month in the UK: the technology is installed but is usable only if paid for upfront or monthly.