First Click: all cars should be as upgradeable as Teslas

March 20th, 2015


Ask a gearhead how a car performs and she’ll likely respond with detailed parameters related to 0 to 60 acceleration, raw horsepower, or stopping distance. Useful to know, sure, but not likely to be experienced outside of the rare obstacle avoidance, be it roadkill or the 5-0. The experience I care about is how the car performs in the mundanity of the commuter slog. That 20 minute drive you repeat over and over and over until your youth is but a memory. How does it integrate with my phone? Is there entertainment in the back seat to quell a kid. Is there a place for my beer? And the experience had better be upgradeable over the ten years I’ll own it. If I can change the user experience on my $700 smartphone, then I sure as hell should be able to update any $20,000 car in 2k15.

Tesla set the bar for what software can do ever since its first over-the-air firmware update was issued in 2012. It’s also setting expectations for new car buyers, regardless of make. Saddled with range anxiety? Don’t be, there’s an app for that. 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds not fast enough for you? Install the go-faster update. Don’t like the user interface? That’ll change, and you’ll get an autopilot too.

Unfortunately, Tesla’s the exception not the rule.

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