The Polestar 3 Is Here: Price, Range and Release Date

The Polestar 3 Is Here: Price, Range and Release Date

Judging from the price, the Polestar 3 is going after BMW and Mercedes-Benz rather than Tesla.

polestar 3 release date

On October 12, Polestar revealed its third model, aptly named the Polestar 3. A lot has changed for the brand since the arrival of the Polestar 2, a smash-hit that propelled the Volvo-owned brand to mainstream success. At last, a Polestar SUV is here. Here’s every detail about the Polestar 3’s price, range, release date. We’ll even delve into the messy EV tax credits!

Polestar’s Model Lineup Is Growing 

Polestar plans to launch one new electric vehicle per year, starting with Polestar 3 – the company’s first electric SUV. The Polestar 3 premiered on October 12, and you can watch the official unveiling here. The Polestar 4 is expected to follow in 2023 as a smaller electric performance SUV coupe. 

In 2024, the Polestar 5 electric performance 4-door GT will launch as the production version of the Polestar Precept unveiled in 2020.

Polestar 3: Made in America

polestar 3 price

The new Polestar 3 will be the first of the brand’s models to be manufactured in the United States. Polestar will build the Polestar 3 at Volvo’s factory in Charleston, South Carolina starting in 2023. The 3 will be made alongside the Volvo EX90, the electric sibling to the Volvo XC90.  However, the price is above the price cap in the revised EV tax credit, so it will not be eligible.

A Premium Electric SUV 

polestar 3 interior
Polestar 3 interior

Fresh off the successes of Polestar’s first mass-market EV, the Polestar 2, the brand is ready to step into America’s most competitive vehicle segment, that of the almighty crossover SUVs. Here’s what Polestar has shared so far:

  • Polestar 3 starts at a price of $83,900. The Polestar 3 Performance starts at $89,900. It will not qualify for US EV tax credits.
  • Range is between 270 and 300 miles (EPA estimate).
  • Charge time is 10% to 80% in 30 minutes.
  • The Polestar 3 will be powered by a new electric powertrain, taking the brand beyond the platform in the Polestar 2 today. This is expected to bring more range, faster charging, and improved battery longevity.
  • A rear-biased dual-motor powertrain will be standard, making all-wheel drive standard. That’s great considering the expected price.
  • It’s powerful: with the Performance package, the Polestar 3 puts out 510 horsepower.
  • It’s comfy: An adaptive suspension system with active dampers will come standard. Performance optioned cars will have sport-tuned suspensions.
  • According to Polestar, the Polestar 3 will, “over time, offer autonomous highway piloting powered by the best-in-class LiDAR sensor from Luminar and centralized NVIDIA computing power.” This suggests that the Polestar 3 will be capable of over-the-air updates.
  • The Polestar 3 will be built in Charleston, South Carolina at Volvo’s factory.

Polestar 3 Range and Battery Size

polestar 3 range

The Long-Range Dual Motor Polestar 3 has an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles. The Performance Package drops range to 270 miles. That’s excellent for an SUV, and is just shy of the Tesla Model Y’s 330 miles of range. 

Battery capacity is 111 kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Charging Speed

The Polestar 3 can charge from 10% to 80% in 30 minutes at a DC fast charger. That would translate to about 210 miles of range added in 30 minutes. That is slightly better than the industry average in 2023.

At a level 2 charger (the kind typically installed at home), the Polestar 3 can charge from empty to 100% in 11 hours. Remember, it charges overnight while you sleep so this is rarely a concern.

polestar 3 charging

Polestar 3 Price and Incentives

The Polestar 3 starts at $83,900 for the base Long-Range Dual Motor version. The Long-Range Dual Motor with Performance package starts at $89,900.

The Polestar 3’s price is far above America’s best-selling EV, the Tesla Model Y. Right now, the Model Y starts at $67,190 with destination fees. 

Polestar 3 price and specs

In Polestar’s early marketing campaign for the 3, the brand has made it crystal clear that this is a premium SUV. Expect premium prices.

See the best electric cars for families in 2023

The Polestar 3 will be made in America, but the price means it’s not eligible for the new EV tax credit, which has a cap of $80,000. See EV tax credit requirements and amounts.

Exterior and Interior Options

polestar 3 colors
Polestar 3 color and wheel options

The Polestar 3 Performance package costs an additional $6,600. The Performance pack increases horsepower to 517 HP, upgrades to 22″ wheels, and gets the gold accents the Polestar brand is known for.

polestar 3 performance package

Interior upgrades include ventilated Nappa leather seats sourced ethically, black ash deco, and massaging seats.

polestar 3 interior

Competitors in 2023

Polestar 3 competitors
2023 Cadillac Lyriq

The 2024 Polestar 3 will compete with a growing list of premium electric crossovers. These are the top contenders for the electric luxury market heading into 2023.

  • Tesla Model Y – Starting at $67,190; 330 miles of range
  • Audi etron – Starting at $72,000; 226 miles of range
  • Fisker Ocean – Deliveries begin in 2023; starts near $40,000 on paper, but vehicles available in 2023 will be higher-spec $70,000 Ocean One models. Up to 350 miles of range
  • Cadillac Lyriq – Starting at $61,795; up to 300 miles of range
  • Genesis GV60 – Starting at $56,395; 248 miles of range
  • BMW iX – Starting at $85,095; 324 miles of range
  • Mercedes EQS SUV – Starting at $104,000; 305 miles of range

Release Date

polestar 3 interior images

Preorders for the Polestar 3 are open now. Deliveries will begin in late 2023, according to the automaker.

Let us know, what do you think about the Polestar 3? Is it worth a price of $83,900? I expect this to remain relatively low volume because of the price alone. Polestar seems to be competing with BMW and Mercedes rather than the big EV leader Tesla.

Check out the fastest-growing EV forum online! You’ll find expert advice and a sense of community that makes navigating car buying and ownership easier and a whole lot more interesting. We hope to see you there!

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The 2022 Polestar 2 is for Fans of a Different Kind of Minimalism

The 2022 Polestar 2 is for Fans of a Different Kind of Minimalism

2022 polestar 2

When Volvo acquired Polestar in 2015, the Swedish brand was known for high-performance sports cars. A short time later, Volvo reimagined Polestar as an all-electric brand that mixes performance and luxury in a very Scandinavian fashion. Today, the Polestar 2 is one of the most sought after electric cars in America. Here’s why drivers are falling in love with Polestar’s take on affordable luxury.

Interior and Exterior Design

The Polestar 2 exudes its kinship with Volvo from every angle, yet the Polestar brand has managed to take on its own identity among EV enthusiasts. With origins in Swedish racing, Polestar is synonymous with style and performance, at least in Europe. In North America, Polestar is unknown to most, however one headline-grabbing Super Bowl commercial improved the brand’s name recognition in the US. 

polestar styling

On the exterior, the Polestar 2 is defined by sharp angles and a slightly elevated posture. Volvo-like headlights and taillights leave no guessing as to the design language. With a ground clearance of 5.9 inches and an overall height of 59 inches, the Polestar 2 is a few inches taller than the Model 3. It’s no crossover, but it provides room to grow that many other electric sedans lack. 

Behind the back seat, there’s 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space. That may not sound like a lot, but the trunk is accessible via a hatchback-like power liftgate. That’s one serious advantage over the Tesla Model 3. Up front, there’s a little frunk with 1.2 cubic feet of storage space. 

Eco-Friendly Interior Meets Minimalism

polestar 2 interior

The Polestar 2’s interior is carefully crafted with eco-friendly accents and fabrics. The main touch points and sight areas are a fusion of wood, fabric, and conservative use of plastic. If you’ve seen the interior of any recent Volvo model, you already have an idea of what the Polestar 2 offers. If anything, the Polestar’s interior breathes minimalism into the Volvo family. Seating is offered in sustainably-sourced cloth upholstery or leather. The performance package throws in polarizing gold seatbelts to brighten up an otherwise dark interior.

polestar 2 interior

If you’re a fan of the Android operating system, Polestar has a treat for you. The digital instrument cluster is presented on a 12-inch horizontal display in front of the driver. Infotainment and climate controls are found on a centrally-located 11.3-inch touchscreen that operates on Google’s Android Automotive operating system. Google Maps is seamlessly integrated into the Polestar 2’s navigation system, and apps are displayed much as they are on any Android phone. 

Polestar 2 Powertrain and Performance

Going electric comes with tradeoffs. Range is still king, at least until DC fast chargers become commonplace in America. Rarely does an electric car offer the best range AND performance on the same spec. That remains true for the Polestar 2. 

Polestar performance

If you foresee the need for maximum range, the single-motor variant is rated for 270 miles. Range comes at the expense of power. The single-motor Polestar 2 cranks out 231 horsepower, which is good for a 0-60 time of around 7 seconds. Speed enthusiasts will be inclined to go for the 408 horsepower all-wheel drive (dual-motor) option. The dual-motor Polestar 2 leaps to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, which is just a hair ‘slower’ than the dual-motor Model 3. The performance package drops that to 4.1 seconds.

Polestar 2 Over-the-Air Updates

Polestar OTA update

You know what Tesla has that other automakers don’t? A superior charging network, a vertically-integrated platform, and seamless over-the-air (OTA) updates. Other OEMs are catching up slowly but surely. Now, Polestar can tout OTA update capability. An OTA update will increase the dual-motor Polestar 2’s horsepower from 408 to 476 HP and torque from 487 to 502 lb-ft. All that’s needed for an OTA update is a secure wireless internet connection.

Polestar 2 Range and Charging

The Polestar 2 is powered by Volvo’s electric Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). A 78.0-kWh lithium-­ion battery pack (75 kWh usable) lies under the floor. The single-motor model has a range of 270 miles, and the dual-motor variant should make it 249 miles on a single charge. Real-world tests have found that highway driving cuts range considerably. Car and Driver’s 75 mpg highway test yielded just 190 miles of range. For comparison, the dual-motor Tesla Model 3 managed 310 miles at 70 mph.

Charging is not one of the Polestar 2’s strengths, at least compared to the major competitors. The powertrain supports DC fast-charging up to 150 kilowatts. That’s similar to the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, but slower than what you’ll get in a Model 3, IONIQ 5 or Kia EV6. Polestar claims a charge time from empty to 80 percent in 40 minutes. 

Charging Incentive

Polestar is providing 2 years of free charging sessions (for 30 minutes per session) to new and existing 2021 and 2022 Polestar 2 customers. For those who travel plenty, this could add up to thousands of dollars saved. Tesla no longer offers a free charging incentive, so keep this in mind in addition to the EV tax incentive. 

How Much Does the Polestar 2 Cost?

Polestar 2 pricing starts at $47,200 including the $1,300 delivery charge. Upgrading to the dual-motor Polestar 2 will tack on $4,000 for a price of $51,200. The performance pack adds performance brakes, suspension upgrades, performance tires and gold (yes, gold) seat belts for an additional $5,000. The $4,000 plus package adds a heat pump for improved cold weather range, and a long list of luxury upgrades. The $3,200 Pilot package includes upgraded driver assistance tech and better LED headlights.

A fully-loaded Polestar 2 will total up to about $70,000 before taxes. Polestar sells direct to consumers (much like Tesla), so don’t expect any negotiating or surprise dealer fees.

Does the Polestar 2 Qualify For the EV Tax Credit?

Yes! All automakers who have not yet reached the 200,000-sale milestone continue to qualify for the $7,500 EV tax credit. Tesla and General Motors electric vehicles no longer qualify, but revisions to the tax credit are under discussion in 2022. Until Polestar grows their sales numbers considerably, their electric models will continue to qualify for this incentive in the US. State incentives may provide additional ways of lowering the total cost of ownership for the Polestar 2. 

What’s Next For Polestar? Polestar 3 Pricing and Specs

Polestar 3

The Polestar 3 electric crossover SUV should arrive in the North American market in the first quarter of 2023. Volvo will make the 3 in America at Volvo’s South Carolina production plant. Polestar has not released many details about the 3, but it is expected to start around $60,000 to $70,000 considering the base MSRPs of the Tesla Model Y, BMX iX, and others. 

The electric vehicle space is heating up, and Volvo’s Polestar brand is going full steam ahead. The Polestar 2 represents a compelling alternative to the best-selling Tesla Model 3. Will Swedish sophistication and sharp looks be enough to propel Polestar into the list of top EV contenders? Time will tell. 

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Electric Car Safety: Here’s What the Data Reveals

Electric Car Safety: Here’s What the Data Reveals

Model 3 crash test

Your opinion of electric vehicles likely depends on which side of the news you’ve seen. If you know anything about the Chevy Bolt hazard, you might even scurry to the other side of the street when you encounter one. But does the data support EV skepticism, or is the big picture something different altogether? Do we even have enough data to draw firm conclusions? It’s important to get down to the facts, and that’s our goal today. Here’s what crash test ratings, vehicle fire statistics and real-world data can tell us about electric car safety in 2022.

EV Crash Test Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conduct standardized crash testing for vehicles that possess the potential to become popular and sell in big numbers. If it’s popular, they’re going to crash it and collect data. These two crash testing programs don’t treat electric vehicles any differently than they would a traditional combustion-powered vehicle. 

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As a refresher, here are the crash tests conducted by the NHTSA and IIHS:

  • Frontal Crash Test
  • Side Pole Crash Test
  • Side Barrier Crash Test
  • Rollover Resistance Test

The following additional tests are conducted by the IIHS:

  • Moderate-Overlap Front
  • Driver’s-Side Small-Overlap Front
  • Passenger-Side Small-Overlap Front
  • Side Impact
  • Roof Strength
  • Head Restraints
Volkswagen ID.4 crash test

How do electric vehicles perform in these crash tests? Take a look at the limited data we have.

EV crash test ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does not provide overall ratings. They instead provide dozens of ratings for many different safety metrics. You can check out their ratings here.

Takeaways From Crash Test Results

Model Y crash test

This data from the NHTSA and IIHS shows that while data is limited (but growing), all EVs tested so far have received excellent solid ratings. In fact, all eight electric models tested by the NHTSA in 2021-2022 earned five-star ratings. Considering that over 70% of EVs sold in the US are Tesla models, these ratings do represent the vast majority of EVs on American roads today. Still, far more testing is needed with so many electric models coming in 2022

The IIHS sees the trends in their own data: EVs are actually making passenger vehicles safer than ever before. In a 2021 IIHS report on electric vehicle safety, they shared what they’ve learned so far.

Evidence is growing that electric vehicles are at least as safe as conventional ones, with two more vehicles that run exclusively on battery power earning safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition, an updated analysis of insurance data shows injury claims are substantially less frequent for such vehicles.”

Those are powerful words from an insurance-minded crash-tester. We definitely need more electric car safety testing. EV sales made up 6.5% of American auto sales in 2021, and that figure is expected to reach or exceed 40% by 2030. One useful safety test would be comparing how long it takes to extinguish a fire for each EV model. I’d love to see that testing implemented for the safety and preparedness of our first responders. 

Are EV Batteries Safe?

Whether you prefer a vehicle that requires gasoline, diesel or battery packs, all vehicles are built to haul around what are essentially concentrated energy sources. That’s how the vehicle converts potential energy in the form of combustible carbon or electrons into kinetic energy to get you from A to B. The latest and greatest battery chemistries pack more power than ever before into battery cells, but they also claim to be safer. However, any concentrated energy source is volatile under certain conditions. That’s why we don’t light matches at the gas pump. What about EV batteries? Are they a fire hazard worthy of extraordinary caution?

The CarEdge team recently dug deep into the latest EV battery fires that have made the news, and our findings certainly shed light on the facts. Here’s a summary of what the data and engineering investigations featured in our EV battery fire report reveal.

Firefighting and DOT Fire Stats

Data compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the US Department of Transportation shows that among all vehicle types, there’s an average of one vehicle fire per 19 million miles driven. Both the NFPA and the Center for Auto Safety say there is not yet a centralized database for electric vehicle fire statistics. In an effort to address the lack of information surrounding EV battery fires, Tesla decided to begin releasing statistics in their annual impact reports.

Data From Tesla

Tesla’s 2020 Impact Report says that from 2012-2020, there’s been one Tesla fire per 205 million miles traveled. The fact that Tesla models made up 79% of American EV sales in 2020 highlights the relevance of their data. Unfortunately, other automakers haven’t released comparable data (we’re looking at you GM!). We’re hopeful that will change soon.

Electric car safety - Tesla fire data

Source: Tesla

This comparison doesn’t hide the fact that one other EV model has had major problems. The ongoing Chevrolet Bolt recall is costing GM and battery supplier LG a few billion dollars to resolve. There have also been sporadic incidents with other EVs. The Hyundai Kona briefly made headlines with multiple fires, but a fix was quickly implemented. It seems like every Tesla fire makes it into the news, even though there are not many. 

Despite the statistics showing just how rare and isolated the events are, EV fires are real, and every one is worthy of proper investigation. The same goes for any vehicle fire. 

Electric Vehicle Fire Hazards: First Responders

Electric Silverado electric car safety
2024 Silverado EV WT

Although Tesla’s data suggests that EVs are less prone to car fires than combustion vehicles, there are major safety concerns for the firefighters who extinguish the flames when an EV fire does occur. Firefighters need special training to learn how to safely approach EV-related incidents, but only two-thirds of departments have had the opportunity due to funding constraints. Automakers need to come forward and support our first responders with training and resources to prepare for the electrification of the auto industry.

EV fires require A LOT more water to extinguish. Tesla’s First Responders Guide recommends 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water on hand to put out a Tesla fire. Some fires have needed 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish. Basically, firefighters have to do whatever it takes to cool down the battery, and that’s really hard to do with so much energy densely packed into the pack. Once the fire appears fully extinguished, there’s a chance it could still flare up, even days later. Towing services and junkyards are advised to park damaged electric vehicles at least 50 feet from other vehicles in the yard. As EVs become more popular, that might not be feasible in just a few years.

EV Unintended Acceleration: What We Know

When cars launch full-speed ahead without warning, we have a major problem. Fortunately, that has not been proven to have occurred following dozens of investigations over the years. A number of serious accidents involving EVs have resulted in drivers claiming that the car accelerated on its own. Tesla vehicles have faced these accusations for years, but investigations have never found evidence of unintended acceleration. Plus, Tesla EVs are computers on wheels, and they maintain very detailed logs of all driver inputs. These logs are thoroughly inspected in every investigation. 

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that reports of sudden unintended acceleration involving four different Tesla models were due to user error. In other words, the driver mistakenly smashed the accelerator pedal. With so much torque and instant feedback, that’s enough to launch a Tesla like a rocket. Depending on where that rocket is aimed, it could go launching right into harm’s way. The lesson here? Powerful EVs demand more attention than some drivers are used to. Electric car safety features can only go so far if drivers are careless or over confident.

Hyundai recently recalled 2,700 2017-2019 Ioniq electric vehicles (the generation prior to the all-new Hyundai IONIQ 5) to correct a rare but scary defect that may cause the Ioniq to accelerate after the driver releases the accelerator pedal when in ‘limp mode.’ With no accidents reported, it appears as though Hyundai got ahead of this issue before anything tragic happened. As far as we (and the US government) know, no EVs have accelerated on their own without driver input. 

Tesla Autopilot Safety

2022 Tesla Model Y electric car safety

This is another headline grabber for Tesla. Anytime there’s a crash involving a Tesla on autopilot, it’s sure to make the news. Tesla Autopilot certainly has its faults, notably ‘phantom braking’ and difficulties with poor visibility. However, Tesla keeps track of their accident data from all Tesla vehicles worldwide, and this is what they’ve found as of December 2021:

In the 4th quarter, we recorded one crash for every 4.31 million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology (Autosteer and active safety features). For drivers who were not using Autopilot technology (no Autosteer and active safety features), we recorded one crash for every 1.59 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles.”

Although this is not independently verified, it’s intriguing data to say the least. Could Tesla Autopilot really be safer than human drivers? Considering that 15% of motor vehicle accidents in the US are attributed to driver distraction, it may not be all that surprising. More automakers are offering level 2 autonomous driving features. As Autopilot-like technology increases, electric car safety will be under the microscope. Learn more about Tesla’s annual safety report here

CarEdge’s Take

Our goal at CarEdge is to provide you with factual information that’s useful for your decision-making process as you consider your next vehicle purchase. Why do we cover EVs so intently? Because industry insights show that major automakers are dead set on electrifying their entire lineups by 2035 at the latest. From Ford to GM and everyone in between, the story is the same. With hundreds of billions of dollars going towards EV development, it’s important to hold automakers accountable with such a nascent technology. 

Over 2 million EVs are already on American roads and global EV sales totaled 4.5 million in 2021 alone. This is just the beginning. Sales of electric vehicles are expected to rise 75% to more than 8 million in 2022. Electric car safety is more important than ever. Are EVs safe? So far, it looks like electric vehicles are at least as safe as combustion vehicles. But when things go awry, EV fires are far more difficult to extinguish than what we’ve seen in the past, and that’s a concern worth addressing promptly at all costs. If you’re thinking about going electric for your next vehicle purchase, rest assured that EVs from Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai-Kia and others are ranked up there with the very best in the entire industry. 

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Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates: How Automakers Are Betting on Software to Keep Up With the Pace of Innovation

Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates: How Automakers Are Betting on Software to Keep Up With the Pace of Innovation

2024 Silverado EV
2024 Silverado EV RST

At what point does a car become more of a computer on wheels? Computer integration in the automotive industry is nothing new, however it’s accelerating at breakneck speed. Both software and hardware become outdated in no time at all. Is there a way for car buying habits to steer clear of the two-year replacement cycle that smartphones have fallen into? 

As soon as computers grew wheels (in the form of electric vehicles), forward-thinking automakers launched over-the-air (OTA) update capabilities. Tesla was the first to do it, and now the likes of Ford, GM and Volkswagen are among the legacy OEMs marketing their vehicles as OTA-ready. Although, not all who’ve tried it have succeeded without hiccups. Here’s how OTA updates are changing car ownership, and what’s to come in the years ahead. 

What Is an Over-the-Air (OTA) Update?

EV charging costs

You know when your phone gives you a push notification about scheduling a time to install the latest software updates and bug fixes? Well, cars can do that too now. OTA updates are not just for software fixes. With OTA capability, vehicles can receive enhanced performance and safety improvements via a simple wireless internet connection. 

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OTA updates eliminate the need for making a service center visit for many simple fixes and updates. The updates are sent and downloaded via access to a cloud-based server with a wireless internet connection. Many updates are free of charge, and all safety enhancements are at no cost. However, we are entering a new era where OTA presents a new revenue stream for car makers.

Everyone’s getting in on the subscription business, and the auto industry is no different. There are two kinds of OTA updates: those for infotainment, and those for vehicle performance and control. They may target either software or firmware, the latter of which required more advanced security protocols to implement.

Infotainment OTA Updates

Head up display Kia EV6
2022 Kia EV6

Infotainment updates improve the user experience. A classic example is how Volkswagen ID.4 owners are pleading for an improved infotainment performance after the original equipment was delivered with a laggy touchscreen and haptic buttons. Fortunately for ID.4 owners, the car is among VW’s first generation of OTA-capable models, and a fix is on the way. 

Sometimes, OTA revisions cause frustration and even anger from customers. Tesla recently pushed the Version 11 user interface to all of it’s vehicles via over-the-air download. The result was strong critical feedback from customers, most of whom were complaining about the automaker trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.

Vehicle Performance and Control OTA Updates

GM Ultium battery
GM Ultium Battery and Powertrain

How is it that the 2023 Tesla Model 3 has a quicker 0-60 time now than it had when it was first purchased? Or how Tesla vehicles can gain or lose access to the controversially-named ‘full self-driving’ based on driver safety scores? With OTA capability, automakers can send everything from a power boost to a pedestrian avoidance feature to cars already in driver’s hands. 

Vehicle performance and control updates can include updates to the vehicle’s powertrain, chassis systems, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Of course, updates to these critical components of a vehicle are only possible when the components are electronically controlled and operated. For this reason, an older car model can’t be retrofitted to become OTA capable. 

Examples of fixes and improvements automakers have installed via OTA

  • Tesla offers an ‘acceleration boost’ for the popular Model Y that lowers the 0-60 time from 4.8 to 4.2 seconds
  • Tesla regularly updates the ‘full self-driving’ upgrade, which is currently in beta testing
  • The Cadillac Escalade has received GM’s first big OTA update to improve the SuperCruise hands-free driver assistance (ADAS) technology
  • Ford delayed the release of a major OTA update for the BlueCruise hands-free driver assistance (ADAS) technology 
  • Volkswagen released the first of a series of promised software updates targeted at improving the infotainment experience

Which Automakers Offer OTA Updates?

Tesla was the first automaker to roll out over-the-air capabilities with the launch of the Model S in 2012. After years of skepticism from the competition, here are the other OEMs that have announced or commenced OTA updates in their vehicles:

AutomakerOTA-Upgraded Components
BMWInfotainment, optional features
FordADAS, several other components
General MotorsNearly every vehicle component on EVs, major components on combustion vehicles
HyundaiInfotainment, voice assistance
Jaguar/Land RoverInfotainment, charging capabilities
LucidNearly every vehicle component and system
Mercedes-BenzInfotainment, navigation
PolestarNearly every vehicle component and system
PorscheLimited functions
RivianNearly every vehicle component and system
Stellantis (FCA)Infotainment
TeslaNearly every vehicle component and system
VolkswagenSeveral vehicle components and systems on EVs
VolvoNearly every vehicle component and system

Are OTA Updates Safe?

2023 Cadillac Lyriq
2023 Cadillac Lyriq

We’re used to having virus protection on our computers. If we don’t, bad guys will find a way to compromise the computer and access personal information. Are the same security and privacy concerns applicable to automotive OTA updates? 

Since OTA updates require a wireless internet connection to install, there are risks for malware and the unintended release of personal information. The best way to protect yourself from these risks is to only accept OTA updates while connected to a secure network, such as the wifi network at your home. Don’t try updating your car at the fast food or coffee shop drive thru!

What’s Next?

EV charging costs
2022 Volkswagen ID.4

Over-the-air updates are about to take the auto industry by storm. Now that major OEMs are proudly marketing their ability to improve the user experience (which itself sounds like they’re selling more of a tech product than a car), a paradigm shift is at hand. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess recently told The Verge about VW’s plan for a reimagined future where the relationship between the automaker and customers is more intimate and dynamic with the power of OTA updates and new ways of customizing the ownership experience.

Imagine: for a long time, we did not have access to a customer as a company. The customer access was exclusively with our retail network. What we experienced over time was that people walk away from our retail outlets and go to third parties to substitute some of the spare parts or buy new tires. Now, we have a new opportunity to be in direct contact with the customer, which is totally new for us.

New Revenue Streams for Automakers

Not only is the largest automaker in the world committing to OTA capability, the likes of Ford, GM and even tech-cautious Toyota are joining the bandwagon too. Will OTA updates remain a free upgrade for millions of car owners? Unfortunately, that’s already slipping away. Tesla offers acceleration boost upgrades for its popular Model Y for $2,000, and Toyota recently tried making customers pay for remote start, a feature that is OTA-controlled. 

Even the CEO over at Volkswagen Group acknowledges the new money-making avenues made possible by software updates, telling The Verge that eventually, customers will have to pay for what they want.

We have that revenue in mind for sure as well. Customers will be prepared for some features they didn’t buy at the start, probably after a few years or after a few months — even if they consider taking another option or another software feature, the customers would be prepared to pay a monthly fee or a one-time expenditure.”

CarEdge’s Take

There are advantages and disadvantages of OTA update capabilities, but it seems that the advantages far outweigh any negatives that may come with this game-changing technology. As Tesla has shown the industry, there’s a future not too far away when most recalls may be fixed via a quick overnight update, and vehicles get better over time, helping them to retain resale value.

Are you ready to treat your vehicle more like a smartphone than a means of transportation? What do you think the outcome of this major industry shift will be for consumers, dealers and automakers? Will dealerships falter without the steady stream of vehicle service that they’re used to? Only time will tell.