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Tesla's $500 'Radio Upgrade' restores FM and Sirius XM access

Its $2,500 infotainment system upgrade removed people's access to AM, FM and Sirius radio.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
October 29, 2020
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Earlier this year, Tesla started offering owners of older Model S and Model X vehicles the option to upgrade their infotainment systems for $2,500. Purchasing it gives them access to features found in the newer version of the system, including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Twitch streaming via Tesla Theater, as well as Tesla Arcade’s games. While it won’t affect users’ access to internet radio and music streaming, it removes their access to AM, FM and Sirius XM radio. As Electrek reports, though, the automaker will give customers the option to get their radio back — for an additional $500, that is.

In its upgrade page, Tesla said the new infotainment system “is not compatible with the original radio tuner that came equipped on” the older vehicles. Starting in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company will offer customers a $500 “Radio Upgrade” option to restore FM radio and Sirius XM radio on their vehicles if they had previously bought the $2,500 infotainment upgrade. Tesla will install a compatible radio tuner and antennas on their EVs to make that happen. The company says, however, that it’ll be impossible to restore their access to AM radio.

Tesla recommends having both upgrade installations done at the same time to make things easier, but those who already got the new infotainment system can still get the radio upgrade on its own. As for why Tesla didn’t just include radio capabilities with the infotainment upgrade, it explains in the FAQ page that not all owners use their FM radios. The company wanted to provide a lower-priced option for them, Tesla wrote on the page, which means it wouldn’t have bundled the radio upgrade with the $2,500 package to begin with.

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