Forums

Tesla’s crazy response to getting maps updates over LTE or service center WiFi

Tesla’s crazy response to getting maps updates over LTE or service center WiFi

We haven’t been able to get the recent maps updates on either of our 2 cars (2017 S and X) because we live in an apartment and park in an underground garage with obviously no WiFi but surprisingly strong LTE reception. We get all the firmware updates over LTE, albeit typically with a 1-2 week delay.

I emailed Tesla the other day about this issue and got this crazy response. I offered to reimburse them the $10 per car for LTE data, which this guy claims would bankrupt and cripple the company, but all he had to say was “park at Starbucks.” They seriously want us to park outside a Starbucks (they shut off their Wi-Fi at night and most wont let you park near them overnight to begin with!) for days or weeks on end to get map updates that they can easily push via LTE at a relatively small cost?! Thoughts on how to handle this?

“Sorry to hear that you are having trouble getting the new maps update pushed to your vehicle! Definitely want you to get updates when they become available, however, it is not feasible or sustainable for us to push map updates over LTE due to the costs Tesla would incur as a result. Map files are multiple gigabytes in size.

Similar to your expensive data plan, Tesla also has to pay for the LTE connection in your vehicle, thus we cannot offer this option. There are many owners who request this, and if we obliged then you can possibly imagine the exponential costs we would incur as a result.

Similarly, we cannot offer service center WiFi because we have to use the connections therein for local and remote service. As such, allowing customers to download map updates via this option would slow down the entire network within the service center, overloading bandwidth and preventing resolution of other customer issues.

Lastly, there are currently 200,000 vehicles that could hypothetically receive LTE map updates. Imagining it would cost Tesla $10 minimum per map update via LTE, which would cost approximately $2,000,000; you can quickly see why this would be problematic for our future as a business.

The best existing option may be for you connect at a Starbucks if you don’t have any other convenient method of connecting your Tesla to WiFi. I regret that we cannot provide your desired resolution, but I hope the information provided herein helps clarify our position on this matter.

Best,

Scott McCarthy | Executive Care

12832 Frontrunner Blvd | Draper, UT 84020”

Bighorn | April 8, 2018

I've been saying that wifi is necessary for this download--now you know why.

EVRider | April 8, 2018

If you have an unlimited data plan for your phone, you can make it a WiFi hotspot and connect your car to that. Since you park in a parking garage, you’d probably have to leave your phone in the car; not ideal, but possible.

Warkovision | April 8, 2018

There maybe something I'm missing here being 65 years old and not nearly as techno saavy but given the fact that it's basically a mobile computer on wheels couldn't Tesla have a system whereby they update the car's OS so registered owners could log onto the website and just download updates to a laptop or thumb drive and update the Model S, 3, or X, using the car's USB port? That seems like it might help reduce the problems of people not being able to get the latest and greatest when they wanted it. Or is it some sort of other Tesla Motors "control" issue??

carlk | April 8, 2018

That makes sense. That's probably the reason of the recently mentioned feature that will allow one to start the update by clicking a button. I just can't imagine there is a Tesla owner who does not have access of WiFi or hot spot in some way.

Uncle Paul | April 8, 2018

For regular updates Tesla foots the bill if you do not have Wi-Fi available, however for an update as huge as this one they request you find a Wi-Fi source, then begin your download.

That hotspot created by your phone might work out well for you as well.

I know from traveling that everyone wants to search out a free Wi-Fi to get their data. If they need to spend a couple bucks they tend to delay those downloads.

Bill_75D | April 8, 2018

Do what EVRider suggested, and let us know if it worked.

MelaniaFromBrentwood | April 8, 2018

@Bill_75D @EVRider Thanks and agree!

I have put my phone in hotspot mode for literally 5 days, left it in one car, and connected both cars (at home, just one car at work because my wife works somewhere else) to my iPhone hotspot, leaving me completely phone-less except for once-a-day charging sessions at home. Despite this, because there is NO way to trigger a “guaranteed” maps/nav update (sounds like Elon will only allow triggering firmware updates), I might need to be without my phone for weeks on end. That’s obviously not a reasonable solution. We paid $100k for each car. What’s a $10 data charge for cars that don’t ever connect to WiFi? And again, I’m HAPPY to reimburse them. The only other solution is to buy a dedicated hotspot and pay for a separate data plan, which makes zero sense. No?

murphyS90D | April 8, 2018

My car has its very own wireless access point in my garage located about 10 feet from the car.
The speed is 200 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up hard wired to the access point.
The car is still on 2018.6.1 which it got on March 7.

Bighorn | April 8, 2018

Any friend's with a house and garage/driveway? You might get them to push the map when you're connected. Service has arranged for FW pushes to me--I think they just call CA to initiate it.

spineeric | April 8, 2018

@MelaniaFromBrentwood (and husband)

What firmware version are you currently on? I am still on 10.4 and waiting for 10.12. I have strong Wifi in my garage, but I have not received notification that the Software Update is available. If you're already on 10.12 and waiting for the maps update, then I can see how finding a location with free Wifi can be a good idea. Starbucks, McDonalds, Home Depot all might have Wifi strong enough for you to park there and download the maps update.

If you're still on 10.4, like I am, having strong Wifi doesn't mean you will receive the software update any sooner, right? I just wait until I see the message on my phone that a Software Update is available....then I rush out to my car!

Muzzman1 | April 8, 2018

We are up in porter ranch, you're welcome to park over here to get the update, but I think if you were to setup a hotspot with your phone, connect the car to it, leave it in there overnight, you will get the update.

barrykmd | April 8, 2018

The problem is there's no way to trigger the map update, so a temporary wifi connection doesn't help.

I have a wifi connection when parked and still on 2018.6.1.

BH - thinking about retirement and already misplacing apostrophes!?

DRFLGD | April 8, 2018

I have Wi-Fi at my home and it is connected continuously, and AFAICT, I still have not gotten either the .12 or nav updates.

bill | April 8, 2018

@MelaniaFromBrentwood

I have the same issue during the winter, I actually do not have good LTE in my underground garage. On several occasions the updates tried to download, failed and required a trip to the service center (80 miles away)to have them cleared out and downloaded by a technician.

For 10.4 after calling I was told it had failed and was waiting for a stronger connection. I drove to a place that had WIFI and parked as close to the building as possible and had 3 WIFI bars after connecting, I called support and was able to get them to initiate the download and they offered to stay on the line and let me know how it was going since you have no way of knowing it is even downloading. It took 30 minutes to download 95% and then stayed there for another 45 minutes at which time I left. They could not figure out why it was stuck other then telling me my connection was week. It took a week to finish the download over LTE.

What I have learned is you have to call Tesla to find out if your download is stuck. If you are going to try and park near a hot spot call them and ask them to initiate the download. If they say they can't ask to speak to a supervisor.

Things I have suggested to Tesla,

When a update is ready for download display a notice and show the progress so you know what is going on.
Since we know Tesla can connect a laptop and load a update at the SC make that option available to owners.
Even better would be to have the Tesla App be able to download the update to your phone and send it to the car.

In the mean time I would suggest that owners call support starting a week after they know someone got a new version. I suspect a lot of you will find out there is a technical issue that needs to be resolved.

Also if Tesla starts to get a lot of calls about updates they are likely to address the problem with one of the several possible solutions. Otherwise they have no incentive to take on another project.

rxlawdude | April 8, 2018

"... couldn't Tesla have a system whereby they update the car's OS so registered owners could log onto the website and just download updates to a laptop or thumb drive and update the Model S, 3, or X, using the car's USB port?"
Bad idea. Exposing the data structures in a downloadable file would open things up to mischief and hacking.

"Even better would be to have the Tesla App be able to download the update to your phone and send it to the car."
Yes, that is a better, more secure method. But anyone sophisticated enough to hack could find the file containing the "package" and potentially introduce unwanted code.

grins.va | April 8, 2018

@MelaniaFromBrentwood - FWIW Verizon has a hotspot called a Jetpack which after purchase costs about $10.00 per month. It uses 3G/LTE to create a WiFi spot in your Tesla. Plug it in to your power socket or USB port you can get the downloads and keep your phone free for your own use.

bill | April 8, 2018

@rxlawdude

The current method is also subject to Hackers intercepting the download while it travels over the internet. The only real protection for any of this is encryption which is not perfect.

rxlawdude | April 8, 2018

@bill, that's true. But it's encrypted during the travel path and that issue would be no different than hacking the signal for any updates sent OTA for the past six years.

It is very low risk compared to providing a file (and code to tell the car to load it).

bill | April 8, 2018

@rxlawdude

IMHO the risk is not significantly greater if any at all and definitely not a reason to not fix a problem faced by many owners.

bill | April 8, 2018

@rxlawdude

And it could be made more secure by beefing up the car end so there is no need to transmit a loader. Each car could also use a unique key to decrypt the download so that cracking one download would only be good for that one car.

bill | April 8, 2018

@rxlawdude

And it could be made more secure by beefing up the car end so there is no need to transmit a loader. Each car could also use a unique key to decrypt the download so that cracking one download would only be good for that one car.

Bighorn | April 8, 2018

@barry
That wasn't meant for you:) Now you went and scared off JT again!

EVRider | April 8, 2018

@MelaniaFromBrentwood: You didn’t say whether you already had the 2018.12 update, which you should be able to get without WiFi. If you don’t have that version yet, there’s no need to use a WiFi hotspot for the maps yet, because 2018.12 will come first, at least based on what others have said.

MelaniaFromBrentwood | April 8, 2018

@spineeric @EVRider @everyone - thanks so much for the tips -- our X is on 2018.10.4, so never got the 2018.12 update, but our AP2.0 S is on 2018.12 - problem is there's no way for me to know when I'll get the maps download, so I could easily waste countless hours of time trying to get this, even if I go to great lengths/expense to create a hotspot with my phone.

As mentioned before, would be SO easy for them to allow us to load the updates (firmware, nav, maps) onto our Tesla phone apps and use the phones to push firmware to the car.... or do so via USB (download online from Tesla.com). But to make it nearly impossible to get it because they don't want to be out $10 in data overage charges is laughable... especially in the era of unlimited data.

Just for that, I'll leave my car on 24/7 streaming kids' music to use up their data in retaliation ;)

Uncle Paul | April 8, 2018

Elon has announced that if you want an available update, you should be able to contact them and they will work out the details to get it to you.

Tesla offeres the downloads at no cost for neither the upgrade nor the data consumed.

Your only responsibility is to park your car in a location where they can communicated with it to install the update.

This new map one seems to be a biggie. Wi-fi works best for biggies.

PBEndo | April 8, 2018

@rx and bill
The real risk is in enabling the usb port for firmware updates. Opening that vector would allow for all sorts of attacks.

bill | April 8, 2018

I am thinking you could use blue tooth or expose a ethernet connector you could plug into your PC. As for USB Tesla could format the stick first, with a warning, so it could make sure the stick is clean. Then you plug it into your car so seems pretty secure.

rxlawdude | April 8, 2018

I'm with @PB on this one. Way too much risk on the USB ports.

bill | April 8, 2018

Seems to me WIFI is much less secure.

Mfox7044 | April 8, 2018

One more data point. I downloaded 2018.12 almost a week ago on my 2017 Model S 75 AP 2.0. The car then sat for 4 days at an airport (no wifi). No new nav upon returning. The car spent last night connected to wifi in my garage. Still no new nav this morning. After driving 30 miles today and spending maybe 10 minutes in a Starbucks (car not connected to wifi) I returned to the car and magic, there it is.

I concur with all the praise that has been given to the new software. I live in a newer neighborhood with roads that were not known to the old nav, and now they are all in the database. Speed limits that were wrong on the old nav are still wrong with the new, but at least now I have a way to communicate that to Tesla.

PBEndo | April 8, 2018

@bill
you are focusing on the payload when the much greater security risk is the route. Enabling the USB ports for data uploads opens a new vector for attacks that are completely unrelated to the maps update.

fy | April 8, 2018

I also had the problem of bad WiFi both at home and at work. I made my iPad into a hotspot, and left it plugged in and sitting in the car for a couple of days. Seems to have worked.

I do wish that there were some way to tell Tesla "now would be a good time to do that update" or "what is the status of the update."

SbMD | April 8, 2018

@PB + 100

Some interesting articles on this particular topic. The protocols used in Tesla's OTA updates are extremely secure and highly resistant to hackers. I am not aware of any published white paper on hacking a Tesla via the wifi/LTE/3G OTA method. By securing the USB ports from user-initiated access prevents portals for vulnerabilities which could exploit a number of known hardware hacks of these ports. Tesla keeps these tightly locked up with respect to accessing the car's systems.

bill | April 8, 2018

I am currently parked behind a Tesla Store charging my car and I have a week WIFI signal. I called Tesla support and asked them about the status of the map update for my car. He said it is currently downloading and is at 1%. It has been parked there for over an hour so it looks like I would have to leave it there for days to get it.

The support guy also insisted that the new UI for Navigation has not been enabled yet. I told him that several users are reporting getting an update with release notes saying it has a new UI and they are seeing differences with the old system. But he still did not believe me!

Frightening that we know more then their support people!!!!!

bill | April 8, 2018

I am going to see if I can get an appointment later this week at the SC and have them download it for me. If I don't I don't think I will ever get it. Tesla Support said if you try to download it using public WIFI hot spots it is highly unlikely you will be successful.

reed_lewis | April 8, 2018

Do not worry too much. I connect to WiFi every single night with my gigabit internet connection, and about 50 mbps 802.11G connection and still have not gotten the new maps updates.

So just because you are only on LTE does not explain why you have not gotten it.

kwen197 | April 8, 2018

I received new Navigation from Tesla on April 6th . It appeared on my center screen 4 days after my 2nd .12 download.
What ever your wait time is I am sure you will like it, when you get it.

bill | April 8, 2018

@reed_lewis: Tesla Support said that it will not download on LTE.

If you have been hooking up to fast WIFI every night I suspect something else is preventing you from getting the update. Worth a call to Support to check.

Silver2K | April 8, 2018

I'm connected to my wifi extender with a full signal in my garage and haven't gotten the map update or any updates. i seem to only get updates at service when done manually.

i think I'm banned! :)

bp | April 9, 2018

We've been hearing the excuse about limited bandwidth for years, even dating back to the first production Model S cars - as a reason why Tesla limited the distribution of updates, because they didn't have the bandwidth to update all cars at the same time.

And yet, when they needed to push an emergency update to immediately disable the automatic air suspension after a car ran over a trailer hitch and the battery pack caught on fire, everyone got that update over a weekend.

With the rapid increase of Tesla vehicles as they sell the lower priced 3 & Y models, Tesla will need to figure this out - and provide enough bandwidth to distribute updates to vehicles, in a reasonable time frame (days not weeks or months).

Other companies have figured this out (Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Apple, ...).

It's more likely the real excuse is that Tesla doesn't have 100% confidence in the current release, and is following their standard practice of dribbling the release out to a small batches of cars, let those owners do "post release" beta testing, and when they stop seeing major showstopper bugs, they'll accelerate deployment.

And once Tesla implements what Musk claims they'll be providing soon - the ability to request updates be sent to your car, owners will have more control over how long they'll have to wait to get new updates.

MarylandS85 | April 9, 2018

Google and Apple have hundreds of millions or maybe billions of users each. It’s easy to beta test such software, as if even <1% of people opt to be beta testers, you have millions of people from whom to gather feedback.

Tesla has a few hundred thousand cars on the road total. Of course they can’t be as confident about software release glitch debugging. They will necessarily “dribble” software updates for this reason. I don’t see this as a problem. I’d rather they do this than mass release glitchy software.

Silver2K | April 9, 2018

"And yet, when they needed to push an emergency update to immediately disable the automatic air suspension after a car ran over a trailer hitch and the battery pack caught on fire, everyone got that update over a weekend."

You cant compare gigs to a few KB. Even if you could, that was a safety update, not a map update that can wait.

tes-s | April 9, 2018

This is way off the mark.

"Similarly, we cannot offer service center WiFi because we have to use the connections therein for local and remote service. As such, allowing customers to download map updates via this option would slow down the entire network within the service center, overloading bandwidth and preventing resolution of other customer issues."

Unless I misunderstood, I thought the opposite was true. They have the Tesla wifi programmed in, and when the car connects with that wifi (or based on location) it automatically downloads the updates - so even if you just came in to pick up some parts or drop off cookies, it would download the update. There is absolutely no way a firmware or map update to multiple cars is going to impede the service center in any way.

Silver2K | April 9, 2018

Unless they set a limit to bandwidth to each connection, it would certainly bog down their Network if a few cars are downloading gigs at the same time.

Silver2K | April 9, 2018

PS: drop off fresh fruit not cookies!

murphyS90D | April 9, 2018

My car was at a service center on March 15 for the second year service. That took most of the day. No updates were downloaded to the car in spite of the following from the invoice.

Performed 2nd annual service on vehicle.
- Pulled logs and checked for active faults: No active faults.
- Checked firmware version: Updated to latest version

It had 2018.6.1 when it went in and it still has 2018.6.1

ktslab | April 9, 2018

I don't disagree with the TELSA support in regards to the reason of WIFI connection required for the map update.

but the response can be written in a more sympathetic way.

I have a 2018 MS 100D, no update yet but as long as the current NAV does not bother me, I'm cool to wait it out.

Run4Waffles | April 9, 2018

@tes-s “They have the Tesla wifi programmed in, and when the car connects with that wifi (or based on location) it automatically downloads the updates”

Nope. Not true.

Run4Waffles | April 9, 2018

+1 @PBEndo

bill | April 9, 2018

@Silver2k "i think I'm banned! :)"

It worked!

Pages