Over-the-air software updates aren’t new or exclusive to Tesla. Other automakers have had the ability to update vehicles this way for some time. However, it almost always means a trip to the dealership. In addition, most of the updates that are used or available are minor. For instance, your infotainment system or other in-car electronics could see improvements, etc.
When the Porsche Taycan was first unveiled, it was called the Mission E, and it was to come with software updates much like Tesla uses. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume even went so far as to say that the cars would receive regular over-the-air (OTA) updates every few weeks, which is similar to the situation with Tesla’s vehicles.
Fast-forward to the present, and the Porsche Taycan is sitting in owners’ driveways. While it does have the ability to accept OTA updates, they’re only used for “smaller patches for now.” If there is a major update, you have to take your Taycan into the dealership and allow them to install the update using their “high-speed internet line.”
According to Teslarati, a letter from Porsche about OTA updates was shared on LinkedIn by Nicolas Boehmer. It states:
“The OTA system is already used for updates of a smaller scope. However, for compound updates such as this one, such a large amount of data is transferred that a smooth update in the Porsche Center is ensured with a high-speed line. Subsequently, the function of all control units is verified with a test. With a technology carrier such as the Taycan, the complexity of the systems is at a very high level, so we decided on this procedure.”
However, Tesla’s large and major updates all come over the air via people’s individual Wi-Fi connections, which vary across the globe. It may take a while for the update, just like it does when you update your phone or your computer, but it’s certainly possible.
As legacy automakers look to the future, the dealership model may be a roadblock. Dealers count on customers coming in for fluid changes and other services. They can then create a relationship with them in hopes of “upselling” other products or services. However, with EVs, there may be fewer trips to the dealership. So, even though Porsche, like Tesla, may be able to apply the large OTA updates without a dealer visit, they’re not offering that as an option, at least for now.