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Tesla waits for no one — not even its customers, Musk suggests in a tweet

Why it matters to you

While most carmakers try to keep things consistent for the sake of longevity, Tesla seems to have no qualms asking its customers to make new purchases every year or so.

If you were hoping that your Tesla would be the last car you’d ever buy, Tesla’s CEO has a message for you — it’s not. At least, not if you want to stay up to speed with the latest updates and innovations. For buyers looking for a car that can transcend the test of time, a single Tesla may not be the way to go (though no one car would be). In fact, Teslas will probably be getting major updates every 12 to 18 months, according to Elon Musk.

On Saturday, the serial entrepreneur took to Twitter to discuss the cadence of his car company’s update schedule, and it’s one that is slated to move at a breakneck pace. Musk made his position known in a reply to a tweet asking about the potential for paid upgrades for customers who want their older Teslas to get the latest sensors, computers, and technology now available in the HW2-equipped Teslas (by the way, those HW2 cars saw autopilot rolled out yesterday, as tweeted by Musk).

Musk added, “If we applied resources to doing super complex retrofits, our pace of innovation would drop dramatically,” noting that there’s simply no easy way of “replacing 300+ parts.” In essence, if you want the most up-to-date Tesla, you’ll have to keep buying new Teslas.

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That may be frustrating for customers, especially those who are more accustomed to the update schedule of more traditional automakers. As TechCrunch points out, you can generally expect cars to remain relatively consistent in their design and functionality for up to five years — sure, a few tweaks are made here and there, but there are no “major revs” as Musk describes that happen every year or so. Moreover, the rather hefty price tag of the Tesla would seem to make buying a new one every 18 months somewhat difficult.

In any case, whether we like it or not, this seems to be the philosophy Musk and his futuristic car company have adopted in their trek forward. If you’re willing to accept that technology moves faster than your wallet may want it to, Tesla agrees with you.