The dashboard, once the place where drivers checked their speed or changed the radio station, is fast becoming the car's most valuable real estate, as automakers seek to generate new revenue through wirelessly delivered services, features and upgrades.
The upgrades can include everything from in-dash apps up to software for electronic control units to reprogram a car's functionality and driving characteristics.
Tesla is leading the way, with downloadable extras such as Premium Connectivity for $9.99 (about 9 euros) a month or Acceleration Boost to Model 3 owners for a one-time charge of $2,000. And some current Teslas are upgradeable to the Full Self-Driving Capability function -- when and if that appears -- at a planned price of $7,000.
German premium brands are also expanding their digital upgrade offerings. Audi plans to sell e-tron owners an enhanced exterior digital lighting system through the Audi Connect portal. BMW's top package in its Connected Drive online store, at 279 euros, includes over-the-air map updates and online speech processing.