> It is kinda amazing that Elon Musk is selling cars based on speculative future breakthroughs in technology. That must be a first.
But promising things based on speculation about the future is not new, it's common practice. It may be a questionable idea, but the claim was that it's unusual. It's not.
Cheating, i.e. Dieselgate, doesn't count. That was not a promised feature, this was outright fraud.
Volkswagen has been advertising their EV charging network (Electrify America), promising to expand availability in the future:
If you buy one of their electric cars planning to use it, you're assuming they're actually going to build it, and if you live near one of the proposed sites, actually build that one in particular.
And this is hardly new. Ford Sync is more than a decade old, but when it came out they were advertising all the things you could theoretically do with it, many of which were contingent on third parties writing apps for it. Some of that actually happened, some of it didn't, but it wasn't all there on day one.