Tesla’s latest Model S makes more range an in-app upgrade

Chris Davies - May 5, 2016, 11:10am CDT
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Tesla’s latest Model S makes more range an in-app upgrade

Tesla is pushing the limits of in-car upgrades, offering some owners of its Model S sedan the option to add more range without changing a single battery or motor. The automaker has quietly been putting its 75 kWh battery pack inside its entry-level Model S, but badging – and selling – the car as the Model S 70, billed as having a 70 kWh pack instead.

Now, 5 kWh may not sound like much, but it’s enough for around 19 miles of range per EPA test conditions. The Model S 70 begins at $71,500 before incentives, and is billed as running for up to 234 miles on a single charge, but for $3,250 Tesla will push new software out that effectively unlocks the extra, unused capacity of the battery.

As a result, you’ve basically converted your car into a Model S 75, and indeed the automaker will even switch the badging on the trunk when you next take the car in for a service.

The 75 kWh version of the car usually carries a $3k premium, so you’re paying $250 more for postponing the decision to go for the larger battery. However Tesla tells The Verge that those who bought a refreshed Model S 70 between April 11 and today can unlock the extra range without having to cough up that little bit of extra cash.

Model_S_Rear_34

It’s not the first time that Tesla has played mix and match with its batteries. The automaker put a larger battery than billed in the original Model S 40, citing such low demand for the smallest range model that developing a specific li-ion pack for it wasn’t cost-effective.

Instead, it had the 60 kWh battery from the more expensive Model S 60, software-limited, and owners could choose to pay to upgrade at a later point.

Similarly, Tesla has offered drivers of cars not yet equipped with Autopilot self-driving functionality the opportunity to trial the feature for a month. After that test period, they can pay $3,000 to add it to their cars, which is again a matter of software since the hardware is installed by default.

NOW READ: Autopilot is the Model 3’s wildcard

For Tesla, standardizing battery sizes to as few variants as possible makes good financial sense. It’s also one of the advantages of connected cars; though flashing the ECU of gasoline and diesel engines has long been used to tweak performance or, conversely, frugality, Tesla is the first to do so remotely.

VIA The Verge


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