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It's not all the time that an automaker decides to make major changes to a vehicle within the first year of production. Sure, Honda just refreshed their new Civic one year after the launch, but events like these are rare. That's why we took notice earlier this week when Tesla announced that it would drop the 40 kWh battery option on its Model S. Tesla cites a lack of demand, with only 4% Model S pre-orders configured with the base 40 kWh battery. Instead of providing those customers with what they ordered, Tesla says they will install the 60 kWh battery and simply use software to limit the capacity to 40 kWh. Those customers expecting a 40 kWh battery will now have a heavier car with the no change in battery capacity.

That said, it isn't all bad.

Tesla states that buyers of the 40 kWh battery will now have the performance specs of the 60 kWh battery: 0-60 mph times are down to 5.9 sec from 6.5 sec, and top speed is up 10 mph to 120 mph. There is no mention if the warranty for the 60 kWh battery (8 years, 125,000 miles) replaces the 40 kWh model's original warranty of 8 years, 100,000 miles.

TESLA

Adding to the similarity between models, Tesla says that current or future owners of the 40 kWh model will have the option of upgrading to full 60 kWh capacity at any time, for an additional cost. There is no announcement of pricing at this time.

That's great news for that 4% that ordered the 40 kWh model, but we wonder if 60 kWh customers might be a bit annoyed--especially those who were sold on the performance increase over the planned 40 kWh model.

Is using software to limit battery capacity an odd strategy for Tesla or is it simply the best solution considering the low demand? Certainly, placing limits on the Model S is an uncharacteristic move for Tesla.

Let us know what you think in the comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      bhtxd004
      • 1 Year Ago
      the batteries are such a toxic bio-hazard that they have to be shipped out of the country to be recycled. Green?
      Max
      • 1 Year Ago
      hdprent --could you read what you write--where are you getting the electrical energy from? fossil fuel again. what are you gaing? another waist of MY (taxpayer) money
        J Grace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Max
        Yep Max, you're right. But telling that to the BO lovers will do you no good. And wind or solar power constitute less than about 2% of electricity production so fossil fuel wins, again. The real deal is how will automakers adapt to using natural gas converted to quality diesel in cars that could probably be geared to get 45 mpg, which would also probably only cost the car owner about $2.50 per gallon instead of the current regular gas price of about $3.50 per gallon. But has the administration been pushing this, not that I've seen. The best to ya.
      Alan
      • 1 Year Ago
      This was a good move. The 40 vehicle had no upgrade path - these vehicles do. (One reason I did not buy one) The software limits technique is commonly used in all sorts of products, this is nothing new.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've had my Model S for 3 months now and I've also owned 2 Hondas, 1 BMW, 2 Fords, 1 Jag, 2 Chevy's, 1 Pontiac, 2 Cadillacs, and 3 Chryslers. I was nervous when I bought a Tesla because many things about the car are revolutionary, but my Tesla Model S is BY FAR the best car I've ever owned. I have yet to get f/b from another owner that wasn't effusive. No oil changes. No smog checks. No transmission or transmission problems. I hardly ever use brakes because they're regenerative . . . so no brake jobs. There are plugs everywhere (work, at the mall, etc) so I hardly ever charge at home. So I'm driving FOR FREE. It's extremely solid, well-built, whisper quiet and I can beat pretty much any car from a stop. The torque and acceleration will blow your mind! Wouldn't recommend betting against Musk.
        telorvehccio
        • 1 Year Ago
        sounds great! how are those monthly payments?
        Alan
        • 1 Year Ago
        I'd buy one in a heart beat if i could afford it. 80K for a car (for me at least) is just too much. For now, I will lust after the Teslas of others and wait for the next gen.
      bob
      • 1 Month Ago
      Don't capacitors hold energy for a period of time measured in milli-seconds?  As in Virtual memory?
      markin2500
      • 1 Year Ago
      We in the United States need more cheerleaders and less naysayers. Buy these cars!
      jillglasser
      • 1 Year Ago
      right again jonathan
      alfredschrader
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem with batteries is they are heavy, and once they are dead, you ain't goin anywhere. The solution is super capacitors, but used in a better way. A car only needs 16 horsepower to keep it going down the highway, the rest is for acceleration. My design uses super capacitors that supply 5,000 amps and has a small gas sipping engine that gets 90 mpg. The gas engine charges the super caps and powers the car at highway speeds. The Schrader car design never goes dead and will pull away from a stop light faster than a Corvette or a Tesla. Super capacitors don't wear out.
        delmail333
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alfredschrader
        Sounds like a Smarter Idea, But is there a cost savings from using 5000 amp Capacitors ?
      bluegrassguitar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Alfred, how is the Schrader design different from, say, the Volt which also uses a small gas engine?
      gpat1132
      • 1 Year Ago
      so how much will a new battery cost
      cmerr6240
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only kind of electric car I want is a golf cart. Tesla is going bankrupt and Taxpayers just gave this company 740 million dollars and then they took the building of these cars to the Netherlands. Another Solindra folks. Maybe we need a business man in the big house.
        ferrariqx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cmerr6240
        Of course, you have absolutely NO IDEA what you're talking about. Tesla is built in California and they're hardly going bankrupt. They are very close to profitability and in no danger of going under. The Tesla S was named Car of the Year by Motor Trend Magazine.
        telorvehccio
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cmerr6240
        hey, you gave me a great idea... i need to get a tesla badge to stick on the front of my golf cart.
        cantchang
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cmerr6240
        anyway you look at it, It's still doing better than 0'Bummer's 535 million taxpayer dollar Solyndra
        ibe1grump
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cmerr6240
        Tesla is built in San Jose California. Perhaps you should stay in your golf cart.
          tricountyconst
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ibe1grump
          The Tesla Roadster and Roadster Sport truly are "world" automobiles. Production of the car's chassis and body takes place in Hethel, England by a division of the automaker Lotus. The electric motors used in the cars are produced in a separate facility, located in Taiwan.
          tricountyconst
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ibe1grump
          Telsa is only assmebled in San Jose the componets are made all over the world......Was not suppose to work that way with the Loan...........85% percent of the cars componets were to be made here for the continuation of the loan money.
      cantchang
      • 1 Year Ago
      Type your comment hereU-Tube already has the compromised software posted under do it at home for under 50 bucks
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