Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
Tesla Model S Side Exterior
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
Tesla Model S Rear Exterior
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
Well, this is odd. It seems that owners of new base-trim Tesla Model S 70Ds will soon be able to upgrade to the newly announced 75-kilowatt-hour battery by means of a simple software update. In other words, Tesla has been using this "new" battery in some kind of software-limited capacity and selling it as a 70-kWh model.

That's according to the Tesla-focused site Teslarati, which cites a forum posting from Tesla Motors Club forum user gcgp. The soon-to-be owner wrote that he reached out to his Australian dealership about the larger-capacity battery option and was told it will "have the option to upgrade via firmware" for the US price of $3,250. That's $250 more than what the new Model S 75 will cost from the factory, according to yesterday's report.

We reached out to Tesla who confirmed Teslarati's report, but said the over-the-air upgrade would cost the same $3,000 that new customers would pay for a car from the factory.

"Yes, all 70 kWh Model S with updated styling have been built with a 75 kWh battery pack and the additional energy can be unlocked at any time through an over-the-air software update," a Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We will continue to offer the 70 kWh energy option but we will no longer produce the packs; a decision that is the most efficient for Tesla and the most beneficial for our customers."

That fleshes out our report from yesterday, which indicated that unlike the Model X, Tesla would continue to sell the Model S 70 after orders opened on the 75.

Now, there are two ways to react to this news. If you're a cynic (Hello!), it's hard not to equate this move as being akin to paid downloadable content in a video game. You're paying the same price for the basic package, but like a Forza Motorsport game offering paid downloadable car packs, it feels a little bit like you're stuck paying a ransom to enjoy the complete experience. The only difference here is that you have the battery capacity from day one – you just can't access it. At the same time, it's a further sign of Tesla's ability to turn the normal car-buying process on its ear. It also allows the company to expand the Model S range without adding any additional manufacturing complexity.

Help us improve our comments.
Share This Photo X