Posted on December 28, 2014 by Matt Pressman
If you try to order a new Tesla Model S P85D today, you'll notice a something rather interesting at the bottom of the order page: "an over-the-air firmware upgrade to the power electronics will improve P85D performance at high speed above what anyone outside Tesla has experienced to date. In other words, the car will be better than you experienced. This free upgrade will be rolled out in the next few months, once full validation is complete." That’s right, Tesla actually sends over-the-air software updates to improve future performance. How many car companies can do that?
The Model S launched in 2012 and Tesla is already on software update 6.0 for the Model S. Version 6.0 improves traffic-based navigation, remote start, calendar functions, and better power management. But long before the Model S launched, Tesla had it’s first vehicle on the road in 2008, the Tesla Roadster. After selling about 2,800 vehicles worldwide, the Roadster was discontinued. What car company would go back to an earlier model and improve on it? Right again, the automotive world's disruptor, Tesla Motors.
This week Tesla Motors announced it’s Roadster 3.0 which will effectively increase the range of the vehicle by almost 50% allowing it to travel an astounding 400 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a single charge. This range even exceeds most internal combustion vehicles on the road today. The Roadster 3.0 improvements announced include outfitting the Roadster with an improved aero kit, tires, and battery pack.
Mark Rogowsky of Forbes sums it up, “Tesla’s approach seems to be: If we can make it better, we’ll do it. And what it means is that the company’s older vehicles might stay on the road far longer than the typical automobile. On top of that, they might also remain closer to the state of the art… [and] a substantial boost to a core feature of an out-of-production vehicle seems to have no modern precedent anywhere in the auto industry.”
And already a 500-mile Tesla battery pack has been forecasted in the not-so-distant future. Rogowsky concludes, "... it’s quite probable (likely even?) that Tesla will sell that battery to whoever owns the first [wave of] Model S’ that are on roads right now. That might not make them as good as new, but it will bring them closer than any 5-10-year-old ever had a chance of being before.” And, with Tesla’s first Battery Swap Station opening at the Harris Ranch supercharger location, an updated battery pack change will soon be a simple one minute swap.
It appears Tesla has turned the traditional automotive “model” on it’s head by allowing an aging fleet to actually get better over time. Cheers Elon Musk! We like this new paradigm.