Continuing their mission to advance the auto industry, Tesla has (once again) overlapped two industries. With Tesla's introduction of its Model 3 Acceleration Boost upgrade, we now have DLC for cars. But... is this new $2,000 option from Tesla worth the price?
Above: Tesla's Model 3 (Photo by Casey Murphy, EVANNEX)
Tesla's Acceleration Boost upgrade is only available for the Model 3. Furthermore, it's only available for the Dual Motor Long Range Model 3. Your car must be on software update 2019.40.2 or newer in order to have it available as an option. If convinced, you can purchase the option right within your Tesla account or Tesla app at the tap of a digital button.
Adding Tesla's Acceleration Boost option does just that — it (ahem) boosts your acceleration. Okay... but how much? The Model 3 Long Range variant currently clocks a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. If you decide to add this new Tesla option, a half-second is shaved off. Once purchased, your Tesla should instantly receive more power when accelerating. In turn, once the download is complete, your Tesla will become noticeably faster.
Previously all of Tesla’s updates have been free — including those that increased performance specs. Back in 2017, Tesla initiated a software update that took a full second off 0-60 times. And more recently, Tesla's Performance Model 3 received a 5% improvement via OTA. Interestingly, over-the-air software updates remain something most other automakers still lack.
As Tesla evolves, having new revenue streams (like this) can certainly help the company to grow. Nevertheless, charging for software updates is new for Tesla owners and some aren't too happy about it. Free performance upgrades were seen as one of the many Tesla benefits by new owners — now it’s a thing of the past. That said, charging for a major performance upgrade could be warranted in this case.
Above: Tesla's 'Acceleration Boost' option will put a Model 3 on par with some surprising speed demons out there (YouTube: The Tech of Tech)
For one thing, Tesla is unique as its vehicle options are quite limited. For the most part, you can choose your paint color, wheel style, and whether or not you want FSD. Most other automakers have a laundry list of available (albeit costly) options — especially when it comes to performance features. Let's face it, charging for a an option that improves vehicle performance is nothing new in the auto world.
In terms of value, Tesla's Acceleration Boost for Model 3 seems to be one of the best out there. For example, the $4,750 BMW M4 Competition package will subtract a mere 0.1 second from your 0-60 time. Granted, that also adds some cosmetic features as well, but in terms of actual speed improvement, the Model 3's Acceleration Boost has it beat. Anyone who’s dabbled in tuning or upgrading traditional cars will tell you that it would cost much more than $2,000 to shave a half-second from your 0-60 time.
A faster acceleration time is great if you’re drag racing your Model 3, but why else would you want it? Well, it’s fun. It's also practical in situations where you need to quickly overtake cars or safely merge (with some powerful pickup) on highways. Is it essential though? Probably not. But, let's face it, it’s fun!
That said, there are a few cons that come alongside improved performance. If driven rough, a faster accelerating Model 3 means faster tire wear. It could also potentially translate to lower efficiency and possibly higher battery degradation. Only time will tell, but, if you drive your Tesla really hard, you'll (likely) get less range. Don't forget — tires aren’t cheap and lower efficiency means a higher electric bill.
Tesla's Acceleration Boost is available for new Model 3 orders as well. But if after reading the price tag and considering the cons you’re still feeling like Ricky Bobby, one has to ask: why not consider a Performance Model 3? For just $5,000 more, you receive an even faster 3.2 second 0-60, a higher 162 mph top speed, performance brakes, lowered suspension, a carbon fiber spoiler, and track mode. As Ricky Bobby says (so eloquently), "If you're not first, you're last."
An earlier version of this article appeared on EVBite. EVBite is an electric vehicle specific news site dedicated to keeping consumers up-to-date on any developments in the ever-expanding EV landscape.