Tesla Launches Cheaper Cars With Software Limited Batteries

Flexion

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It's like DLC for your car now. Great. Bring on the macrotransactions baby. "Better brakes? Yeah you can unlock those for $1000."
 

WorldExclusive

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It's like DLC for your car now. Great. Bring on the macrotransactions baby. "Better brakes? Yeah you can unlock those for $1000."
Right. I wouldn't buy a car knowing it's capable of more by a firmware download that costs $8000 more.
Only people form San Francisco and Portland think this is a good idea.
 

zkostik

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Tesla previously announced that they're discontinuing the 75 kWh battery pack for their Model S sedan and Model X SUV, and Elon Musk mentioned that the company needs to keep prices more competitive than ever if Tesla is to survive. Now, Electrek says that Tesla is launching variants of the Model S and Model X with software-locked battery packs. The base and "extended range" versions of the electric sedans come with the same physical 100 kWh battery, but the lower end models shave off about 8% of the battery capacity via software in exchange for a price tag that's about $8000 lower than the fully enabled model. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

For those of us in the community who were expecting a hardware upgrade, especially a harmonization of Tesla's battery architecture based on Model 3's 2170 cells, this is disappointing. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. Tesla is streamlining the lineup significantly by basically making a single version of Model S and Model X with the exception of a slightly more powerful powertrain for the performance versions. They are now more clearly differentiating Model S and Model 3 with now even the base version of Model S having as much range as the top version of Model 3. From a customer standpoint, I would choose those software-locked versions over the "Extended Range" versions any day.
Wow, this is totally retarded to actually put all of this hardware and thus create more waste and then end user being unable to utilize it. If they can afford to put all of these cells into the car and after a software lock sell for $8K less just shows how overprices these hulks of shit are.
 

Riouken

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Wow, this is totally retarded to actually put all of this hardware and thus create more waste and then end user being unable to utilize it. If they can afford to put all of these cells into the car and after a software lock sell for $8K less just shows how overprices these hulks of shit are.
Your looking at it totally wrong. The reason they are doing this in this way is due to production costs.

If they were to build another battery pack with less range, they would have to make a new production line to produce those batteries(Or make massive changes to their existing line) that could take 12-18 months or more. Then they would need to test it that could take 6+ months. Then they would need to get it re-approved through NHTSA. That could take up to 12 months. This would cost millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars. After all that they would then have a new product sku that they could sell.

Or they can use the batteries they already have and are approved for use in motor vehicles. Pay a programer a few thousand dollars to write the software update to limit the battery in the vehicle and then upload that new software instead of the higher end model software as its moving through the production line they already have. Now they can have a new sku to sell in 1-2 months or less. Then later in the vehicle life they can turn around and sell the battery life back to the user as an upgrade.

As far as your concerns about waste, batteries are some of the most recycled products there are. Automotive batteries in particular are recycled at a rate of about 98-99%. There is more waste in aluminum recycling, so if you worried about how much waste is being generated I would tell people to stop buying sodas and beer.

If you owned the company which way would you do it?
 

zkostik

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Your looking at it totally wrong. The reason they are doing this in this way is due to production costs.

If they were to build another battery pack with less range, they would have to make a new production line to produce those batteries(Or make massive changes to their existing line) that could take 12-18 months or more. Then they would need to test it that could take 6+ months. Then they would need to get it re-approved through NHTSA. That could take up to 12 months. This would cost millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars. After all that they would then have a new product sku that they could sell.

Or they can use the batteries they already have and are approved for use in motor vehicles. Pay a programer a few thousand dollars to write the software update to limit the battery in the vehicle and then upload that new software instead of the higher end model software as its moving through the production line they already have. Now they can have a new sku to sell in 1-2 months or less. Then later in the vehicle life they can turn around and sell the battery life back to the user as an upgrade.

As far as your concerns about waste, batteries are some of the most recycled products there are. Automotive batteries in particular are recycled at a rate of about 98-99%. There is more waste in aluminum recycling, so if you worried about how much waste is being generated I would tell people to stop buying sodas and beer.

If you owned the company which way would you do it?
I'm sure there's a business reason for them, they wouldn't do it otherwise. Though it doesn't change the fact you'd have all these cells in that card doing nil so that's a waste right there. These packs are probably same physical size where some just have more cells than others so not sure it really would need a whole different production. I suspect it may be something else like someone suggested above where they would sell it to the suckers who already bought the card sometime down the road. I cannot find anywhere that a Li-Ion battery can be 98% recycled. Even if it does, it still creates waste making these packs where such a big part of the pack cannot be used. As for recycling return, if you have a source please share. I highly doubt it's anywhere close to 98-99%, with these numbers it would be almost a perpetual power source.
 

kju1

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I'm sure there's a business reason for them, they wouldn't do it otherwise. Though it doesn't change the fact you'd have all these cells in that card doing nil so that's a waste right there. These packs are probably same physical size where some just have more cells than others so not sure it really would need a whole different production. I suspect it may be something else like someone suggested above where they would sell it to the suckers who already bought the card sometime down the road. I cannot find anywhere that a Li-Ion battery can be 98% recycled. Even if it does, it still creates waste making these packs where such a big part of the pack cannot be used. As for recycling return, if you have a source please share. I highly doubt it's anywhere close to 98-99%, with these numbers it would be almost a perpetual power source.
Those cells will be used right along with the rest. They will just limit your range artificially by not allowing the battery charge to get below a certain level. They already do this and so does your phone. At very low levels the software will turn the device off to prevent damage to the battery that a full discharge might cause.
 

Flexion

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Right. I wouldn't buy a car knowing it's capable of more by a firmware download that costs $8000 more.
Only people form San Francisco and Portland think this is a good idea.
IKR? I can see it now..

"Our son Johnny was in a car accident last year because he was street racing and only had the basic brake package. If we got him the upgraded brakes he may have lived!!!"
 

UnrealCpu

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just go out of business already,

software gimping owners is a lame tactic to sell crap vehicles. You can get a better paint job on a kia than a 60k dollar tesla out of the factory. I guess they already gimped their paint robots also
 

Riouken

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As for recycling return, if you have a source please share. I highly doubt it's anywhere close to 98-99%, with these numbers it would be almost a perpetual power source.
https://www.epa.gov/sites/productio...15_smm_msw_factsheet_07242018_fnl_508_002.pdf

"Recycling Rates Measured by percentage of generation, products with the highest recycling rates in 2015 were lead-acid batteries (99 percent), corrugated boxes (92.3 percent), steel cans (71.3 percent), newspapers/mechanical papers (71.2 percent), major appliances (61.7 percent), aluminum cans (54.9 percent), mixed paper (43.6 percent), tires (40.2 percent) and selected consumer electronics (39.8 percent). The 2015 composting rate for yard trimmings was 61.3 percent (See 2015 data tables)."

They reuse 99 percent (Of the battery itself) after the recycling process. With about 96-97 percent of that going back in to other batteries, one percent goes to waste and the rest is sold off to be used in other industries.
 

N4CR

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So they bring the price down 8K, but the production costs of these vehicles will be no less than the higher capacity variants? I'm confused on how this will "save the company" unless Musk is betting on lots of people paying that much cash for the extended range.
Cheaper to make 100k slightly larger batteries than 50k small and 50k big. Manufacturing efficiency is why.
I'd love to know if the limit is maximum charge or discharge. I think the latter after hurricane Irma.
 

kju1

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Cheaper to make 100k slightly larger batteries than 50k small and 50k big. Manufacturing efficiency is why.
I'd love to know if the limit is maximum charge or discharge. I think the latter after hurricane Irma.
Discharge - easily. They will software limit the max discharge which they already do for other reasons.
 

nightfly

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Didn't I hear something like this about 30 years ago in a radio commercial?

Fly coach? Here's your nice, cold beer. Want a bottle opener? Oh, you can only get that in first class!
 

zkostik

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Those cells will be used right along with the rest. They will just limit your range artificially by not allowing the battery charge to get below a certain level. They already do this and so does your phone. At very low levels the software will turn the device off to prevent damage to the battery that a full discharge might cause.
You're referring to reserve in a Li-Ion cell, this is quite different. If they limit range, then what good do these cell do for consumer? More cells also means more likelihood some will go back causing issues with your pack. Depending on how they have this pack engineered it may be able to disable some bad banks but this would require a lot of electronics. It's still pretty crappy move IMO and is not really something good for the environment. I suspect that even with this discount the car will still cost more than competition.
 

Wierdo

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If the battery lasts longer they make less in service, parts, and support.
I believe they stated that service and repairs are not meant to be a revenue model, they want to reduce waste as well as lower load on their service centers. The parts they make they plan to re-use in other projects, so it makes sense for them to make them reliable if they can, for example the model 3 motor, it's designed to last a million miles because they'll just take half a dozen and throw into their commercial Semi lines.

The batteries are also supposed to run fine for half a million miles barring external factors.

This is one of the big reasons why dealerships don't like EVs, there's not much money in it after the sale. It's a big dilemma for traditional car manufacturers tied to that system, how do you convince them to sell a car that doesn't need much maintenance? It's half the dealership's revenue model, they need the cars to break down post warranty in order to make money.
You're referring to reserve in a Li-Ion cell, this is quite different. If they limit range, then what good do these cell do for consumer? More cells also means more likelihood some will go back causing issues with your pack. Depending on how they have this pack engineered it may be able to disable some bad banks but this would require a lot of electronics. It's still pretty crappy move IMO and is not really something good for the environment. I suspect that even with this discount the car will still cost more than competition.
The cells will last longer and the charge rate is faster, so the customer does benefit even if the range is not in use. And in a disaster Tesla tends to unlock them for their customers as a goodwill gesture, though I wouldn't say that should be a buying consideration.

Also maybe some customers may feel comfortable with the range as is and don't wanna pay more, but at a later point they may change their mind or the next buyer wants more range and this unlock option helps seal the deal for the re-sale.
 
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[Spectre]

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I believe they stated that service and repairs are not meant to be a revenue model, they want to reduce waste as well as lower load on their service centers.
And you belive them? They want to throw away a massive revenue stream when all of your other transportation industires are trying to build life cycle revenue platforms around service and support as unit sales are predicted to decline.

The parts they make they plan to re-use in other projects, so it makes sense for them to make them reliable if they can, for example the model 3 motor, it's designed to last a million miles because they'll just take half a dozen and throw into their commercial Semi lines.
If they are designed to be as reliable as possible then there is nothing to scrap to harvest product from to reuse. You simply....use.

The batteries are also supposed to run fine for half a million miles barring external factors.
Battery tech advertisements have never really panned out. I seriously doubt Tesla has actually fixed that since they seem to be using already in production batteries in their banks.
 

zkostik

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I believe they stated that service and repairs are not meant to be a revenue model, they want to reduce waste as well as lower load on their service centers. The parts they make they plan to re-use in other projects, so it makes sense for them to make them reliable if they can, for example the model 3 motor, it's designed to last a million miles because they'll just take half a dozen and throw into their commercial Semi lines.

The batteries are also supposed to run fine for half a million miles barring external factors.

This is one of the big reasons why dealerships don't like EVs, there's not much money in it after the sale. It's a big dilemma for traditional car manufacturers tied to that system, how do you convince them to sell a car that doesn't need much maintenance? It's half the dealership's revenue model, they need the cars to break down post warranty in order to make money.


The cells will last longer and the charge rate is faster, so the customer does benefit even if the range is not in use. And in a disaster Tesla tends to unlock them for their customers as a goodwill gesture, though I wouldn't say that should be a buying consideration.

Also maybe the customer feels comfortable with the range as is and don't wanna pay more, but at a later point they may change their mind or the next buyer wants more range and this unlock option helps seal the deal for the re-sale.
How do you figure that cells will last longer and will charge faster? All cells are being used so they will all be degrading (they also degrade by just sitting but they will die if let going flat so they have to be a minimum maintained) and having more cells will require a higher charging current.
 

Spun Ducky

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So let me get this straight, these cars are pushed as a more environment friendly option then they purposely cripple the efficiency to increase sales?
 

Wierdo

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How do you figure that cells will last longer and will charge faster? All cells are being used so they will all be degrading (they also degrade by just sitting but they will die if let going flat so they have to be a minimum maintained) and having more cells will require a higher charging current.
It's similar to how SSDs do wear leveling, where spreading the stress prolongs overall pack health. These cells are happiest roughly between 30 and 70 percent charge, and perfectly fine in the 10 to 90 percent range, the edge cases are to be avoided whenever possible. The more cells you have to work with the more you can avoid the extremes where degradation is more significant than normal.

(I recall it was something like 100k cycles vs 10k cycles vs 1k cycles (to hit 80 percent) in one research paper I read, but that was based on lithium cell chemistry from 10 years ago. Still, it's probably around the same degradation scaling ratios with newer chemistries I would guess)

Also having more cells that charge in parallel means you can raise your charge rate curve from the customer's angle, they may see their charge rate remaining steady up to, say 60 percent instead of 50, though behind the scenes it's just more cells wear leveling the charge to give that impression while preserving each cell's health better.

The superchargers can handle providing more juice, the Model 3 with its newer batteries already accepts quicker charge than the Model S, so there's some headroom built into them already, just not always used, there's a burst then a dropoff curve that varies with each model's implementation of the pack.
 
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Wierdo

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And you belive them? They want to throw away a massive revenue stream when all of your other transportation industires are trying to build life cycle revenue platforms around service and support as unit sales are predicted to decline.



If they are designed to be as reliable as possible then there is nothing to scrap to harvest product from to reuse. You simply....use.



Battery tech advertisements have never really panned out. I seriously doubt Tesla has actually fixed that since they seem to be using already in production batteries in their banks.
It could change in the future, who knows, but so far there are no indications that they want to milk the repair service, either because they don't have the resources to set such a thing up, or because that's just the nature of EVs with 20 moving parts instead of 20,000.

That said, the parts have been in short supply lately due to their poor logistics when it comes to sending parts to their service shops, a headless chicken in that regard. Fortunately something they are now tackling in Q4 as their number one priority according to the investor conference - they grew too fast and need to get a handle on this problem asap.

Also I think it's probably because of the industry-wise plans to shift from selling vehicles to owning a fleet of self driving ones to compete in the ride sharing economy, so having reliable vehicles would make sense when they're the eventual owners of the product in theory.

Again, might be the case right now, but doesn't mean they can't change their minds later, time will tell.
 
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kju1

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You're referring to reserve in a Li-Ion cell, this is quite different. If they limit range, then what good do these cell do for consumer? More cells also means more likelihood some will go back causing issues with your pack. Depending on how they have this pack engineered it may be able to disable some bad banks but this would require a lot of electronics. It's still pretty crappy move IMO and is not really something good for the environment. I suspect that even with this discount the car will still cost more than competition.
I believe Tesla batteries are a type of Li-Ion cell...
 

PantherBlitz

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So Tesla takes the obviously weakest aspect of an EV - its range - and intentionally makes it worse ... I'm loving the fanboy defense of this.
 

Riouken

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This is a nonsensical statement. The production costs being static is what pisses so many people off.
Did you not read any other part of my post where I listed the difference in production cost for software vs manufacturing a whole new battery?

If they make a new battery type that has a limited range they will incure new production costs

Whereas if they software limit the range the cost would be much cheaper.
 

Riouken

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So Tesla takes the obviously weakest aspect of an EV - its range - and intentionally makes it worse ... I'm loving the fanboy defense of this.
Has nothing to do with fanboy"ism".

You are leaving out a key point, that they are going to sell the reduced range model at a reduced cost to the consumer.

They are not doing away with the full range model.

If a consumer makes a choice and decided they do not need the extra range and would instead rather pay a lower cost, how is this a bad thing?

As long as they do not lie and sell the reduced range at the full cost how is this bad?
 
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traditional ICE car manufacturers do the same thing with engines all the time. Same engine, different application, different ECU programming and so different performance.

see it in microprocessors and other computer hardware....

Not sure i'd be keen on hacking a tesla since they're so constantly connected to home base. I'd wonder if the thing would just brick itself if it remained out of contact for long. Being connected like it is is also why I'd never want to own one. You're just a user of your car at the discretion of Tesla (and the same for any other oem that is going this connected car route) and not the owner. Hard pass.
 

PantherBlitz

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If a consumer makes a choice and decided they do not need the extra range and would instead rather pay a lower cost, how is this a bad thing?
Because they are not selling extra range. Selling extra range would entail adding more or better battery. What they are doing is selling the same battery; only they will not sabotage it if a user pays more.
 

Riouken

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Because they are not selling extra range. Selling extra range would entail adding more or better battery. What they are doing is selling the same battery; only they will not sabotage it if a user pays more.
This is a very strange way to look at this, while I respect your opinion. It does not make logical sense to me. They produced the standard model first, they are not changing the price for it. They are just adding a new cheaper version with less range.

By that same logic you would expect software companies to build an entirely new/different software packages if they wanted to have multiple pricing/feature tiers. Instead of the industry standard of the user downloads and installs the full version and the software limits the features based on the key version they have.
 

Verge

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Did you not read any other part of my post where I listed the difference in production cost for software vs manufacturing a whole new battery?

If they make a new battery type that has a limited range they will incure new production costs

Whereas if they software limit the range the cost would be much cheaper.
There is no cheaper, the production cost is static.
 

kju1

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Because they are not selling extra range. Selling extra range would entail adding more or better battery. What they are doing is selling the same battery; only they will not sabotage it if a user pays more.
No they are selling you hardware which has locked capabilities. You pay to unlock extra capabilities. Not sure why this is so hard to understand.
 

Riouken

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There is no cheaper, the production cost is static.
Are you being obtuse? If they had to produce a different battery that had smaller range then it would increase production costs vs just limiting range in software.

Furthermore, production costs are never static. Cost of materials fluctuates, payroll changes, utilities change.
 

Verge

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Are you being obtuse? If they had to produce a different battery that had smaller range then it would increase production costs vs just limiting range in software.

Furthermore, production costs are never static. Cost of materials fluctuates, payroll changes, utilities change.
I'm not talking about if's bro, I'm talking about the real world. Their production costs are now static.
 

PantherBlitz

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No they are selling you hardware which has locked capabilities. You pay to unlock extra capabilities. Not sure why this is so hard to understand.
Stop. No one is misunderstanding what is going on. What is hard to understand is why the fanboys eat whatever that company shovels and asks for seconds.
 

sfsuphysics

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Curious how a "software locked' capacity works. Is there little microcontrollers for each 10kWh of capacity that it simply doesn't turn on so they never get charged, or do all the batteries get charged/used it's just reading "empty" when they're at 25% capacity? In which case do your batteries have a longer life span because they aren't fully discharging anymore? (not sure if that's an issue with LiIon batteries)
 

kju1

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Stop. No one is misunderstanding what is going on. What is hard to understand is why the fanboys eat whatever that company shovels and asks for seconds.
Excuse me? Perhaps if you would set aside the hate for a moment and examine the actual facts you might reach a different conclusion. Youve clearly misunderstood quite a bit.

Curious how a "software locked' capacity works. Is there little microcontrollers for each 10kWh of capacity that it simply doesn't turn on so they never get charged, or do all the batteries get charged/used it's just reading "empty" when they're at 25% capacity? In which case do your batteries have a longer life span because they aren't fully discharging anymore? (not sure if that's an issue with LiIon batteries)
Same way it works for your phone. The software wont let you drive below a certain charge. It would be a lot more complex and cost more for them to implement a hardware based control or to isolate the cells. I would say that overall the batteries (all of them) are undergoing a lighter load because of it.
 
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