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Transportation Upgrades

Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S 106

Posted by timothy
from the silent-upgrades dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Tesla won't reveal its production figures every quarter, but it has now likely built about 50,000 all-electric Model S luxury sport sedans. Unlike other automakers, Tesla doesn't group its changes to a model year, rather it makes running changes to cars whenever updates are tested, validated, and ready to roll out. Which raises the question, are model year 2012 Model S sedans already outdated? The answer is it depends how you look at it. From a powertrain perspective, no. There are still two battery-size options and the shape is still the same. But under the surface of the car there are a surprising number of updates and new options. Not including software changes (of which there are dozens already pushed to the car), changes range from power folding mirrors and a new cold-weather package (which cannot be retrofitted) to a new ultra-high-fidelity sound package and three-zone, three-mode rear seat heaters. It's worth noting that none of these are mandatory changes — there are merely options that have been added to the roster of available equipment."
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Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @09:32AM (#47154431)

    Makes a lot of sense in electric cars:
    Since there is no excess heat from the combustion engine it is way more efficient to just heat the seats.
    Heating the whole car takes quite a bit of energy.

  • by torkus (1133985) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @09:53AM (#47154627)

    I wonder what this will do for the long-term viability of the car though...in regards to repairing it. If I have a 1998 Honda civic DX I know I can find parts for the windshield wiper assembly.

    If I have a model 1.5.14b (mod alpha) Tesla S with options XYZ ... do I need this wingding or that one for the rear-view mirror? Repair shops are going to hate this game.

    At the same time...knowing the battery, motor, and other major components are the same is a huge win for the same question. Frankly the car industry revamping cars every freaking year is beyond stupid. Why is a 3000 pound, immensely complex, expensive piece of machinery rebuilt every year? To tweak a fender and include the radio buttons it should have had last year?

    As usual...go Tesla. I just hope they have a good compatibility matrix for the upgraded components.

  • by aviators99 (895782) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @10:03AM (#47154733) Homepage

    One of the reasons I was one of the first to buy a Tesla is because I love the fact that Elon Musk refused to abide by all of the known "rules" of automotive manufacturing. I love it that I get regular updates to the car's firmware/software that actually adds features to the vehicle (one of the first ones I got actually made my 0-60 time faster!).

    But I think that when it comes to this idea of not following the established rule of "model years", it doesn't work very well. The modern-day method of rolling software updates is great--for software. But when it comes to hardware, it is a bit more difficult. It's made even worse when things are not retrofittable (like the rear seat heating referenced here).

    I understand that the company has a great new hardware feature and wants to get it onto the assembly line as quickly as possible, and you have to applaud that. But you end up with people ordering a car and not knowing what they will get. Some improvements are announced at or around the time they hit the assembly line, and many cars without the improvement are then delivered for a period of time. Note that although the summary only references "options", there are many more improvements other than options that are added in an add-hoc manner.

    We haven't even seen the confusion this will eventually cause when there is a substantial resale market for the Model S. There will be no "shorthand" to say what features the vehicle has or doesn't have. Even the Roadster had "version numbers".

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