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Letter To Elon Musk Regarding P85D Horsepower – Signature Thread Only, Please


Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
Ithaca, NY
This thread exists only to collect signatures and support for the letter below, which will be sent to Elon Musk.

This letter grew out of discussions in several threads. Many thanks to sorka and wk057 for their numerous and informed posts on the topic, and for their input on this letter. If you would like to comment on this letter specifically, there is a new thread for that, with the body of this letter in the opening post. That thread is located here:

Letter To Elon Musk Regarding P85D Horsepower – Discussion Thread

If you want to read and/or comment on some of the discussions that have been taking place for some time, those threads are here:



I would greatly appreciate it if posts in this thread could be limited to a simple indication that you will be signing the letter. If you feel the need to object, then feel free to post a simple indication that you won’t be signing the letter. In this thread we don’t need to know the reasons why, whether you are signing or not signing. I have started another thread for that.

I attempted to write the letter in such a way that a pretty broad group of members here, with a pretty wide range of views on this topic, would feel comfortable signing it. If you fall into this group, please support this effort by adding your signature.

To sign the letter please send me, either by private message, or via email to [email protected], your:

Real full name
Email address
VIN Number (If you are a Tesla owner)
The signer group you fall into (from the bottom of the letter) Edit: I should have been clearer about this part. I just meant "P85D Owners", "Other Tesla Owners", "Tesla Investors but not Tesla Car Owners", or "Tesla Supporters." Apologies to those that misunderstood.

My plan is to not make any changes to the body of this letter, since I am collecting signatures for it. (I may have to make changes to how it is addressed, and will have to add the correct date.) If for some unforeseen reason changes become necessary, I will post what those changes are, and allow at least 48 hours for anyone how has signed to let me know they would like to remove their signature before sending the letter.

Naturally I will not be using this information for anything other than sending the letter, with “signatures”, to Tesla.

I will collect signatures for at least a week, and possibly longer. I will update this thread when I have sent the letter.


The letter follows:

Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer
Tesla Motors
3500 Deer Creek Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Date, 2015

Dear Mr. Musk,

We are writing to you as a group of concerned Tesla owners, investors, and perhaps most importantly, supporters. We want to share our thoughts with you on an issue we think is critically important. While we don’t all feel exactly the same way about this matter, we all agree that this warrants your personal attention.

We’re writing because the Tesla Model S P85D falls considerably short of actually making 691 horsepower. We’ll get to the facts that support this in a moment, as well as some of the ideas we’ve discussed for how Tesla might manage this going forward. We want to say at the outset, though, that we have come to you because we think it is inevitable that if we had not, sooner or later someone or some group would go to the media. It is our hope that armed with the information this letter will provide, Tesla will be able to get out in front of anything negative that could come of this issue in the future.

The basic facts are as follows:

The P85D was marketed as making 691 horsepower. It doesn’t. We believe, based on various testing methods and tools including dynamometer testing and testing with professional performance data loggers that the maximum energy output is 415 KW, which results in a maximum horsepower of 557 before any drivetrain losses on a fully charged battery. Even without factoring in drive train loss, this is almost 20% less than the advertised horsepower.

The missing horsepower is quite noticeable at highway passing speeds. For example, from 70-90 mph, the P85D should perform like a car with a power to weight ratio of one HP for every seven pounds. Instead it performs like a car with one HP for every nine pounds. The result of this is that from 70-90 mph the P85D is easily outperformed by an Audi RS7 with a power to weight ratio of only one HP for every eight pounds.

The 691 HP figure appeared on the Tesla Motors website from October 9, 2014 the date of the D launch until the middle of May, 2015. Dozens of articles on the P85D quoted this figure. Tesla did not correct these stories. Tesla allowed the world, and more importantly Tesla customers to believe the P85D would make 691 HP.

In late December, 2014 the following statement was released to the media, and was added to the Tesla Motors website:

The P85D top speed is currently electronically-limited to 130 mph. In the coming months, we will be able to upgrade the car free of charge to enable a 155 mph top speed. This free update will be available for the lifetime of the car (not limited to the first owner). Additionally, 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.

While the top speed firmware upgrade took place, the high speed performance upgrade never did. Many of us believe that promised upgrade, which some of us were counting on to bring our cars up to, or at least closer to the promised 691 HP has now turned into the Ludicrous Mode upgrade. Those of us that believe this think Tesla had every intention of releasing the upgrade at no charge, as originally promised, but found that the hardware was not up to the task, thus requiring the new fuse and Inconel contactors that are now integral parts of Ludicrous Mode.

A related issue that has some signers concerned is that Tesla apparently used 1-foot roll out when providing the original P85D 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds without making any mention of having done so, and without having done so in the past when providing the 0-60 times for other Model S vehicles. While we understand that this is to some extent a standard way of expressing 0-60 times in the United States, it is not standard all over the world. Also the fact that Tesla chose to do this for the first time with the P85D, without explaining what was being done, meant comparisons to other Model S vehicles were not valid. Many signers fear the recent analysis by Consumer Reports, a publication that has written extremely positively about the Model S in the past, will shed even more light on this particular issue.

Most, if not all, of the signers of this letter do not believe that Tesla intentionally misled anyone at any time. The fact remains, though, that many Tesla P85D customers have not received everything they have paid for. How Tesla should handle that is where the feelings of those signing this letter really begin to diverge!

This letter has grown out of several very active and at times heated discussion threads on the Tesla Motors Club forums. These threads have almost two-thousand posts! Many people have very strong feelings on this topic. Some forum members have written Tesla about this issue themselves, and have not received a response of any kind, which is of great concern to many of us. The problem is not going to just fade away.

Some of the signers of this letter are P85D owners who are completely happy with their cars. They may recognize the fact that their cars don’t make 691 HP, but they are OK with it, and are willing to give Tesla a pass on this.

Many signers of this letter think the best thing that Tesla could do would be to give away the Ludicrous Mode upgrade to affected P85D purchasers. In addition to the incredible amount of good will this would generate, and lost trust it would win back, we think there would also be an amazing amount of great press coverage.

Another benefit of this approach is that it would provide great insulation against potential bad press, should the story of the missing horsepower ever become mainstream media news. All Tesla would need to do is say, “We had every intention of being able to provide the stated horsepower. When we discovered we could not, we went back to the drawing board, made the car even better, and gave the improvements to the affected customers for free.” Being able to put out statements like that could turn what easily could have been a negative story into a positive one that improves the Tesla image and increases sales.

Some signers feel that providing the Ludicrous Mode upgrade parts for free, but charging for the labor to install them, would go far enough towards making things right.

Some signers are not sure what would make things right, but know that they want Tesla to take some sort of action to move in that direction.

Every signer of this letter wants Tesla to continue to grow, to prosper, and to succeed in changing the world! We trust that with the information we have provided, you will come up with a solution that works for Tesla and for the affected customers.

Thanks very much for your time!


Andrew Wallenstein
[email protected]
P85D Owner, VIN # P64227

P85D Owners

Other Tesla Owners

Tesla Investors but not Tesla Car Owners

Tesla Supporters
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