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Unlocked Range

Hayseed_MS

Spreader of "Endless Non Sequitur"
Jan 19, 2021
3,111
12,799
Strongbadia
Read an article on how Tesla unlocked range in people stuck in the wildfires. As I am new to EV's and Tesla, this made me think:
1) How do they unlock range (electronically speaking)?
2) Why do they not unlock this range all the time?

It seems like this hidden range would be something they would want their vehicles to have all the time.
 

glide

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2018
5,515
7,796
USA
Read an article on how Tesla unlocked range in people stuck in the wildfires. As I am new to EV's and Tesla, this made me think:
1) How do they unlock range (electronically speaking)?
2) Why do they not unlock this range all the time?

It seems like this hidden range would be something they would want their vehicles to have all the time.
Providing a link to the article would be helpful.

Some of Tesla’s batteries are software locked for lower-tier vehicles. The reason they don’t unlock them fully all the time is because the customer opted not to pay for the extended range. In emergency situations, such as the one you mention, they have been known to make exceptions.
 

Hayseed_MS

Spreader of "Endless Non Sequitur"
Jan 19, 2021
3,111
12,799
Strongbadia
It was an article listed here on TMC but I cannot find - will look again later.

So the refresh LR I am getting could actually have more range capability but it is "locked" by Tesla? Seems like they would make that available - even as an option. Just trying to understand these things.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
9,518
18,455
California
So the refresh LR I am getting could actually have more range capability but it is "locked" by Tesla?

No. There are only a handful of “software locked” models where Tesla sold a reduced range vehicle for less money by locking a larger battery to a lower capacity. These include:

  • Original “40kwh” Model S from 2012-2013 (actual 60kwh battery)
  • 2016-2017 Model S/X 60 and 60D (actual 75kwh battery)
  • A small number of 2016 Model S/X 70 and 70D produced around the time of the first refresh (actual 75kwh battery)
  • The original off-menu “standard range” Model 3 (actual SR+ battery)

There were also a very small number of non-US 75D cars that were quietly fitted with 85kwh batteries for unknown reasons.

It’s quite unlikely there’s any capacity locked out of the upcoming refresh cars (beyond the normal anti-brick buffer).
 

glide

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2018
5,515
7,796
USA
It was an article listed here on TMC but I cannot find - will look again later.

So the refresh LR I am getting could actually have more range capability but it is "locked" by Tesla? Seems like they would make that available - even as an option. Just trying to understand these things.
No. The SR has unlock-able range. The LR does not.
 
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He's speaking about a Model S - there is no "SR". You appear to be referring to the Model 3 Standard Range (which I don't think is even available any more).

During the 2019 mayhem there was a very brief period of time where you could order a software-locked 100kWh Model S.
I think it was around a $5000 option for something around 30 miles of range.

Also there was a "Standard Range" Model S Raven offered for a very short amount of time. They discontinued the 75D but brought back the 75kWh battery for a very short time once the Raven refresh was released. I do not believe that one was software locked.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
9,518
18,455
California
During the 2019 mayhem there was a very brief period of time where you could order a software-locked 100kWh Model S.
I think it was around a $5000 option for something around 30 miles of range.
I would love some substantiation of this because I follow this stuff pretty closely and have heard nothing about this at all.

Also there was a "Standard Range" Model S Raven offered for a very short amount of time. They discontinued the 75D but brought back the 75kWh battery for a very short time once the Raven refresh was released. I do not believe that one was software locked.

The briefly available standard range Raven was indeed a real 75kwh battery.
 
I would love some substantiation of this because I follow this stuff pretty closely and have heard nothing about this at all.



The briefly available standard range Raven was indeed a real 75kwh battery.

Tesla launches new cheaper Model S and Model X with software-limited battery pack - Electrek

Looks like I was a bit off on the price and range. They locked out 25 miles and asked $8,000 for the full pack. I bet most people weren't taking the upgrade so that's why that option didn't last long.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
9,518
18,455
California
Tesla launches new cheaper Model S and Model X with software-limited battery pack - Electrek

Looks like I was a bit off on the price and range. They locked out 25 miles and asked $8,000 for the full pack. I bet most people weren't taking the upgrade so that's why that option didn't last long.
Nice, thanks. I had completely forgotten that happened. Looks like they were available that way for a hot minute between Jan and when the Ravens were released and they reintroduced a real 75kwh standard range again (for all of 3 weeks).

Tesla updates pricing and options across lineup, discontinues several variants - Electrek
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
8,608
11,184
Boise, ID
2) Why do they not unlock this range all the time?
I see people covered the technical details of which batteries have the controlled locking, but not a lot of discussion of why.

It is a sales thing called "lowering the barrier to entry". Makers of computer chips, like processors and memory have been doing this kind of thing for a very long time and still do. Let's say they (Intel or AMD or somebody) are building the processors that are capable of 3 GHz speed (or maybe multi-core processors with X number of cores), and they have some price--say $200. So there are some people who would pay that $200 price, but for others, they feel that's too expensive and won't buy. That could be limiting their market if they can't sell as much.

Well, they might want to offer a cheaper product to attract some of those buyers, right? But it costs a lot of company overhead to design a new less capable chip. And they would have to keep two separate product lines going in their factories. And they would have to track and manage those separate product lines and inventory and shipping and storage and etc. etc. etc. So what they sometimes do is just create a fake "new" product which is just a slightly locked version of what they are already making--maybe a slower clock speed or not using a couple of the cores--and they sell this at a lower price. That is cheaper than designing an additional part and probably still is somewhat profitable and can attract in some additional customers because of the lower price.

(Side note: I do work in the computer chip industry, and some of this is not just for sale/pricing reasons. Some amount of the parts in testing can't quite meet the top speed ratings, so they are marked down to be sold as slower speed types of parts because that's the functionality they can meet. But depending on where the demand in the market is, they may also mark some of them down to that slower speed on purpose just to have more of those types to sell.)

The companies may or may not even announce that the "different" cheaper product is a locked thing. Tesla does say that, but other companies sometimes may hide that.

So similar procedure with the Tesla batteries. They had gone to the 75 battery size, and for a period of time, they wanted to goose sales a little bit and thought people might be shy of the full price, so they created the locked 60 and 70 battery versions to be able to offer cars for sale several thousand dollars cheaper to attract some more buyers. And offering the option to unlock that extra capacity kind of left the tempting opportunity where they might get some of that extra money back later if people chose to buy that unlock.

However, this is not something they are going to do most of the time or for most of their very high volume products. They only do it to create some small-selling version of something that they don't want to support in high numbers. The battery cells are one of the most valuable parts of the car, and the thing they are constrained on the most in their supply chain. They won't want to give those away without being paid for them. And giving away a lot of cells like that would reduce the number of battery packs they can build, which equals the number of cars they can sell. So they don't do that locking thing often.
 
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