Print 22 comment(s) - last by lagomorpha.. on Apr 3 at 11:10 AM

Tesla said only 5 percent of customers chose the small battery option of 40 kWh, which is not enough to enter it into production

Tesla Motors may not have had the easiest time with its Model S sedan, the vehicle has exceeded sales targets and the company is now profitable. 

Tesla announced today that Model S sales reached 4,750, exceeding the sales outlook of 4,500 posted in the February shareholder letter. 

This has led to a change in Tesla's first quarter guidance, where the company has announced full profitability in both GAAP and non-GAAP. 

"I am incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work. There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution," said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. "I would also like to thank our customers for their passionate support of the company and the car. Without them, we would not be here."

Tesla Model S

Tesla made another Model S announcement today regarding the battery pack. According to the automaker, only 5 percent of customers chose the small battery option of 40 kWh, which is not enough to enter it into production. 

Hence, these customers will receive the 60 kWh version that has been “software limited” to 40 kWh. While capacity will be limited to 40 kWh, customers will still be able to take advantage of the quicker acceleration and higher top speed afforded by the larger battery pack.

In addition, Tesla said all 60 kWh vehicles have been built with Supercharger hardware included, meaning that customers can drive longer distances by stopping at a Supercharger recharging station.

Tesla encountered some rough patches earlier this year, such as when a journalist from The New York Times took a test drive this winter and reported a horrific venture. More specifically, he said that the Model S didn't have the range Tesla said it did, and ended up on a flatbed truck at the end of the trip. Musk and the NYT journalist (John Broder) ended up feuding over the matter, with most people siding with Musk.

Tesla also recently announced that there would be a delay to production of the Model X. Tesla had hoped to begin production of the vehicle this year, but those plans have been put off until late 2014 (meaning deliveries will likely be pushed to 2015). 

However, Tesla also has much to celebrate. Not only is the Model S taking off and the company is now profitable, but it recently announced that it will be able to pay off its $465 million government loan within five years. 

Just last month, Tesla said it was shipping over 500 Model S EVs weekly. 

Source: Tesla Motors

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By jr9k on 4/1/2013 11:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
How long will it take to jailbreak that battery?

RE: Jailbreak
By monomer on 4/1/2013 11:56:16 AM , Rating: 2
Voiding the warranty on your car is a different story than voiding the warranty on your phone.

RE: Jailbreak
By Brandon Hill on 4/1/2013 12:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking that myself... but given how much monitoring/logging software is on the Model S (as witnessed by the NYT incident) Tesla could find out pretty quickly if you hacked the software to enable what is essentially a $10,000 battery upgrade.

You probably could do it, but as monomer said, your warranty would be shot to hell. And with something relatively "new/untested" like the Model S, that would be incredibly foolish.

RE: Jailbreak
By Spuke on 4/1/2013 1:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
So it's cheaper to limit the 60kWh battery to 40kWh than to produce a 40kWh battery? Why didn't they do that from the get go?

RE: Jailbreak
By Mint on 4/1/2013 1:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
Only because of the low volume (5% is about 1000 cars). The cost of making modifications to the assembly process would take a big bite out of the battery savings.

On top of that, if they built it, they need new EPA certification for range/efficiency, they dilute the brand a bit (the "slowest" one would be 6.5s instead of the current 5.9s for the 60kWh), they need another model for documentation, the smaller battery would go through more cycles for the same range and thus could affect model reliability scores, etc.

Personally, I think they should instead seriously consider building a 30kWh PHEV with a tiny generator in the frunk, maybe even natural gas if they insist on being gasoline free. They'll sell every EV they can build for a while, so they don't need it right now, but it really is the next step for going mass market.

RE: Jailbreak
By CharonPDX on 4/1/2013 3:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
In addition, it will allow for paid software upgrades to the full capacity.

If/when they start their "quick battery swap" program, it will allow for more regularity across the line (take in the limited-to-40 battery and perform the firmware swap to make it a full 60, etc.)

RE: Jailbreak
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 11:56:42 AM , Rating: 1
it will allow for paid software upgrades to the full capacity.


Tesla Owner calls Tesla dealership: "My battery is empty again, I'm stuck on the side of the road!"
Dealer: "You know, for a mere $10,000 we can remotely enable the extra battery capacity"

RE: Jailbreak
By btc909 on 4/1/2013 3:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree. For lower end models offer a generator with no connection to the drive wheels to recharge the battery. I'm sure Tesla can figure out how to make it very quiet as well.

RE: Jailbreak
By ritualm on 4/1/2013 2:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the amount of bureaucratic red tape involved, and considering there's a slightly larger version that already has all of that stuff out of the way, why not? Besides, the chances of the customer "jailbreaking" their 40kWh Model S to operate as a bona fide 60kWh model without tipping off Tesla's support folks are very slim.

Chip companies do that all the time.

RE: Jailbreak
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 4/1/2013 1:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
And will there be a legal unlock process?

Me, I want to know if the battery is upgradable for future tech, and if so, will those upgrades unlock performance in the motor as the voltage goes up..

RE: Jailbreak
By Mint on 4/1/2013 1:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
According to the article they'll already get the faster performance of the 60kWh model.

Have only seen 85kwh models
By BillyBatson on 4/1/2013 10:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
There are 7 seperate parents who have kids attending the private school I work at that drive the Tesla model S 5 of which are the color white, all 7 are equipped with the 85kwh batteries. I definitely believe them when they say no one wants the 40kwh it's not only less convenient but you have to watch the charge closer but most importantly when you are spending that much on a care you can and really should afford the highest option.

RE: Have only seen 85kwh models
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 12:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
5 of which are the color white

Well it's not as though the things have enough battery capacity to burn more than you have to on air-conditioning.

RE: Have only seen 85kwh models
By toffty on 4/2/2013 2:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
AC actually uses very little energy - ie maybe a loss of a mile or two over a 100 mile drive.

Heating is the one that you need to worry about

RE: Have only seen 85kwh models
By BillyBatson on 4/2/2013 5:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
Really? I've always been told the other way around that AC uses more power than heating? Doesn't heating utilize some of the heat from the engine? Either way I doubt these people chose white for the sake of SoCal summer heat, white is just popular out here and the white makes the black room on the model S stand out more. My 07' civic coupe, 08' BMW 3 series coupe, and current 13' Fusion have all been white, I like the way a white car looks especially with tinted windows and they seem to stay cleaner looking.

By lagomorpha on 4/3/2013 11:10:38 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't heating utilize some of the heat from the engine?

It would if you were talking about a combustion engine that has to dump a lot of waste heat somewhere. IIRC electric cars have to use what's basically an electric space heater which is going to draw some power. Though at 85kwh you could run a 1500w space heater for over 2 days assuming you didn't want to actually drive anywhere.

i'm siding with musk
By sixteenornumber on 4/1/2013 11:40:16 AM , Rating: 2
I just did a search on the NY times web site and found that john broader is still writing for them. Good to see the persistence paid off with the profits.

RE: i'm siding with musk
By GotThumbs on 4/1/2013 1:19:30 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think anyone is really surprised that the NYT is willing to continue employing the twit IMO.

Journalistic elaboration/spin is the norm today and not the exception IMO. Just look at todays "news casters" (aka news readers) and their sense that people care about their opinions. As a responsible/capable adult, I only need to know all the facts of a story. I do not need some guy/girl reading off the teleprompter to spice it up or give me their unwanted thoughts.

It's simply a reminder to all responsible readers/individuals, to remember that each and every writer/journalist has at some level...a bias and leaning when it comes to their writing/message.

Best wishes,

Funny sales numbers
By DT_Reader on 4/1/2013 3:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla announced today that Model S sales reached 4,750, exceeding the sales outlook of 4,500 posted in the February shareholder letter.

Just last month, Tesla said it was shipping over 500 Model S EVs weekly.

So, that means so far they've sold just over 9 weeks of production? I think someone's got their sales figures off by an order of magnitude, or there's more to this story that DT isn't reporting.

By pjs on 4/1/2013 6:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
If I received a software limited 60kW version of the 40kW version of the model S I ordered, I be happy at first but knowing that my model S is capable of more by merely re-arranging a few 1s and 0s ("updating" the software), I think that I may eventually want the whole monty.

Perhaps offer a software upgrade (remove the remaining limitations between the limited 60kW version and the "real" 60kW version), for about half or so of the price difference between the 40kW and the 60kW versions.

I understand that, for the relative small numbers of 40kW versions ordered, production is not justified. What Tesla is doing here makse sense.

Congratulations and good luck to Tesla!

By Philippine Mango on 4/1/2013 6:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you're an owner of one of these cars, you may find your battery last longer than most people's as less of the capacity is being utilized. Also these owners may find themselves in the future getting the electronics from salvaged Teslas with the 60kwh battery and doing a swap for less than $10K.

But is it sustainable?
By djc208 on 4/2/2013 6:49:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'm all for Tesla doing well and pushing this tech more mainstream, but I have to wonder if their forcasts are sustainable?

Can't help but feel its going to be like the Volt where those who wanted one for what it is jumped at them and after that it has to compete in the market on its merrits, which is a much tougher proposition.

I like the car, but I can't afford it and if I could still wouldn't buy one since it couldn't be my only vehicle.

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