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Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the silent-upgrades dept.

Transportation 106

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 Which raises the question, are model year 2012 Model S sedans already outdated?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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106 comments

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Yay, users love updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154113)

Can't wait until all my things need constant updates and I can never get the same thing again to replace lost or damaged items.

Re: Yay, users love updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154201)

With proper change control it's ok

Re: Yay, users love updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154583)

No, it's not. Half the calls for help I get with regard to computer systems are due to updates that silently change things. I really don't need this to expand beyond computers.

Re: Yay, users love updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47163871)

Then quit servicing Microsoft systems. In the meantime, Tesla takes care of its own. The last thing that they need is a fuckup like you touching things.

Holy editing batman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154227)

I'm speechless.

"Unlike other automakers, Tesla..." (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154311)

Not so. Different manufactorers have different approaches - PSA for example have always had a "continual change" process so that what's available not is slightly different to 3 months ago, and slightly more different to 6 months ago, independantly of "new model facelifts".

WTF? (4, Interesting)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 months ago | (#47154317)

These are changes to the options not the car. Surely all manufacturers do this (in most of the world, if not the USA).

FIle under underwhelming slashvertisment?

Mod -1: pointless

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154379)

These are changes to the options not the car.

It actually says that in TFS. At the very end of TFS that is. So yeah, seems kind of misleading to me.

Re:WTF? (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 4 months ago | (#47155049)

FIle under underwhelming slashvertisment?

Amen to that! The 'slashvertisement' thought occurred to me about half way through reading TFS. Talking about technical innovations, production problems, bugs, or relevant regulations would be appropriate. Talking about how Tesla is engaging in the sleazy practices that have been the hallmark of its entire industry for decades? Not so much...

Re:WTF? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#47155195)

How is adding new available options a "sleazy practice"? I am a little surprised they didn't have power folding mirrors before, but still, offering them now as an option isn't a "sleazy practice", it's the normal practice of a manufacturer updating a product line.

Re:WTF? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47160525)

Nope. It's highly rare to have an option added or changed mid-year. Traditional makers hold off updates for the next model year. Tesla doesn't. That's not worthy of a front-page Slahdot story, but it is actually different from the rest of the automotive industry.

Just another example of how Tesla didn't copy the status quo when it started making cars.

E-D-I-T-O-R-S!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154325)

For the love of gawd, what do Slashdot's "editors" do? That is the worst written/edited summary I've ever seen on Slashdot and that's saying something... Come on guys, it's not a book - it's ONE FREAKIN' PARAGRAPH. Edit the damn thing and make it, you know, English.

Ripe for abuse (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154371)

I had actually ordered a Tesla, but cancelled it largely due to their: "ultra-high-fidelity sound package." The $2500 ultra-high-fidelity sound package" is the exact same package as the original $500 "sound studio" package. The only difference is the price hike and they now list the subwoofer as speaker 12 vs. they used to only list 11 speakers -- everything else is the same which my dealer admitted to me as did the stick on a previous model car sitting in the shop area. If you want a citation, see: http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/new-sound-system .

When I began investigating the updates that Tesla had been rolling out, it untangled a lovely mess of what amounted to nothing more than price hikes. The sound system was the most obvious, but the "leather" package is another. It's now split into multiple packages at 3X the price vs. the former single package that included everything.

Tesla's upgrade system makes it very difficulty to sort out, and I found the practice highly deceptive. The final straw was when I went to pick up my car. They showed me my car at just under $90,000, and then a demo car that had just been delivered that was under the old pricing with substantially more features on it than the car I had ordered. At a $2,000 difference, it was a no-brainer. They went to do the paperwork and told me that couldn't sell it under the previous pricing (aka. before the packages had been split up, sound system jacked to $2500, etc.), but could sell it to me for $108,000.

I walked out. They're welcome to make money, but their system is confusing and I believe designed to hide their price gouging. I found the practice to be worthy of a traditional car dealership, and not something I wanted to participate in.

Oh well, I'm sure they sold both cars to someone else.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1, Troll)

Bugpowda (671725) | about 4 months ago | (#47154883)

I totally concur. I was planning on getting a P85 Tesla with some of my Bitcoin profits, but the price hikes and additional required option add-ons (red brake calipers, CF spoiler) really turned me off. Nicely equipped build is $100k after tax breaks, and $110,000 after sales tax in CA. Also the Tesla LED running lights and tail lights look dated. Decided the BITCAR would be put in production as a Porsche Macan S. Just as sporty, more comfortable seats, better sound, adaptive cruise control, anti-collision auto-braking, roof rails and cooler running lights. $67k (75 after sales tax). Worse nav and crappy gas milage tho 17/23. Saved $35,000, got a nice, though less revolutionary car.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155291)

Reviewers here in Europe always compare the Model S to a similarly-priced BMW or Mercedes.

Frankly, you get a heck of a lot more 'luxury' for your dollar (or euro) by going with one of those. And the mileage isn't much worse, given the vastly higher electricity prices in Europe :-)

Re:Ripe for abuse (3, Interesting)

joe545 (871599) | about 4 months ago | (#47155457)

I'd wager that petrol prices are comparatively higher in europe vs usa then electricity ones.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

joe545 (871599) | about 4 months ago | (#47155465)

than* :(

Re:Ripe for abuse (2)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#47157643)

I'd wager that petrol prices are comparatively higher in europe vs usa then electricity ones.

Europe pays a stiff premium for oil, gas and electricity.

In findings likely to inflame claims EU climate change policies are damaging the bloc's manufacturers, the International Energy Agency said Europe will lose a third of its global market share of energy-intensive exports over the next two decades because energy prices will stay stubbornly higher than those in the US.

European gas import prices are currently around three times higher than in the US while industrial electricity prices are about twice as high, creating an energy price gap Dr Birol said would last ''at least 20 years''.

''Too much of the blame for Europeâ(TM)s high energy prices is being directed at its ambitions on climate change while the main factor --- the high cost of imported energy --- is being all but ignored,â he said in a speech to Londonâ(TM)s Imperial College where he elaborated on the IEAâ(TM)s analysis of the problem.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#47156383)

Which mythical country are you referring to that has electricity prices high and at the same time petrol/diesel prices low?

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

dread (3500) | about 4 months ago | (#47156743)

1: luxury means very different things to different people. Not everyone prefers opulence.
2: electricity prices aren't homogenous in Europe at all. In the north (Norway/Sweden/Finland) electricity is cheap and generally generated in ways that have a very small environmental impact (arguably possibly in the case of nuclear power stations but still, Sweden for example get 95+ percent from hydro and nuclear).

Re:Ripe for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158837)

I was planning on getting a P85 Tesla with some of my Bitcoin profits

Nobody cares where you got the money from. It might as well have been man whore earnings.

Re:Ripe for abuse (3, Funny)

mspohr (589790) | about 4 months ago | (#47157195)

Rich people's problems.
Dude, it's an expensive car.
Bend over and take it like a man.
You are overpaying for an expensive status symbol. So, the more you overpay, the more status. You can complain to all of your other rich friends how much you overpaid for the car. Just think, you'll be the envy of your friends when they find out that you paid $108,000 for a $90,000 car. Dude, you the man.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47158271)

Back in the days, freshman Econ 101, my prof used the term "Morgan Goods" to classify the goods and services that defy the price vs demand curve. Normally demand goes down when price goes up, but for a small class of goods raising prices, mostly luxury goods in some price bands, increases the demand. May be we should rename it "Tesla Goods"

( I am not able to find that definition using google. Both words are common and have multiple meanings and SEO folks have messed up the page rank. Pretty soon Google will be useless.)

Re:Ripe for abuse (1, Offtopic)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 4 months ago | (#47158897)

I am not able to find that definition using google. Both words are common and have multiple meanings and SEO folks have messed up the page rank. Pretty soon Google will be useless.

Unless you are trying to buy something or look up extremely popular things, Google is already getting darn near useless.

Re:Ripe for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47159887)

That'd be a Giffen good

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

Mattcelt (454751) | about 4 months ago | (#47158329)

Wealthy people don't become/remain wealthy by wasting money.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 4 months ago | (#47158507)

This is a common misconception.
You clearly believe in the "save your money and you'll get rich" myth. This doesn't work. You can't legitimately earn enough money to get rich.
Rich people become/remain wealthy by figuring out some scam where they collect large amounts of money from other people. Most of these schemes fall under a "business" category although some inherit money.
Rich people are notorious for wasting money on useless stuff. They don't care if they waste money. They have lots and more is coming in every day from the suckers who are stuck overpaying for whatever monopoly goods and services they have set up as their scam.

Re:Ripe for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47160579)

You clearly believe that "rich" is some kind of binary thing.

To correct your last para, some sufficiently rich people are notorious for wasting a proportion of their total money on useless stuff and not becoming visibly less rich. But it's indisputable that wasting enough will wipe you out, and that this does happen - take http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Gordon_Selfridge for example.

The rest of your post is so dripping in vitriol that I can only assume that Bill Gates killed your dog or something. The folks I know who are most well off run businesses, took scary chances and work every hour in the day.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 4 months ago | (#47158917)

Not all wealthy people remain wealthy.

When a person is wealthy enough, wasting $100,000 will have little to no effect on their wealth.

You can't possibly be suggesting that every expenditure of a wealthy person is a good buy, can you?

Re:Ripe for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47160599)

The key word there is wealthy "enough", which makes it kind of unenlightening. You could say the same for $100000000000000, or any amount.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

Mattcelt (454751) | about 4 months ago | (#47166889)

Agreed. Though I can only speak anecdotally, every wealthy person I know - which I'm defining here as would not need to earn any more money between now and the day they die and still live comfortably in their chosen lifestyle - is not a spendthrift.

One of the wealthiest men in the world balked at an aircraft avionics upgrade that cost less than his income for one day.

And more often than not, even seemingly-frivolous expenditures have ulterior money-making options that may have long-term returns. Richard Branson may seem a spendthrift, but I assure you that nearly everything he does has long-term gains in mind. (He is not the person referenced above, btb.) Some pan out, some do not. But an expenditure that is knowingly not a good buy is a rare event.

I don't know if the research is still the most current, but in the Millionaire Next Door study, the ONLY absolutely consistent factor for American millionaires was their marriage to frugal wives.

Frugality is very heavily correlated to wealth gain and retention; to the point where I'm comfortable calling it a factor in causation.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47160717)

Sure they do. Just when they "waste" money buying a sports team for fun, then sell it 30 years later for a few billion dollars in profit, having made a profit all along.

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47163425)

I thought Tesla didn't have dealers? Where was this?

Re:Ripe for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47165431)

They have plenty of "service shops" which act as their dealerships - test drives and all.

Obligitory Reference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154383)

Cold Weather Package (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#47154397)

Interesting - I didn't know this was out.

"Cold Weather Package: Stay warmer as the weather gets colder with new heated second-row seats, heater windshield wiper nozzles & cowl, improved defrost grill, and an upgraded battery coolant heater to improve vehicle performance and range in cold climates."

Sounds fancy. Even the cars I've had with heated seats (not a fan - I wear pants anyway) haven't had rear seat heaters. This may be a competitive item in the luxury car class. If you're bringing your kids to school and it's actually cold out they're wearing snow pants, but for those kids in Florida when it his 45*F, I guess.

I'd presume the improved defrost grill and battery coolant heaters will become stock at some point. Personally I'm waiting for the Model X (wishing for quad-motor - dammit Goodyear) because we get real winter here, but this sounds nice for folks who live where a bit of wintry mix can ruin your day in a hurry.

Re:Cold Weather Package (2)

CrankyFool (680025) | about 4 months ago | (#47154421)

Actually, my 2011 Hyundai Elantra with the Limited package has rear-seat warmers. And that car retails for something like $22K.

Re:Cold Weather Package (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154675)

Yeah, but it is a Hyundai. This is a Tesla. Slight difference.

Re:Cold Weather Package (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155273)

The difference being that the OP cawed on about "luxury vehicle" and someone has shown that, no, pretty much even the mid-low stream cars offer the same?

So much of the Tesla fanboys screaming "luxury vehicle" at every chance they get... I don't think they know the true meaning of the phrase. I've been in a Tesla, I've been in a lot of other vehicles. While I've never driven the Tesla there is little "luxury" to it that isn't considered pedestrian in a lot of other vehicles. Get over it.

It's a nice shiny car with the same business model and experience that comes with buying something from Apple. I'm not saying that in a bad way, I'm just saying that it's really not that much different. I own a rMBP and I love it, well worth the cash, but it was a bit pricey and I could have done it for cheaper but the experience wouldn't have been as satisfying and I would have had a few struggles that I would have rather avoided. Tesla is that in the EV arena. There are tons of EVs out there for less and dollar for dollar some are better for most users. But the others are a bit more restrictive... A bit more cumbersome... They have quirks that are mildly annoying and worth paying extra to avoid. The extra spent will be worth it for those that can really afford it and are willing to use it to its potential. This is like Apple. You pay a good bit more for a bit less hassle.

Tesla even has it's own propitiatory charging station, it's so much like Apple.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 4 months ago | (#47158325)

I seriously wanted a tesla. I love high tech cars and wanted something seriously high tech. But honestly at the price point there are many "features" that should be standard.

My Audi A4 has standard features that are 'upgrades' for an $80,000+ car. That is just silly.

I'll keep with my gas for now and wait for the Tesla to start making cars that meet the class I expect in that price point.

Re:Cold Weather Package (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47164853)

Your A4 flunks safety tests, seats 4, and costs many times more to run.
There are 50K Model S on the road with millions of miles and not one death or serious injury.
NO OTHER CAR/TRUCK can claim that.

I will stay with my model S. It is superior in just about every way to any car less than 200K. And in 10 years, it will still be running soundly, while your A4 will only be doing so, IFF, you spend 10's of 1000's of $ on upkeep.

Re:Cold Weather Package (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#47154493)

Since there is no excess heat from the combustion engine it is way more efficient to just heat the seats.

Good point - there was that guy who experimented with heated mouse, foot warmer, etc. to keep his personal space relatively unheated and claimed success.

Re:Cold Weather Package (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#47154923)

Question:

...coolant heaters...

WTF?

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 months ago | (#47158083)

Just an educated guess here... sometimes you need to cool the batteries, and sometimes you need to warm them. I gather that batteries tend not to work as well in the cold from the fact that the ones meant to start ICEs are often compared in terms of cold cranking amps. If you already have a way to move heat away from the batteries you'd be mad not to use the same thing in reverse to heat them if you had the need to.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#47159163)

Then there should be a slash between the words "coolant" and "heaters," i.e. "coolant/heaters."

The way it's written, it appears they're talking about devices meant to heat the coolant, which makes absolutely no sense.

T'would be nice if someone in the know could clarify this...

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 months ago | (#47159293)

It's counter-intuitive, yes, but if it works how I imagine it to they really are heating the coolant. Ordinarily the coolant would pick up heat from the batteries and move it to a radiator, but in cold weather the coolant is heated to warm the batteries. If you prefer to think of it as the heat exchange medium then you're free to do so or come up with your own more descriptive alternative but for the vast majority of the time it's just there to cool the batteries.

I freely admit that I'm pulling this out of thin air but a quick look on google tells me that the performance in a Tesla is reduced in very cold temperatures. Strapping a heater to the cooling system and adding a valve to divert the coolant away from the radiator (assuming there is one) seems quite an ingenious solution.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158161)

Lithium Ion batteries work very poorly once they're too cold and can be damaged, thus they must be heated in climates with severe winters.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47163447)

Lots of ICE cars have these as well. The batteries and an ICE perform better when up to working temperature. When the car is cold it takes them a while to warm up, so some use a heater to heat up the "coolant" faster. There are other solutions as well, such as Toyota's system that pumps warm coolant into a vacuum flask when the car is turned off to preserve the heat for next time.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 4 months ago | (#47167601)

I drive a Ford Fusion Hybrid. I think that in cold weather, most hybrids have to run the internal combustion engine to heat the coolant to operating temperatures. This is inefficient because the ICE could otherwise be turned off. I think that the Prius has a special insulated place for warm battery coolant to be stored so it will not need to be reheated as much. The Tesla feature appears to use battery power to heat the fluid so that ICE can be turned off sooner when starting in cold weather.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 4 months ago | (#47154991)

I am a little puzzled about why they would need to add battery coolant heaters: if their inverter is 95% efficient, that would already give them 1-7kW of waste heat they can use as a heater to get batteries to operating temperature fairly quickly if they bypass the radiator until then.

Of course, that does not work so well if people want to drive like madmen right out of their driveway or the highway they use is practically in their backyard. I suppose that would be who plug-in battery heaters would be for.

Re:Cold Weather Package (2)

necro81 (917438) | about 4 months ago | (#47157441)

I am a little puzzled about why they would need to add battery coolant heaters: if their inverter is 95% efficient, that would already give them 1-7kW of waste heat they can use as a heater to get batteries to operating temperature fairly quickly if they bypass the radiator until then.

For similar reasons to why people in cold climates have engine block heaters. Certainly there's lots of waste heat from an ICE to warm things up, but it is also a matter of reducing wear and tear. Using waste heat from the inverter (and the pack's own self-heating) is a sound strategy, and one that I'm sure they use, but that only works once the vehicle is operating. If the battery pack is frozen, you may not get the thing to start at all.

Additionally, keeping the engine block from such extreme (and rapid) temperature swings keeps things running smoothly and for longer. The same is true for batteries and electronics. Operating Li-Ion batteries when they are stone cold is bad for their cycle life and greatly reduces their available output (energy capacity, obviously, but also maximum sustainable current). In some chemistries, the electrolyte can actually freeze (or near enough to it), such that your output drops to zero. Keeping all the cells at the same temperature is necessary to prevent cell drift and capacity loss over time. Thermal cycling all those electrical connections in the pack (many of which are welded) is probably a bad idea, too. Batteries really, truly, do their best when they are kept at a uniform, constant, human-tolerable temperature

Re:Cold Weather Package (1, Troll)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 4 months ago | (#47155053)

"Cold Weather Package: Stay warmer as the weather gets colder with new heated second-row seats, heater windshield wiper nozzles & cowl, improved defrost grill, and an upgraded battery coolant heater to improve vehicle performance and range in cold climates."

Sounds fancy. Even the cars I've had with heated seats (not a fan - I wear pants anyway) haven't had rear seat heaters. This may be a competitive item in the luxury car class. If you're bringing your kids to school and it's actually cold out they're wearing snow pants, but for those kids in Florida when it his 45*F, I guess.

It could be an attractive option for someone with a non-zero chance of having more than one adult passenger in their car. I'm in 'Merca, so I guess that might be the one guy at the rest home that still has his license and shuttles the neighbors to bingo or the grocery store. The ones that don't yet need to take the wheelchair-lift van, that is. Okay, so it's a niche market.

Re:Cold Weather Package (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155659)

"Troll?" Some cranky mods had their cornflakes pissed in this morning.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47155989)

Sounds fancy. Even the cars I've had with heated seats (not a fan - I wear pants anyway) haven't had rear seat heaters.

My 1997 A8 has them, but neither one works :D I have all that other stuff too. No coolant heater, but there is a coolant pump which keeps the cockpit warm on residual engine heat int he winter.

Cold Weather Package (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158749)

My wife's Nissan Leaf has rear seat heaters.

Re:Cold Weather Package (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 4 months ago | (#47160309)

My 2001 Yukon has mid row seat heaters.

Lacks information (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#47154427)

Upon reading this article I miss:
- More information on which are those options.
- Whether there are packages that already include these options.
- A comprehensive "where to buy" list. Ideally, with a price reference.
- Financing offers. In case I can't buy it today but want to add it to my mortgage.
- More pictures. For reference, the traditional "Shiny car with bikini models." can suffice.
- A video where a pro pilot drives the car while describing why it is the best feeling he's ever had since he won the world cup, or something.

And, finally, a big yellow "ADD TO CART" button.

Optionally, there could also be a "Direct CHECKOUT" button that charges the cost to my google wallet and gets me the car by the time I get home from work.

Pointless story is pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154437)

Oil-burners see mid-cycle refreshes every two or three years and major revisions every four or five years. None of these updates is backwards compatible, but don't usually invalidate previous models. Tesla actually backports software updates wirelessly. You have to make a trip to the dealer for any PCM reflashes which may[or may not] improve performance of an oil-burner. The rest of the Model S is electric motors, batteries, and solid material so not much to upgrade. New battery tech could be a major update, but those will be standardized so they might actually be backwards compatible.

Re:Pointless story is pointless (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 4 months ago | (#47159071)

The best advantage to traditional ICE vehicles having regular model year changes as opposed to changes whenever they want, is that it makes it a lot easier to find the right parts for repairs. This mostly applies to mechanical parts, not computer systems. As long as Tesla is not changing suspension parts, brake systems, or systems like this multiple times a year it should be fine. Otherwise have a good time trying to replace suspension components on a 10 to 20 year old Tesla in the future.

Of course Tesla (like all car manufacturers) doesn't really care about you keeping a car for decades. They are in the business of selling new cars. It may be in their best interests to make it difficult to maintain a vehicle once it is out of warranty.

Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47164917)

Many of the new options are in fact, able to be retroactively installed. Some can not, but many are.

I have just one question, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154475)

..now if this "story" had been *any* other car manufacturer, would it in fact be on Slashdot?

Yes, the question was indeed rhetorical. Hopefully.

I would still quite like to know, though - Why does the sound of a Tesla employee farting make a frontpage splash in this site?

Truth about Tesla. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154557)

Tesla does nothing quietly.

Re:I have just one question, please. (1, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 4 months ago | (#47155425)

Why does the sound of a Tesla employee farting make a frontpage splash in this site?

What? Did a Tesla employee fart? Where did you read that? I just googled it and couldn't find anything.

Are you just spreading FUD to discredit Tesla? Post a link to a story confirming the fart, or stop spreading these false rumors.

Tesla's stock is slightly up today, by the way, so I assume there's absolutely no truth to what you were saying.

Not English in summary (0)

tekrat (242117) | about 4 months ago | (#47154601)

"there are a surprisingly number of"...

Surprisingly Number Of....
Let me think about that. Do you write goodly english?

I cannot imagine how this could ever be properly used in a sentence like that, but I'm sure some anonymous coward will tell me I'm wrong.

Re:Not English in summary (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#47154737)

I was going to write a message with a similar complaint. The "Surprisingly number of" is not even the only terrible grammatical failure in the summary. Being as Tesla is an American car, and the link goes to an American website, you can't play the "British grammar" card on this one either (though arguably that isn't proper English grammar anywhere).

It's too bad slashdot doesn't have actual editors, who actually read the front page text. Some people claim they used to have some here, though I'm not sure if that was true either.

Re:Not English in summary (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#47156033)

The editors are too busy fellating Elon Musk to edit.

Re:Not English in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154805)

You'r wrong :-)
This is not an English grammar-site.
There are approx 218 countries in the world, and you probably live in just 1: the USA i guess....
I guess this guy's English is probaby way better then your French, German, Russian, Chinese, Spanish .. and my English .....all together.

Re:Not English in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154827)

I suspect the author wrote "surprisingly *large* number of", then realized they didn't actually have a large number, and blew away the "large" without re-reading.

Long term repair complexity (3, Insightful)

torkus (1133985) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Long term repair complexity (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 4 months ago | (#47154767)

Repair shops are going to hate this game.

I suspect the typical Tesla S buyer is neither a DIY-er nor the sort that takes his baby to Pep-Boys for repair...

Re:Long term repair complexity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47156369)

Not today, but what about 5-10 years from now???
Yes, you can 100K ten year old cars for cheap and even cheaper if older. The problem is that the parts are priced for a 100k car, so it's a bad idea out of that reason. But I suspect that many original owners will want to show off that they bought a Tesla before everyone else in twenty to thirty years.

Re:Long term repair complexity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47156083)

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?

That all depends. Are we talking before, or after the fire?

Re:Long term repair complexity (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47156399)

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.

Per law, every part must be available for 10 years following the discontinuation of said model (or I presume, compatible upgrades that can be retrofitted).

But it may surprise you that a lot of the Model S I'm told is actually standard parts from other cars - e.g., the steering column is, IIRC, provided by Mercedes.

Other small bits and bobs like windshield wiper motors and assemblies I would have a hard time believing are Tesla-specific, and generally just a unit that's COTS.

As for platforms, even the big manufacturers generally only update the entire platform once a half-decade or less - each model year is a tweak or revamp of a basic design that's kept constant. Sure the screw holes change, but the basic chassis is the same, it's all the stuff around it that differs.

Of course, the major benefit of an electric car is that it's a vastly simplified drivetrain, so components that do fail, there are less of them, and the big ones are generally solid state ones that are highly reliable (the only real thing moving is the motor shaft to the wheels).

Even in Europe, where fuel prices are about 50% higher than in Canada (EUR 1.50/litre vs. CAD$1.50/litre), and electricity prices much higher, the electric aspect still saves money on the maintenance side, purely because there's so little to actually.. maintain. It's like going from a tube based computer to a transistor one.

Re:Long term repair complexity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47159107)

(the only real thing moving is the motor shaft to the wheels).

And the wheel bearings
the ball joints on the suspension
the steering components
the shocks and springs
the brake calipers

There are still plenty of parts that will wear out and need replacement

Software methodology for automobiles (3, Insightful)

aviators99 (895782) | about 4 months ago | (#47154733)

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".

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (3, Interesting)

kick6 (1081615) | about 4 months ago | (#47155427)

Whether it's great for physical products or not, everyone is doing it. firmware updates for entertainment systems ecu firmware updates. Shoot, I have an '08 Ford F250 that's a "job 2" truck. There were 3 "jobs" under the '08 model year with running changes. Sometimes rather major like moving from a frame-mounted, user replaceable, transmission filter to an in-pan filter.

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (1)

s.o.terica (155591) | about 4 months ago | (#47157775)

Shoot, I have an '08 Ford F250 that's a "job 2" truck.

Yours must not be quality then. Because at Ford, quality is job 1.

Is quantity Job Zero? (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 4 months ago | (#47158023)

Shoot, I have an '08 Ford F250 that's a "job 2" truck.

Yours must not be quality then. Because at Ford, quality is job 1.

Have you driven a Ford, lately?

Because we wouldn't want you to base your expectations on any Fords you drove before quality became job one, see.

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47156203)

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!).

One of the reasons I was one of the first to buy a Tesla is because I had money to burn.

Ba-dump. Tschh!!

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#47156411)

Model year is an U.S. only feature. In most other countries, the model year is normally not mentioned, except when it's necessary to calculate the remaining value or to decide if it needs a renewed technical certificate, those things that directly depend on the actual age of the car. If there is an actual feature update, it is normally stated as the month of introduction, as in "Since 3/2012, feature A was implemented".

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47158377)

The modern-day method of rolling software updates is great--for software.

Sez you, pal. Microsoft Word 2008, 2010, 2000, Server 2008, Windows98, ME... Model year works great for Microsoft. In fact I heard this model year is going to be good. I heard they are adding more chrome on the menu buttons, a brand new aqua green windows, and wait for it, twelve. inch. fins. yes, you heard it right, 12 inch fins on all models.

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (1)

aviators99 (895782) | about 4 months ago | (#47159605)

Sez you, pal. Microsoft Word 2008, 2010, 2000, Server 2008, Windows98, ME... Model year works great for Microsoft. In fact I heard this model year is going to be good. I heard they are adding more chrome on the menu buttons, a brand new aqua green windows, and wait for it, twelve. inch. fins. yes, you heard it right, 12 inch fins on all models.

I know you are being sarcastic, but in case others don't realize, all of these software packages are updated pretty much weekly.

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158545)

There will be no "shorthand" to say what features the vehicle has or doesn't have. Even the Roadster had "version numbers".

So is it 2.0 yet? For software I am told you should never but a 1.x release...:)

Re:Software methodology for automobiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47160743)

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.
 
While you may have been modded up both you and the summary have got this dead wrong. Changes mid model year is more common than what you think. Tesla is in no way doing business any differently than anyone else.

Planned Obsolescence (2)

greb22 (1542181) | about 4 months ago | (#47154801)

Are you complaining that Tesla isn't like most companies and adds a few simple features every year that makes last years model irrelevant? Sounds ridiculous this is a win for consumers who are obsessive compulsive about new features. They are giving you free software updates they could charge for like GPS manufactures for new maps.

Outdated in the same way... (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about 4 months ago | (#47154981)

... a computer from 2012 is outdated. Any sane person does not give two shits about it because everything still runs on it, but some "enthusiasts" never can live with having some tech from last year.

No retrofit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47156013)

Tesla must be using a seriously traditional wiring harness. When will automakers move at least the accessories to a bus-style model for both power and communications? I get why all the signals and so on should run through a traditional wiring plant, but the rest of this stuff really needs to belong to a more distributed network. The wiring that could be eliminated in the power window system alone would save pounds.

Re:No retrofit (1)

j-turkey (187775) | about 4 months ago | (#47156325)

Tesla must be using a seriously traditional wiring harness. When will automakers move at least the accessories to a bus-style model for both power and communications? I get why all the signals and so on should run through a traditional wiring plant, but the rest of this stuff really needs to belong to a more distributed network. The wiring that could be eliminated in the power window system alone would save pounds.

You mean, like CAN bus [wikipedia.org] ? Most already have.

Re:No retrofit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47158181)

You mean, like CAN bus? Most already have.

No, and you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. They're using CAN-BUS only between things like PCM and TCM, not between the BCM and the window regulators, or the seat heaters.

Re:No retrofit (2)

j-turkey (187775) | about 4 months ago | (#47158243)

No, and you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

I would have been happy to discuss this with you, but you've chosen to eschew polite conversation. Good luck with that smugness, my friend.

Re:No retrofit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47160741)

I would have been happy to discuss this with you, but you've chosen to eschew polite conversation.

Since you didn't understand my comment and therefore don't even know the topic of conversation, what could you possibly hope to add?

Re:No retrofit (1)

j-turkey (187775) | about 4 months ago | (#47161033)

Since you didn't understand my comment and therefore don't even know the topic of conversation, what could you possibly hope to add?

Actually, I had plenty to add, but since the ability to engage in civil discourse eludes you, and you would rather smugly demonstrate that you're more of a subject matter expert than everyone else, I have desire to engage in any discussion with you. Seriously, do you really talk to people like this, or does Slashdot just have this effect on you?

Re:No retrofit (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47162157)

Seriously, do you really talk to people like this, or does Slashdot just have this effect on you?

When I say "blah blah blah" and someone says "oh yeah, I know all about bluh bluh bluh" then I say "Well, I'm talking about blah blah blah". On Slashdot, I have to compose longer replies, because Slashdot has a bunch of rules supposedly intended to improve post quality which actually decrease it. For example, the delay between posts encourages long-winded ranting when people could just jot off a thought and be done. Ditto for the per-day posting limit. In general, I feel compelled to get more than one complete thought into a comment.

In any case, nobody is using CAN where I said they should be using a bus, where you said they were using CAN. So what do you think you have to add?

Re:No retrofit (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 4 months ago | (#47158559)

LIN bus goes between these.

Re:No retrofit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47162333)

LIN bus goes between these.

Yes, automakers are just barely beginning to do this now on the very highest-end vehicles. I find it a bit inexplicable, because it involves few new components, and most of them have pretty straightforward functions when it comes right down to it (e.g. relay control and feedback) which means they could use the same modules over and over again, which of course isn't what they're doing.

Re:No retrofit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47160767)

Dude, why do you have to come off like a douchebag and a faggot? Oh, that's right... it's because you are a douchebag and a faggot.

Re:No retrofit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47160785)

Dude, why do you have to come off like a douchebag and a faggot? Oh, that's right... it's because you are a douchebag and a faggot.

If I'm a douchebag and a faggot, then you're the coward who's too afraid of a douchebag and a faggot to even associate his excoriation with a psuedonym, let alone their name. Why not spare us any further cowardliness?

Not a normal car (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 4 months ago | (#47156751)

A Tesla S is not a normal family car, it costs the about the same a Porsche 911, so it firmly in the luxury/sports car bracket, so expensive options are normal, and every car as a custom build is not unexpected, rolling changes are not that unusual (outside the USA)

Small batch manufacturing (1)

chronotis (1798248) | about 4 months ago | (#47165119)

Seems similar to what other small-scale auto manufacturers have done in the past. DeLorean Motor Company, for example, implemented changes as soon as they were able, not waiting for a model-year change -- slight changes to the interior, the disappearing fuel filler flap, and a minor change in the brake light circuit's wiring all come to mind. I'd not be surprised if other manufacturers with small production numbers (i.e. Lotus & Lamborghini [not counting their tractors]) take a similar tack to incremental updates like this.
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