Tesla’s Competitor: Fisker, went out of business when its lithium ion batteries exploded when they got wet in a storm. Musk’s lithium ion batteries will also explode when they get wet!



How did Tesla make some of its cars travel further during Hurricane Irma?


The electric-car giant gave customers a lifeline by remotely boosting their vehicles’ battery capacity. But this act of kindness also highlighted that it had been selling identical cars at different prices



Tesla’s cheaper models had their battery range limited. Photograph: Ben Smith for the Guardian




Simon Usborne


12.10 EDT 17.00 EDT


Tesla drivers who fled Hurricane Irma last weekend received an unexpected lesson in modern consumer economics along the way. As they sat on choked highways, some of the electric-car giant’s more keenly priced models suddenly gained an extra 30 or so miles in range thanks to a silent free upgrade.


The move, confirmed by Tesla, followed the request of one Florida driver for a limit on his car’s battery to be lifted. Tesla’s cheaper models, introduced last year, have the same 75KwH battery as its more costly cars, but software limits it to 80% of range. Owners can otherwise buy an upgrade for several thousands of dollars. And because Teslas software updates are online, the company can make the changes with the flick of a virtual switch.


It is, points out economist Alex Tabarrok, an example of price discrimination – in this case, the art of selling superficially worse versions of the same or similar product for less. And it is nothing new. “The only thing that has changed is that companies can now change the offering during the life cycle of the product,” says Dr Georg Tacke, a consumer pricing expert and the chief executive of global consultancy Simon Kucher. “As more software gets into our hardware, the more we are going to see this.”


In Damaged Goods, a paper on the subject published by MIT in 1996, economists Raymond Deneckere and Preston McAfee showed how limiting products to make them cheaper can even cost a company more in the short term. In 1990, IBM launched LaserPrinter E, a cheaper version of its LaserPrinter. The only difference? A chip modification that slowed the printing speed to five rather than 10 pages per minute.


But, as Tacke explains, manufacturing two genuinely different versions of a product costs a lot more. The challenge is to predict the willingness to pay of customers while making them feel as if they have benefited from value – or better features. “If you have one product and the price is too high, people don’t buy it. But if it’s too low, you don’t exploit some customers’ willingness to pay,” he says. “So you differentiate and, yes, that means damaging the product in some way.”


This is why there is now also a market for “remapping” modern cars: tweaking their software to unleash hidden performance – like a video game cheat – without touching the engines. Mobile phone and household appliance makers use similar marketing ploys to differentiate products – and sell more overall.


But should we feel cheated by this sleight of hand? “Get used to it,” says Tacke. The key to pulling it off, he adds, is to manage expectations and to do the research to get the prices right. Tesla customers driving the cheaper cars knew what the payoff was. And the company had the last laugh; it no longer offers cheaper cars with the “damaged” battery, because most people bought the upgrade anyway.


Elon Musk Magically Extends Battery Life Of Teslas Fleeing Irma



by Tyler Durden


Sep 11, 2017 4:55 AM






In what is either a generous act of charity or an unnerving example of the control Tesla exercises over the vehicles it producers, or perhaps both, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has magically unlocked the batteries of every Tesla in Florida to maximize the distance that people fleeing from Hurricane Irma can travel before stopping to refuel at one of the company’s “superstation” charging centers.


Typically, these types of over-the-air upgrades can cost thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars.


But Musk is temporarily offering full battery capacity to all owners of Model S/X 60/60D vehicles with 75 kilo watt battery packs, according to Electrek, a blog that covers electric vehicles.


The upgrade will surely help Floridians who are still rushing to escape as the now category 3 storm makes its second landfall near Naples. The upgrade will last through Saturday.



As a Tesla spokesperson explained to Electrek, the company decided on the mass-unlocking strategy after a customer called and asked if the company could upgrade his battery because he was trying to flee the storm. Tesla’s Supercharger network is fairly extensive in Florida and most owners should be able to get by even with a Model S 60 (the shortest range option).


A Tesla Model S 60 owner in Florida told Electrek that his Tesla was getting 40 more miles without a charge after Tesla had temporarily unlocked the remaining 15 kilo watts of the car’s software-limited battery pack.


The company says that a Tesla owner in a mandatory evacuation zone required another ~30 more miles of range to optimize his evacuation route in the traffic and they reached out to Tesla who agreed to a temporary access to the full 75 kWh of energy in the battery pack, an upgrade that has cost between $4,500 and $9,000 depending on the model and time of upgrade.”


The company also decided to temporarily unlock other vehicles with the same software-lock battery packs in the region.


Tesla’s supercharger network is fairly extensive in Florida and most owners should be able to get by even with a Model S 60 (the shortest range option), but sometimes that 30 more miles of range can make a big difference.


Most of the supercharger stations in the state are still open:



Though a handful in the affected area have closed…