Tesla Locks 1/3 of Customer’s Battery Range for $4,500 Ransom

In Tesla’s early days, they offered cars with difference range and battery size. Eventually, it became just one battery size with range limited via a software lock. For example, the Model S 60 and Model S 90 had the same 90 kWh battery. The S 60 was software limited to 60 kWh.

Later, Tesla offered owners the option to unlock the battery for an additional cost. The upgrade even include changing the badge and screen display to reflect the new model. Tesla has since phased this out, but the company still used software-locked battery packs when doing warranty replacements of battery. If you need to replace the battery on an old Model S 60 today, you would get a 100 kWh battery pack that would be software limited to 60 kWh.

There is nothing really wrong with this. After all, you bought a Model S 60, not a Model S 100. However, a situation came up where a customer bought a used Model S 90 that used to be a Model S 60, and it has created a PR crisis that Tesla has completely mishandled.


The customer had the Tesla service center upgrade the car computer to work with LTE since Tesla is shutting down 3G. After the service, Tesla called to say they found an error in the vehicle configuration and would send an over the air update to fix it. The fix reverted his car a Model S 60 and locked away 1/3, or 80 miles, of range from his battery pack.

The customer tried to explain to Tesla that he bought the car as a Model S 90 and and asked them to unlock his battery, but Tesla told him that he had to pay $4,500 to unlock the full capability.


It was only after this thread went viral on Twitter that Tesla reached out to the customer to say they would “take care of it right away.” As of this morning, the customer has his full 90 kWh battery back.


While it’s good to hear that Tesla fixed the issue, the issue should have never happened in the first place. The car started out as a Model S 60 but somewhere along its life it was upgraded to a Model S 90, and the customer bought it as a Model S 90. For Tesla to demand an additional $4,500 to give him what he had already paid for is inexcusable. Maybe they shouldn’t have gotten rid of their PR department.

Source: jhonchow

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