What that means is that those wanting to buy a Tesla Model S after April 16, 2017, won’t be able to purchase a unit with a battery pack lower than 75 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in capacity.
This was already the case, in a way, as recently manufactured Tesla Model S 60 and 60D units actually featured 75 kWh battery packs — which were simply software limited to a 60 kWh capacity (which actually helped to reduce battery pack degradation).
The idea was that simply putting the 75 kWh battery packs in the Model S 60 and 60D units as well as the 75 and 75D ones would simplify manufacturing quite a lot. Also noteworthy is that, by doing so, those who bought Model S 60 and 60D units could simply pay a fee to upgrade to the 75 kWh battery pack capacity — which would take place entirely on the level of software, since the hardware was already there.
It’s an interesting approach — though, apparently not worth the trouble going by the recent announcement from Tesla.
Here’s the full text of the email:
“One year ago, we introduced the Model S 60 kWh battery as a more affordable option to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. However, most customers ended up buying an equivalent to the Model S 75 kWh. To simplify the ordering process for our customers, we will be removing the 60 kWh option from our lineup.
“Customers who still want the opportunity to own a 60 kWh Model S will have until April 16, 2017 to place their order. Any 60 kWh Model S will have the ability to upgrade their battery to 75 kWh via an over the air update.”
Presumably, this decision is part of the company’s efforts to streamline the production lines ahead of the start of Model 3 mass production and to clear up floor space. Or possibly it was really just a matter of weak demand for the low-end Model S.
The news doesn’t seem too surprising, as none of the Tesla buyers (and potential Tesla buyers) that I’ve talked to have seemed all that keen about the “low-range” offerings.