The Canadian version of Tesla’s online design studio seems to have removed the option for the purchase of a Model S with an 85 kWh battery pack, causing rampant speculation, as most anything Tesla-related seems to do nowadays.
Should we take this as a sign that the company will be revealing a new 95 kilowatt-hour (kWh) option to replace the removed 85 kWh option? Is this merely the result of the company looking to restrict options a bit in periphery markets while catching up on the Model X backlog? Is Elon Musk an evil genius, leaving us unable to accurately understand his actions?
All good questions, some more than others. Given that the Tesla CEO has stated in the past that we can expect to see battery capacity improvements of around 5% a year, the possibility that we may soon see an option for 95 kWh battery packs seems credible enough. Though perhaps that’s simply wishful thinking?
Teslarati provides more:
The 85 kWh battery has been the largest size battery offering since Tesla first opened up Model S for orders in 2012. In 2013, Tesla discontinued a 40 kWh version of the battery due to lack of demand, leaving both a 60 kWh version and the 85 kWh pack as available options. More recently, Tesla has discontinued the 60 kWh battery and replaced it with a 70 kWh version capable of 230 miles (385 km) of range, as well as introduced the 90 kWh battery capable of over 270+ miles, during the time when the company announced its Ludicrous mode option.
Tesla made the 70D variant of the Model S the entry level model, but then backtracked and reinstated a rear wheel drive version for $5,000 less. The company seems to be experimenting with different equipment combinations, trying to find the perfect alignment of affordability, performance, supply, and profits. By having the 70 kWh and 90 kWh as the only available battery options, Tesla is leaving a significant step in price between the battery configurations perhaps as a strategic move to cater to two different types of audiences – those that want a lower cost barrier of entry while having 200+ miles of range, and those that seek longer range with higher performance in mind.
It may simply be, of course, that the company wanted to reduce the number of options in order to streamline production further. After all, with the Model X now being produced in large numbers — and the Model 3 to begin production in the relatively near future as well — the company probably doesn’t need to offer more than 2 options for Model S battery pack sizes (“affordable” and “maxed-out”).