Though the Tesla Model S is rated for up to 265 miles of driving between charges, even the most ardent supporters will admit that number is realistic only under ideal conditions. In the real world, the driving range of electric cars can be affected by hills, speed, and even the ambient temperature. And once again, it’s Musk to the rescue.
In a tweet posted this weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to “end range anxiety” with an over-the-air (OTA) update to every variant of the Model S. We’ll find out exactly how Musk plans to end range anxiety this Thursday, which leaves us a few days for speculation. One thing I can tell you for sure; the man knows how to write a quotable headline.
As to what this update entails, I have a few ideas, some more plausible than others. My guess is that Tesla is releasing either an update to the estimated driving range calculator, and/or revamped navigation system that takes into account topography, traffic, air temperatures, and charging station locations to provide a more accurate roadmap. Tesla owners often bemoan the inaccuracy of the range calculator (which others will defend as still better than most other EVs), and considering Tesla’s air suspension can learn how to avoid potholes on its own, it’s not such a far idea that the automaker could provide better range data using available map info.
Tesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety … via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 15, 2015
There are a few other possibilities, including Tesla freeing up some extra battery capacity towards more range, though even a 20% improvement would only add, at most, about 53 miles on top of the 265. Over 310 miles of driving range would be a welcome improvement to be sure, but I also wouldn’t sell it as an end to range anxiety. Musk has been caught making promises via Twitter, only to go back and scrub those tweets later on when said-promises didn’t pan out. But his promise to add more range to the Tesla Roadster did turn out to be true, so it’s kind of a wash if you ask me.
Thankfully, Elon Musk isn’t teasing this one for weeks like he did the Dual Motor Drive or Autopilot features. We’ll know in just a few days how Musk plans to end one of the biggest obstacles facing EV adoption. Though Flavor Flav might say “don’t believe the hype,” Musk has done a pretty good job of living up to his reputation as a real-world Tony Stark. Is the hype real this time?