Base Tesla Model S Gets Battery Upgrade To 75 kWh

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Tesla has apparently completed another small battery leap, as it is on the verge of rolling out Model S sedans with 75 kWh battery packs rather than 70 kWh battery packs (h/t Steve Hanley and “nkole“).


If you don’t follow Tesla closely, it is tremendously focused on bringing down the cost of its lithium-ion batteries (alongside Panasonic) — that’s the most critical thing needed to get the stunning-yet-affordable Model 3 to production. Tesla hired li-ion battery guru Jeff Dahn last year, and it has provided several other signs of its tremendous focus on improving it batteries via chemistry changes, economies of scale, and manufacturing improvements.

Back to the news: the 75 kWh battery pack is going to be an option on top of the bas 70 kWh Model S, reportedly $3,000 more than the base 70 kWh pack and launch next week. That said, if the way Tesla has done previous battery upgrades is any indication of what’s to come (of course it is!), Tesla is likely to phase out the 70 kWh at some point and make the 75 kWh the base option.

Importantly, if you just ordered and had shipped a Tesla Model S 70/70D and are interested in the battery upgrade to 75 kWh, have no worry, you can upgrade to 75 kWh if you wish. Via “gcgp” on the TMC forum:

I emailed my DS [delivery specialist], looks like you are correct. Here is the reply.

“We’ve just found out that your Model S is going to have the option to upgrade via firmware to the 75kWh battery pack. We don’t have official Australian pricing yet, but you’ll be able to do it before or after delivery. The US price will be $3250, but our Sales team will have a call campaign to confirm with you once pricing is out.”


And the all-important point: the 75 kWh battery pack reportedly increases the Model S electric sedan’s rated range from 240 miles to 259 miles — not too shabby.

People got word of the upgrade when it hit CARB’s website, which shows cars eligible for the highly coveted carpool-lane stickers..

While we still don’t have any indication of timing, there has long been rumor (and hacking) that Tesla has a 100 kWh battery pack on the way for the Model S. Increasing the bottom end first and soon jumping to the top-of-the-line offering seems extremely likely at this point. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re just dying for an epic Tesla Model S P100D.

There’s also been rumor that Model S prices would increase with these larger-capacity batteries, so get your base 70 kWh Model S ASAP if you are fine with 240 miles of range and concerned about a $3,000 (potential) price increase. From a March article on EV Obsession:

In particular, a number of Tesla employees have recently been quoted as saying that Model S pricing would be going up in April (following an announcement to be made at the Model 3 unveiling perhaps?) — which would suggest that changes to what’s on offer are in the works.

Knowing, to some degree, Tesla’s challenges hitting timelines, it’s not all that surprising that the changes didn’t quite come through in April, but close. And all for the better, in my opinion. I think keeping the April focus on the Model 3 (for the most part) made a lot of sense.

Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0), via

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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34 thoughts on “Base Tesla Model S Gets Battery Upgrade To 75 kWh

  • 5 kwh increase = $3000. $600 kwh. Pricey. These battery increases help make a distinction between the S and the model3. The 3 may be 45, 55, and 65 kwh models. The 45 gets 215 miles; the 55 gets 258; the 65 gets 300 miles.

    The Model S and X will start at 75 and go up to 100. The 100P will aim for 350 mile range.

    • yeah, just hard to know if how much of the price difference is due to an actual cost-of-production premium.

      • They are saying its a firmware update. Normally, that means electronics, not batteries. This is odd. If true, it means they found to a way to increase the amount of energy available.

        • Or they have a 75kWh pack in all base cars coming out of the factory now and will remotely activate the extra 5kWh only if you pay for it. Isn’t this what was done with the early 40kWh cars that actually had 60kWh packs that were activated before being sold under the CPO program?

          • True. We don’t know which or if its a combination.

          • If that’s the case then $3000+ for a firmware update is gouging Tesla’s very loyal customer base. Not good, the kind of shitty thing you would expect from GM not Tesla. Would be disappointing if true.

        • Right… forgot about that. A Telus (yes Telus, not Tesla) engineer told me that secret about 2 weeks ago, and I thought he couldn’t be right. But there you go…the 75 kwh battery is already in, it just needs wireless activation. That seems to be the way the game is played these days.

          • Come to think of it, is it possible the p90 is already a p100 that needs the click of a button?

      • It will be interesting to see if Model 3 is mostly kept below the range of a base Model S. It’s hard to splurge all that extra money on S if Model 3 has the same or better range in some cases. It just goes to show how awesome Model 3 is by itself – it’s not just a cheaper S.

        • Some percentage of the market wants larger cars. BMW makes two sizes larger than their ‘Mo3 sized’ 5-series, does it not?

          • Yes, luxury sedan vs mid size. People pay for such differences all the time. The high end Model S 100P will also have the highest mileage…approaching 350.

        • Good point.

          You can have a Merc C63 with a massive 6.2 litre engine in a compact car. You do not need to get a bigger Merc to get that engine.

          So one should not need to buy a bigger Tesla to get a 70kWh battery.

        • There will always be a market for the most expensive item no matter if it is worth it or not!

  • This is something I really don’t like about Tesla. They charge thousands of dollars for adding a few lines of code to your car’s firmware, done at no cost to them, over the air. They did this with the 40 KWH battery option on the early model S and are doing it again with Autopilot and now this. It is a form of ransomware and Tesla users should really fight back, by using hackers to unlock their car’s full potential, taking Tesla to court if they’re vindictive about it and refuse future upgrades. In my mind this is unethical and will cost Tesla in the long run as it spoils their squeaky clean, save the planet image.

    • Is it a legal requirement that phones be able to call 911 without credit or is it the goodness of the telcos that they allow it.

    • Software companies do this all the time. Buy the product at one price but then, for a few dollars more, get a code that unlocks more features.

      From a manufacturing standpoint, it makes sense to put one battery and use software to control it. I’d be perfectly happy if they put a 500hp motor in the car, then limited it to 300hp to increase range. Some could pay for the extra 200 horses, others would not have to pay for something they didn’t want or need.

      • A few dollars is fine but a few thousand? You can actually buy a decent used car for that kind of money and in some countries a brand new one. I really hate it when a company deliberately makes their product worse than it could be and holds you to ransom to unlock the full feature set. They aren’t exactly giving away Teslas for free, they’re already pricier than comparable, but much more luxurious rivals, so this sort of tight-fistedness does not make sense to me. Imagine if apple sold you a 700-dollar iphone, then charged you extra to switch on certain features, such as LTE or fingerprint sensors, even though they were already built into the product.

        • Name one cheaper, but more luxurious sedan, that is also EV

          • I did not mean an EV. The Model S is positioned to compete with the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-class. I believe it costs significantly more than its rivals, though that is offset by much lower running costs.

          • Compairing ICE vehicles and evs is like compairing oranges and apples. I don’t think Tesla considers ICE vehicles as competition just because of the huge difference.

          • Tesla looks at ICE vehicles as the horse and buggy and is on the way out. Although while ICE goes out Tesla or other EVs will have to prove to be as good or better in relation to performance before it replaces it! I don’t just mean 0 TO 60 IN 2.9 seconds but range and ease of getting it fixed and fueled! Just like getting hay for your horse was hard or gas for you car got easier.

          • The Mod 3 will be the 5-Series competition.

            The Mod S is a larger car than the 5, it’s has about the same footprint (width x length) as the 7-Series.

          • The Model 3 has been promoted from the very beginning as a Series 3 rival. It is probably slightly smaller in terms of length, but has more inner room. The S does not compete with the 7-series or the S-class as it is not a luxury sedan. In reality it is a 5-series/E-class competitor. It does not have a long wheelbase model either, which are the main sellers in the Luxury sedan class. In reality the model S is cramped in the back with poor headroom and a compromised seating position, definitely not a chauffeur-driven vehicle.

        • I don’t think its ransom. Ransom is paying to get something back that you already own. Tesla is not forcing you to buy the upgrades. Some may want the extra bells and whistles, while others may not. Other car companies do the same. I like manual transmission cars. But if you look at the option packages, you cannot get NAV screen or backup camera without also buying the automatic transmission option and leather seats. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to build the car if there was one NAV/radio with the ability to enable or disable the NAV feature for those that wanted it?

          If you look at the iPhone as an example, it would depend on the feature. The ability to access data is built into the phone. Neither my mom or dad want to be able to get on the Internet on their phones. It would be better for them to buy the phone without that feature enabled for a cheaper price, with the ability to turn it on either later, or for others at the time of purchase for a higher price.

      • You’re wrong the 500hp engine derated to 300hp is costing you more because you pay for the added upgrades to make the engine handle the horsepower. Not only that your vehicle is hauling around the extra weight that would not be needed in a 300hp engine. Therefore you are not getting the miles you would with the smaller engine that you really want.

  • All manufactures do this kind of thing. I remember in the 70’s when Honda came in with their bubble back car that got about 60 miles a gallon and they added thousands of $ above MSRP because they kept the supply low. I wanted one but never bought one because of this practice. But to believe that the company that is supposed to be the manufacture for the people the savior of the world sort of speaking! With only a few keystrokes can make a 70 kwh battery into a 75 kwh battery seems almost criminal!! It should be Chemistry or new battery or more batteries not just code! If I had the money I would not buy one now. What a shame! I was looking forward to a Model 3 now I will buy a used Focus or a Leaf and when the Chevy Bolt comes out I will go with it. I don’t mind paying for more but having it and it is not being used or turned on because the manufacture spent the money putting it in the car but just not turning it on. If I owned one I would never pay for the I hate to call it a upgrade!! Just think they have to have more batteries than needed to do the job I don’t know how many but it is extra weight no matter what that weight cost you miles! I don’t care if it is only 1 or 2 miles that is still lost to you. You paid for a 70 KWH battery they should have to take the extra power out.
    Or will this be the way around battery warranty if they can turn it on over wifi why can’t they just turn off the failing ones then turn on the extra power until they are out of warranty! A game that should not be allowed.
    Everyone who puts out a superior product or even average one should be able to make a profit if it is something people want or needs but profit should not be at the expense of people being tricked into it. Who knows what size battery is actually in the car for sure Tesla does. $600 a KWH when it’s rumored to cost $190.00 or less. Sure profit on top is fine but over 200% that seems high but if you know it going in it should be ok if you signed to pay for it. Ransoming KWHs when it is supposed to be an ongoing fight with density chemistry seems to be fraud. I can’t see paying $3000 for 19 miles more. When did Tesla hire a coder away from Volkswagen.

    • So, did you not buy a computer because Intel crippled their CPU to make you spend more to get more speed? Did you not buy Office because the features of Professional were hidden in the Home and Business product? Price gouging for a limited supply product is different than finding a way to increase the value of an existing product.

      If the dealer told you they could increase the horsepower in your ICE vehicle if you came into the shop for a tune-up, would you also complain that they should have known how to do that at the factory and provided that at no extra cost to you?

      Maybe the engineers got a little smarter that they were able to squeeze more energy by changing the code. Why is that so wrong? Ludicrous mode is in the car, but needs to be enabled. I don’t have any problem with having that feature there, but I’m not willing to pay to have it because I don’t need it.

      Yes, the cost of the extra power in this case is too expensive (IMHO). But what if the upgrade price was only $1000? Would that be acceptable?

      • No I bought the chip I needed most of the chips can be overclocked but not all of them are allowed by the manufacturer because of damage to the chip. Most that I know of are overclockable by the owner of the chip. I never bought office. But no matter what this is comparing apples to oranges people need cars to live they don’t need computers!
        Having been in the automotive industry I know that almost any kind of tampering with the manufacturer’s settings is illegal and will cause a problem if not right at first but down the road for emissions and I think that’s is why most people want EVs to lower emissions.
        If they did change code and got more miles for the same amount of battery it should be illegal not to have the efficiency in the vehicle since we are burning natural gas or running nuclear plants or coal plants in some places to make most of the electricity used to charge the EVs.
        $1000 is not acceptable No cost would be acceptable!! How do you feel about Cell carriers charging for turning on your phone? I never have paid it but they have turned on my phone anyway. As I said if they charge for more miles with the same equipment I will not buy the vehicle I don’t care who it is or how little it is. It is just greed to charge more for the same vehicle with no cost to the manufacturer at all. The only reason it happens right now is there the only game in town once they get some competition it will if not end but will be curtailed by almost 100%.
        How would you feel if you owned a Focus or Leaf or 500e and found out later they could have set it 120 miles instead of 84 give or take. I would be livid knowing I had suffered without AC when I needed it or heat.
        They only get away with this kind of thing because people are like sheep I can’t do anything about it, yes you can don’t buy from manufacturers who do these kind of things.

        • People don’t NEED cars to live. You can walk, ride a bike, ride the bus, take a cab…. It may not be convenient, but it is possible. In fact if you live in walkable cities like New York, Chicago or San Francisco, you might not even own a car.

          I have had to pay the $35 activation fee for a cell phone before. But I’ve also gotten a free phone for sighing a two year contract. But for the phones, my objection is forcing people to buy a data plan if they don’t want one.

          I don’t have an issue with them discovering a way to increase the mileage in my Focus/Leaf/Fiat. And depending on the price I may pay for it. If I had a Model S and could get the extended range through a software update, I’d be pleased. And depending on the cost, I’d choose whether to add it or not. I don’t think Tesla purposely limited the battery range only to ask for more money to add it back. I bought the car based on the stated range. If they discover a way to increase it later, they I think they deserve to be compensated for it. I’m only interested in the price of that knowledge. They are not fixing anything that is broken, they are providing an enhancement.

          I look at it like ludicrous mode. The functionality is there, just not active. I don’t feel the need to pay and extra $10,000 for that feature, but I’m not mad at Tesla for having it there and I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to pay for that option.

  • One other thing milage is a safety feature! Ludicrous speed autonomous driving even GPS and almost all other things that can be turned on by a flip of a switch is convenience or my car is better than your car. Mileage in a EV is not an exact science in driving you can lose near 50% just because it is to cold or hot or too many hills. You may lose a mile or two a gallon on a ICE vehicle but most have a range of over 300 miles or closer to 400

    • Depends on the car. While I may get 300 miles of range from my ICE car on the freeway, going downhill with the wind at my back, I can barely get 250 miles in town, because of the waste idling at stop lights. That’s a 16% loss. It goes down even more if I use the A/C.

      • Yes but around town 84 miles is more than enough! But not when you wake up and say it is a beautiful day let’s go to the beach or somewhere a EPA rating of 84 miles can’t get you and back or say you have a critical family emergency farther than you can drive at highway speeds. The point is not that you get less with AC running or around town the point is they need to be rated for 300 to 400 miles and have charge points at as many places as ICE vehicles have and you can pull into any filling station you want without having to pay a monthly fee to use it and safely go where you want within your car’s limits ! Also I DID say most cars so you must be driving a tank or have a very small fuel capacity. Even at the around town EPA rating my 2011 chrysler 300 5.7 Hemi would go 300 miles! The other point is you never have to worry about filling your tank you also almost never have to make sure your tank is full before you leave you almost never worry about having a 1/4 tank or less when you start out in the morning! Can that be said about EVs? I know you can charge at home but what about Emergencies that do happen and you just plugged in on empty what do you say it will be 1 to 4 hours before we can start to take you to the hospital or get to Grandpa’s home where he is very sick? Or do you just spend $2000 to have a ambulance take you to the hospital or get a cab for 85 or more mile drive not sure what that cost? Also can you run out of fuel on the freeway and just have someone stop and take you to get a extra battery pack and get you on the road again? I know you get free towing but if it is a emergency 3 or 4 hours you might be to late? 84 miles is a golf cart for most people who have a life that is not tied to just within a 30 mile radius! Remember also you have to climb that hill in a EV and you might not make it up. Try going to Big Bear in a EV of course if you own a Tesla you are one of the 1% who just can hire a Learjet and just fly!! Remember also a average is combining those who drive a few miles a day with those who drive well over 40 miles a day even at 50/50 that is a lot of stranded people. Although I argue the facts that no one seems to see I want a EV and will probably buy one soon.

        • I have a Nissan pickup that by size has a small tank. Trucks get lousy mileage because of drag.

          You’re points are exactly what the EV community is concerned about. We have been waiting for long range EVs and more charging stations for five years now. Tesla is about the only company that seems serious about this.

          I understand there are different groups of drivers. There will be some that are fine with 100 miles of range because they would never take a road trip in a car. Others want that option and have been waiting for someone besides Tesla to do that. GM may have a hit with the 200 mile Bolt, but as you stated, without a fast charging network, it will be limited in utility and GM has specifically stated they have no interest in building out a network like Tesla’s and isn’t interested in helping Tesla build out theirs. So we have a chicken-and-egg situation where charging companies don’t want to build out a network that may never be utilized enough to justify their investment and buyers don’t want to buy limited range cars because they can’t drive them long distances.

          A 2016 Leaf with 107 miles of range should get you to Big Bear Lake, which according to Google is 68 miles away from Hemet. There would have to be some charging stations at the resort, but you should be able to make the trip without too much range anxiety.

          I wish I knew a way to grow the supercharger network and to get the other car manufactures to build longer range EVs. But until they do, I guess we’re stuck with waiting until 2018 for the Model 3.

  • “If you don’t follow Tesla closely, it is tremendously focused on
    bringing down the cost of its lithium-ion batteries (alongside

    “the 75 kWh battery pack is going to be an option on top of the bas 70
    kWh Model S, reportedly $3,000 more than the base 70 kWh pack”

    600 USD per kWh. That sounds rather expensive and does not go hand in hand with the first statement. Also the price is not for a separate battery pack, but only for an extension of a battery pack, i.e. the whole BMS (Battery Management System) is already there.

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