This story about Tesla’s latest over-the-air upgrade was first published on Gas2.
Recipients of the Tesla newsletter, such as Zachary Shahan, editor of CleanTechnica, were surprised today when Tesla announced a new over-the-air update that lowers the 0–60 mph time for both the Tesla Model S 75 and Model X 75 by one full second. Not only is that a significant performance increase, it proves the worth of Tesla’s ability to update its cars wirelessly. It’s like Chevrolet calling you up and telling you they swapped out that 327 V8 in your Chevelle SS for a 396 big block with solid lifter while you were sleeping. Cool beans!
A one second drop in acceleration times is astonishing. The company has not released any details we’ve seen about this miracle came to pass. However, one nuanced point that provided about one-third of that acceleration improvement was seemingly just a matter of how to measure the figure, according to Gas2 reader James Rowland:
“What’s happened is that, in addition to the performance upgrade, Tesla have at the same time unified their 0-60 mph specifications to use the same test protocol — 1-foot rollout — on all their models rather than just the ‘P’ badge ones.
“1′ rollout is nothing to do with rolling starts; it essentially means the clock starts after one foot of travel from a standstill, to simulate how the light beams work when deep staging at a drag strip. It’s not really used much outside the USA, but it is used by Motor Trend magazine (among others) when they test acceleration.
“The practical effect of this is to shave about three tenths of a second off the measured 0–60 time of a hard start compared to the actual 0–60. So, about a third of this apparent improvement is actually nothing besides measuring it differently.
“Now, 1′ rollout at Tesla has quite a history — which I don’t really want to go into much detail here except to say at first they didn’t use it at all — but I am glad they’re back to being consistent across the model range. It wasn’t good to be exaggerating the difference between P and non-P models.
“I’m not so happy that they appear to have made another false performance claim in official materials. Really Tesla, haven’t you learned yet?”
If we hear more on that subject of how acceleration was improved, we will be sure to pass the information along.
Notably, Tesla recently dropped the Model S 75 with rear-wheel drive. All Model S and Model X cars are now equipped with dual motors.
Acceleration wasn’t the only thing Tesla boosted in base-model vehicles, though. The announcement indicates that air suspension is now standard on both the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV. In addition to a softer, more controlled ride, the Tesla Smart Air Suspension automatically adjusts the height of the vehicle to adapt to conditions. Among other things, that means lowering the ride height at highway speeds to improve aerodynamic efficiency and greater range.
The latest update also adds automatic high beams to all cars in all markets, according to CNET. The feature was previously available only in certain areas. When the system does not detect any oncoming traffic, it activates the high beams to let the driver see further down the road, then switches them off automatically when a car approaches in the opposite lane. A small indicator light on the gauge cluster alerts drivers that the system has been activated. It is controlled from the “Lights” portion of the touchscreen controls to activate or deactivate the feature. [Editor’s Note: Our Tesla Model S 85D has this and it is awesome. Great to see it and the smart air suspension, which we also have and love, nor standard features on Tesla’s most premium models. —Zach]
Chances are drivers will be more excited about the performance improvement than the automatic headlight upgrade but Tesla’s ability to keep all of its cars wirelessly over the internet remains one of the less talked about but valuable features that set Tesla apart from all other automakers.
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