Curiosity: Tesla’s “upgradable” base Model X [w/ poll]

Tesla Model X

Ever since I checked out the Model S at a Tesla dealer, and put my e-mail down to get a test-drive, I’ve been getting the occasional e-mail from the carmaker. The other day I got an interesting e-mail ad for the new base Model X, the 60D, which suggested that, to quote: “The Model X 60D can later be upgraded through a software update to 75 kWh to increase range by about 20%. ”

Volkswagen-adThis piqued my interest – is the 60D version of the Model X nothing else but a software-limited version of the 75D variant? This would make for an interesting business strategy: first, you try to lure the consumer with a lower base price, and then, once they’ve committed, try to sell them the upgrade for extra money. This is frequently done with digital services – for example, Pandora offers free listening with ads to get you hooked, and later offers you an upgrade to the ad-free Pro version. And in a way carmakers try to do the same by offering base versions of the car to lure consumers into the showroom, only to try to “upgrade” you to a more expensive version of the car once you’re there. VW is an expert at this e.g. it used to offer a base S version of the Jetta in the US with the antiquated, 115HP, 8-valve 2.0 liter 4cyl engine just so it could claim a low “starts at” price in the ads.

Of course, if this is fact Tesla’s strategy, it I’d be curious to see whether it really makes sense to sell a car whose range is artificially limited, as the bigger batteries to achieve that surely adds cost/weight. Again, other carmakers have been there before, especially with turbocharged engines which they sell in different states of tune at different price points, but in that case the difference in cost/weight is presumably much lower than for the Tesla, often limited to nothing but the software the controls the turbocharging pressure.

So, what do you think – does it make sense for Tesla to sell the Model X 60D as a software-limited version of the 75D spec?

What do you think of the "upgradable" nature of the base Tesla Model X 60D?

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About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.

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