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Tesla Updates Software in Older Vehicles to Shave a Full Second Off 0-60 MPH Times

Some Tesla owners will be surprised to see new life to their cars, thanks to a software upgrade.

Tesla has been put on the the metaphorical pedestal as being one of the most innovative electric car manufacturers on the market. The automaker is continually breaking records and surprising the public by making incredibly quick cars, the Model S P100 D—a car bested only by the McLaren 720S in recent tests. But as the carmaker boosts the power of its cars on an almost yearly basis, aging vehicles that once may have been considered fast are being left behind. Or at least, they were. Electrek is reporting that some owners of older Model S and Model X vehicles will be happy to know that they too can join the ranks of their quicker brethren, thanks to a simple software update providing an extra boost in power at no cost.

The Model S 75D will drop a full second in the sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour, with the dash decreasing from 5.2 seconds to 4.2. Model X 75D owners will shave off even more time, with their 0-60 time dropping from 6.0 seconds to just 4.9.

But there’s a catch. Not all owners will be eligible for the bump in acceleration—and more interestingly, those eligible will reportedly not be getting it as an over-the-air update. Owners will need to visit a Tesla Service Center to receive validation that their vehicle is eligible for the upgrade, and only then will they receive a hardwired software patch to enable the faster times. (The Drive reached out to Tesla for the specifics on just what makes a vehicle eligible for the upgrade; however, our request for comment was not returned prior to publishing.)

A little background is in order. Just before the faster Model S and X were announced, it became apparent that some 75D versions of the Model S and Model X were shipping with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery, even though just 75 kWh of capacity had been unlocked for use. Though no official announcement was made by the manufacturer, some new owners discovered their cars packed more power by crawling under their car to take a peek at the battery. 

Since only some 75D vehicles will be eligible for the upgrade—and the timing of the battery capacity findings roughly correlates with when Tesla announced non-Performance models would be capable of faster acceleration straight from the factory—one could speculate that the two could be related. Tesla has not confirmed that there is any correlation between the 85-kWh battery capacity and the faster 0-60 time.

It’s just another way Tesla has demonstrated its ability to improve and update older models after they’ve left the factory. It’s not common for a manufacturer to take suggestions over Twitter and implement it on cars using an over-the-air update, but Tesla did just that in August. Now, it’s taking a similar approach and supplying a handful of lucky owners with a free increase in power.