Hacker Reveals New, More Powerful Tesla Model S

Then claims Tesla tried to spite him by messing with his car.

byWill Sabel CourtneyMar 8, 2016 1:00 PM
Hacker Reveals New, More Powerful Tesla Model S

If you've been thinking it's finally time to finally cash out your 401(k) and buy a top-of-the-line Tesla Model S, well, you might want to pump the brakes. An enterprising hack has revealed that Tesla's electric super-sedan has a power upgrade around the corner.

In a Twitter message directed at Tesla and Elon Musk, John Hughes, a Tesla owner and hacker, proclaimed: "I know your secret," followed by what appeared to be a long string of gobbeldygook. But as Tesla Motors Club forum members quickly figured out, the alphanumeric soup was actually a piece of code reading "P100D." Hughes corroborated the scoop by posting the message below, featuring a P100D badge image he'd found in the Tesla firmware:

Assuming Tesla isn't planning on changing its naming convention—and there's no reason to think it will—this pretty clearly means Musk is planning an all-wheel-drive performance-oriented Model S with a 100 kWh battery pack. The last time Tesla upgraded the battery pack in its top-tier Model S, transforming the P85D into the P90D, the car's EPA-estimated range went from 253 to 270 miles. So a 10 kWh bump could give the Model S a range of almost 300 miles—assuming the driver resists the temptation to use up electrons with Ludicrous Speed launches.

Oddly, though, several hours after posting his revelation, Hughes went on Twitter again to claim that Tesla was trying to get back at him by remotely downgrading his car's software. (The Model S can receive over-the-air software updates from Tesla HQ.)

The next day, Elon Musk fired off a Twitter response to Hughes:

He then, presumably, went back to building that spaceship to Mars. More on this story as it develops.