Tesla is turning cars into free to play

Mike K

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Well not quite but close. More frequently Tesla is building hardware upgrades into every car it sells and offering to activate those features at a later date, for a cost. This means if you go out and buy a car without Auto-Pilot you can turn it on a week or years down the road. Maybe you get a big bonus one Christmas and decide to treat yourself. Maybe your birthday is coming up and your wife knows exactly what to get you...

They're further tempting people by dangling the carrot of free trials, most recently offering a 30 day trial period of Auto-Pilot to every car equipped with the hardware.

But that's not the coolest part

This is. When I used to be actively involved in the Taurus SHO community we'd regularly get people popping up on the forum with Taurus GL's asking how they could swap the SHO motor over to their car. The same happened with the GM W body community and believe it or not... The same thing happened with the e60 M5s. People used to speculate how much it would cost to swap their 530i engine for an S85 V10. :picard:

But if you buy a Tesla, simply paying for the upgrade might become an actual alternative to selling your car and buying the better version. Tesla just introduced a new base model car: the 60. The S60 is functionally identical to the S75 only the S75 is faster and has more range. The difference between the two cars? Nothing. Or actually I should say a few 1s and 0s. The S60 is a software limited version of the S75. Let's say you can only afford the S60 now. No big deal. A year down the line if you decide you want the better car, you simply pay the Tesla and they'll immediately unlock it. I believe it's even done over the air.

And the way Tesla offers test drives seems to suggest that this might be something that becomes more prevalent in their lineup. It used to be that if you went in and test drove a Model S you were test driving the P85. The dealers didn't really have the regular 85's or 60's to test. You relied on other owners for input or test drives. It's generally the same thing now. The test drive cars are top of the line P90D's only let's say you're not buying a P90D. Let's say you're getting a lowly S70 because you're POOR. :rofl: You hop in the car and your sales associate tells the car to behave like an S70. Rear wheel drive only, acceleration is limited to that of an S70.

Lifelong Money Generator

As most know, economies of scale are such that you try to limit the variants of a particular part. You don't want 9 different bumper covers for one car depending on options chosen. Tesla eliminates this by fully outfitting each car with Auto-Pilot. When you look it the Autopilot system it's clear that much of the cost is in the software, not so much the hardware. So it makes sense for them to do this. The same goes with the motors. Other than the special contractors required for the top of the line P90D w/ Ludicrous mode cars, the 70D motors aren't much cheaper to manufacture than say the 90D motors. And so it stands to reason Tesla might get to a point where they're simply outfitting the cars with the best motors and limiting them via software.

The same goes with the batteries. Right now Tesla only does it with the 60/ 75 batteries but as the price of batteries continues to decline, we're going to get to a point where it's going to make sense to outfit every car with the best battery.

And in this sense, Tesla is going to be able to capitalize on something I don't believe any other auto manufacturer can claim: vehicles that offer a continued source of revenue with no additional cash outlay.

And the money people are spending after they have already purchased their cars is gravy. There is no additional labor or parts required. There are no more opportunity costs other than advertising to me that an upgrade is possible.

You can almost forget the car, I think this way of offering continued value to your customer and a continued source of revenue to your company is going to drastically change the way people purchase cars in the relatively near future.
 

sickmint79

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no additional cash but if you stick more batteries in it up front, certainly more up front costs.

we had a server at work sold like this, although it actually cost more to take the option to run it at 50% at the start. it's conversion rate was pretty much 100% though on buying it up. i wonder what it would be for teslas and also if you'd have guys in their garage hacking their way around it.
 
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Mike K

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no additional cash but if you stick more batteries in it up front, certainly more up front costs.

we had a server at work sold like this, although it actually cost more to take the option to run it at 50% at the start. it's conversion rate was pretty much 100% though on buying it up.
Yes, the outlay for them is more initially but I suspect they wouldn't sell a car reliant on future upgrades to be profitable. At scale, those batteries are absolutely going to have a cost impact but I think the future revenue earned from that would offset including the extra hardware on every car. If it's $1000 more per car and you sell 100,000 cars that's $100,000,000 you wouldn't otherwise be spending if everyone was buying the base model car. But if 50% of those people buy the S75 or upgrade in the future you're taking in $500,000,000, not to mention the money saved by keeping the production line simpler, economies of scale, etc. As long as the math makes sense, it seems like the best way to do things.

If someone told me tomorrow I could add Autopilot to my car for $3000 I wouldn't even bat an eye. I'd just do it. If someone told me tomorrow I could upgrade my car to a P85 for $10,000 I'd strongly consider that. If they then scaled that down to match depreciation I think they'd get even more people to do it. I wouldn't pay $10,000 but would I pay $6000? For sure.

i wonder what it would be for teslas and also if you'd have guys in their garage hacking their way around it.
This would be my fear as well. They've rooted the software and actively update salvage cars but so far nobody has done it to a car that's under warranty. To my knowledge there are only a couple of guys that have done this and they are both very backroom deal, only with people they know and even then likely not.

I had one of them offer to do work on future salvage cars for me but I don't think anyone can contact him and tell him to turn stuff on.

I think the fear of losing that 8 year warranty is going to turn most people off. I could call this guy and likely get him to flash the P85 software to my car but my warranty will go poof. If the difference was between paying Tesla $6000 to do it and paying this guy $100 for his time, I'd go with Tesla every day of the week and I suspect other people shelling out this kind of coin for the cars would as well.

It's a valid concern though.
 

Thirdgen89GTA

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We already have this in the computer industry.

CPU and GPU manufacturers build the die's with all of the features and transistors there. Then they either turn parts off. Many of the lower clocked CPU models are simply inferior prints of the original design that aren't stable at higher clock speeds. So CPU manufacturers label it a with a lessor model name and sell it cheaper.

Most times a slower CPU is simply a defective higher-end part that couldn't pass the stability tests at higher speeds.
 
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Mike K

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We already have this in the computer industry.

CPU and GPU manufacturers build the die's with all of the features and transistors there. Then they either turn parts off. Many of the lower clocked CPU models are simply inferior prints of the original design that aren't stable at higher clock speeds. So CPU manufacturers label it a with a lessor model name and sell it cheaper.

Most times a slower CPU is simply a defective higher-end part that couldn't pass the stability tests at higher speeds.
That's actually pretty genius when you think about it because I would imagine the true cost of the chips isn't in materials but in research and development, yes? So it makes sense to do it that way.

.....but the real question is would tesla upgrade a car with a salvage title?
No but it doesn't matter at this point. If you're in with the salvage guys they'll take care of it. I regret not keeping the salvage car now. All of my fears have been laid to rest by the group of guys that work on the software.
 

tinfoilhat

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We already have this in the computer industry.

CPU and GPU manufacturers build the die's with all of the features and transistors there. Then they either turn parts off. Many of the lower clocked CPU models are simply inferior prints of the original design that aren't stable at higher clock speeds. So CPU manufacturers label it a with a lessor model name and sell it cheaper.

Most times a slower CPU is simply a defective higher-end part that couldn't pass the stability tests at higher speeds.
Canon does this with their DSLRs too. Limit features via software but the hardware profiles are identical.
 

tinfoilhat

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Tesla's bringing great new ideas to the world, in relation to home electricity usage and storage, automotive, and even the aeronautical world with SpaceX.

I just hope to start seeing his products hit the market reliability to where they make a huge impact. I'm still skeptical about the home battery. I've never had luck with anything battery related...

But they did just launch a rocket and landed it back onto a floating raft in the middle of the ocean IIRC
Multiple landings at this point too.
 

bikrboy128

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That's actually pretty genius when you think about it because I would imagine the true cost of the chips isn't in materials but in research and development, yes? So it makes sense to do it that way.
plus i'm sure it's more cost effective to make the same car across the line and unlock the software at different levels.

i wonder what kind of "anti piracy" they are going to put into place. say i buy a base model then upload the software for the p90d. i wonder if the car will have a software key of sorts, and auto downgrade if that key is mismatched.


what an interesting time to be alive
 

bikrboy128

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There's no software out there that's bulletproof, everything can be hacked :p
i understand that. i believe there's a guy out there already that's been doing something similar. however they can void your warranty and lock you out of the supercharger stations. the car is also connected to the internet, which means tesla could probably force a downgrade over the air.
 
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Mike K

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i understand that. i believe there's a guy out there already that's been doing something similar. however they can void your warranty and lock you out of the supercharger stations. the car is also connected to the internet, which means tesla could probably force a downgrade over the air.
So the supercharger network handshake is done car-side, not supercharger side. What that means is that when you plug in, the supercharger is asking the car if it's ok for it to charge, not Tesla's network. The guys actively go in and change the coding on the salvage cars to turn this back on.

With the network stuff you can simply block them. The guy that did the P100D reveal said that shortly after that Tesla tried going into his car and downgrading it. He blocked it and posted the attempt on the web. Elon said it wasn't him that called for it but I don't believe Tesla ever denied doing it.

plus i'm sure it's more cost effective to make the same car across the line and unlock the software at different levels.

i wonder what kind of "anti piracy" they are going to put into place. say i buy a base model then upload the software for the p90d. i wonder if the car will have a software key of sorts, and auto downgrade if that key is mismatched.
Right now I think a loss of warranty is enough to scare anyone away. The battery still invoices out at 40k. I wouldn't take the chance of upgrading my car only to have them tell me to go pound sand if it has a problem down the road. That and I think your average Model S buyer is in a place where they'd just buy the car they want.

Either way, if Tesla saw people circumventing this they would come down pretty hard and make changes to eliminate it I'm sure.
 
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Mike K

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Did you even read post 15?
Yes but you realize pretty much every manufacturer is capable of this in some form or fashion, right? With Tesla it's actually easier to override since it's essentially a linux box that people are rooting.
 

willizm

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Let's not pretend the info stated here about Tesla isn't overbearing in regards to control.
The cult of Tesla is like Scientology. Not only does the car physically control you, it also has a mental control over its owners as well :rofl:
 

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