Elon Musk promises to end Tesla range anxiety

An upgrade will boost either the car's usable driving distance or offer Model S owners more battery info

Tesla dashboard
Credit: Tesla

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk used Twitter to announce he'll hold a news  conference this week to tout an upgrade for the company's Model S cars to address their limited range.

In a tweet yesterday, Musk wrote that the Tesla event, to be held Thursday at 9 a.m., will focus on an over-the-air software upgrade to the entire Model S fleet to "end range anxiety." (It was not immediately clear whether Musk meant 9 a.m. ET or PT.)

This is only the second OTA upgrade for Tesla Model S sedans. Last month, the company tweaked the powertrain through an OTA software upgrade that boosted 0-60 mph performance by one-tenth of a second.

Online discussions about that the latest software upgrade have keyed in on the expectation that it will give Model S owners either a range boost or "a more fine-grained data report from the battery."

screen shot 2015 03 16 at 12.07.42 pm Twitter

Elon Musk's Tweet yesterday morning.

"It's probably not going to do away entirely with the problem of driving an electric-powered car in a gas-focused world. But that kind of nuance doesn't fit into a tweet," Car & Driver noted in a blog about the planned announcement.

Tesla is  the first automaker to offer OTA software upgrades, but experts have said other automakers will eventually adopt them -- and drivers will come to expect them.

"As a manufacturer, you'll have to have it to even be considered by the consumer," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader for research firm Gartner. "We'll see a lot more OTA software in the next 12 to 18 months."

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