Tesla will be extending the range of recently built Model S sedans and Model X SUVs via a software update, according to CEO Elon Musk, who said: “All S/X cars made in recent months have actually been above stated EPA range. Will be unlocked soon for free via software update.” As of this writing, the EPA has not updated its range estimates for either vehicle’s long-range version but, then again, neither Musk nor Tesla have a reputation for letting such things get in the way. Elsewhere in Tesla and Tesla-adjacent news, more than 14,000 Tesla Model X SUVs were being recalled for a power-steering issue, we learned that Bill Gates made his first-ever electric-car purchase — a Porsche Taycan — and a Tesla driver tried too hard to replicate Musk’s disruption of subways by crashing into a … Subway. We also learned that people in Rhode Island don’t mind their own business.
Tesla headlines come fast and furious at seemingly all times, so we’ve sifted through it all for the most important, interesting or otherwise noteworthy news. Let’s get to it.
More Range for Model S, Model X?
Musk’s tweet and subsequent replies to questions don’t paint a particularly clear picture of things. It seems Model S and Model X cars built within a certain time period are equipped with “small hardware improvements,” but what those are, when the improvements began or when the claimed updated ranges will take effect are all unknown. Musk also said that crossing the 400-mile range barrier might be possible with “improved wheels and tires” and that that sort of improvement would perhaps be available to all previous models. If and when the EPA updates its range estimates for Tesla models, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Model X Recall
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last week that about 14,100 model-year 2015-16 Tesla Model X SUVs were under recall. Aluminum bolts that attach the power steering gear assist motor to the gear housing may corrode and fracture, causing a reduction or complete loss of power steering assist, increasing the risk of a crash. Per federal mandate, Tesla will make the necessary repairs for free. If you own a Model X from these model years, get the full story, as well as instructions on how to get your car fixed, here.
Sorry, Tesla: Bill Gates’ Space Is Taycan
Bill Gates purchased a Porsche Taycan, his first-ever electric car. Who could’ve predicted that the co-founder of Microsoft would prefer an older, more-established legacy brand like Porsche over an upstart, popular brand with an almost cultlike following like Tesla? (To be fair, Gates is actually a huge Porsche fan, and it’s rumored that he used some of his immense wealth to lobby for a law to be changed to allow him to legally import his beloved Porsche 959.) Gates also credited Tesla for driving the market toward mass adoption of electric vehicles.
An Abrupt Subway Stop
In my best Chris Farley voice: Remember, like, when Elon Musk was talking about building, like, tunnels exclusively for Teslas to avoid traffic and “disrupting” transit and everyone pointed out that subways already exist and are much more efficient at moving people from place to place? That was awesome. Well, in a heavy-handed metaphor, a Tesla Model X driver in Washington state crashed into a Subway restaurant, likely “disrupting” the hell out of the dining experience of any patrons and the work experience of its employees. One passenger was treated for minor injuries. It also bears noting that the driver claimed the car had “malfunctioned.”
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Thanks to a letter from an anonymous author, the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the license plate of one Tesla owner over an allegedly crass vanity plate that reads “FKGAS.” The letter writer said that, “I think this plate reflects poorly on Rhode Island, and should be revoked.” Not exactly a Buddy Cianci-level offense — but enough, evidently, to spur bureaucratic change.
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