back to article Tesla bumps up Model S P85D acceleration – with software update

An over-the-air software update to the dual-motor Tesla Model S P85D will cut its zero to 60MPH time from 3.2 to 3.1 seconds. Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce the upgrade: Tesla P85D 0 to 60mph acceleration will improve by ~0.1 sec soon via over-the-air software update to inverter algorithm — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whoppy-do

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      3.2 to 3.1 seconds may not sound like much but remember this car is already insanely fast for a sedan (believe it's faster than a McLaren F1 yet can fit 5+2 passengers?). 0.1s may be nothing for a standard family car - perhaps getting 9.5s down to 9.4s but at 3.2s it's a much bigger deal.

      1. Wyrdness

        A 0-60 time of 3.2 is ONLY deeply impressive for a tin can on wheels ;)

        Any reasonably sporty motorbike can equal or beat that. Though it would require an extremely good rider to launch a bike that quickly. I suspect that it would be a lot easier for the Tesla's driver.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          A 0-60 time of 3.2 is ONLY deeply impressive for a tin can with IC engine and gearbox

          FTFY. For an electric car, with max torque at standstill and no gears to charge, it's pretty much to be expected.

        2. fruitoftheloon
          FAIL

          @Wyrdness

          Wyrdness,

          would it still beat the Tesla if it was carrying five adults and two ankle biters?

          I expect the bikes traction on snow wouldn't be quite as good, what do you reckon?

          Just wondered...

          J

          1. Wyrdness

            Re: @Wyrdness

            As Mr Newton once said, F=MA. So how much would the weight of those five adults impact the 0-60 time?

            Also, whilst I'm happy to launch a vehicle at full thrust with just me onboard, I wouldn't want to do it when carrying my own ankle biter.

            1. Steve Todd

              Re: @Wyrdness

              Given 80KG adults, that's only about an extra 0.3 seconds to 60 (it's a heavy car at over 2,200KG empty weight). It's screamingly quick for a car its size.

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: @Wyrdness

                That sounds about right. In my drag racing days, the rule of thumb was: "every 100 lbs (45.3592 kg) removed from the car cut 0.1 second off your time)".

          2. James Pickett

            Re: @Wyrdness

            "would it still beat the Tesla if it was carrying five adults and two ankle biters?"

            I rather doubt that the Tesla itself can post those figures when fully loaded. They probably have a test driver who used to be a jockey...

        3. Vic

          Though it would require an extremely good rider to launch a bike that quickly.

          No, not really.

          It just takes some experience of the bike in question. *I've* done it - and I am very far from being "an extremely good rider"...

          Vic.

  2. sisk Silver badge

    Very impressive

    Improving acceleration at that level without touching the hardware? All I can say to that is "Wow".

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Very impressive

      Or maybe the old software was pretty crap? (I don't know, but it's impossible to say either way from the facts as presented.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very impressive

      "Improving acceleration at that level without touching the hardware? "

      But I wonder what Santa Pod launches do for the maximum range? Or for that matter for the battery life & performance. I'd guess there's a shed load of current being sucked through the system to launch a two tonne car to 60 in roughly 3 seconds, and that's going to warm the battery pack up a treat.

    3. Toltec

      Re: Very impressive

      "Improving acceleration at that level without touching the hardware?"

      Ever heard of remapping an ECU on an IC engine? Though knocking off 0.1 is pretty impressive.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Very impressive

        "launch a two tonne car"

        Are the batteries + electric motors really that much heavier than an IC engine + fuel? I thought 1.5T was the average for a family saloon (and getting lighter with design/build/materials improvements)

        A quick Google around seems to indicate average car weights are about 33% higher in the USA than Europe and Tesla S is a little over 2 metric tonnes which is average for there.

        Comparing a Nissan Leaf with a Nissan Micra (similar sized cars),the all electric Leaf is about 50% heavier so it seems to me that lighter batteries or some other way of getting electricity to the motors is the golden ticket for electric cars.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very impressive

          I managed a 0.7 0-62 time improvement with an ECU remap. In other words a software upgrade which didn't touch the hardware.

          That's not uncommon.

          3.1 is certainly a good time but not as good as a Nissan (http://www.0-60specs.com/nissan-gt-r-0-60-times/).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm delighted

    "The announcement puts Tesla on course for full UK coverage by the end of 2015."

    For rich people that is. What's more your running costs will be free of road tax, fuel duty, paying at best 5% VAT on electricity, with waivers for company car tax and for congestion charges. If you're a corporate fat cat looking for a £50-80,000 status symbol, this is for you.

    The rest of us mere mortals will have to continue to pay to use the roads, and indeed to maintain them for Tesla drivers.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: I'm delighted

        Oh, chill out kids, there's a three-series rivalling version coming out soon which should be closer to £30k and be eminently leasable, if that's your thing.

        Lets face it, anyone who isn't on £30k+ a year isn't looking at paying for a new car anyway, not even close - it's a braindead move when a three year old example of almost any car will cost you half of the new one, and a five year old one 1/3rd in most cases.

        Or you could be really cheap and get a ten year old car for a grand and just accept that rather than putting £350/month into a lease, you'll be putting £100-200 towards it every couple of months for running repairs till you get the bits that die over time (bushes, CV joints, clutch, belts, etc) all replaced at which point it'll be time to replace it because it's rusting at the chassis or somesuch.

        I like older cars meself. I do like what Tesla are doing, even if it does prove the old adage that if you want to make a million quid selling cars, start with ten million quid...

        Steven R

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm delighted

        > Rich people can afford to pony up to put solar panels on their roofs, and get rebates and cheaper power. Everyone else pays more in electricity costs to fund these rich fuckers.

        Sadly, it seems to be that people only find that unfair while they're poor, then forget all about it once their financial condition improves.

        Clearly, the solution is for everyone to get rich! :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      AU CONTRAIRE

      It's not a status symbol if you can't rub the proles noses in it by sneering at the peanuts such things as petrol and car tax are costing you.

      LOOK AT MY WAD etc etc etc

  4. elDog Silver badge

    OK, I had given up being filthy rich

    You know, after your dreams of having a few spare millions in the bank were dashed by age 30, then 40, 50. You sort of decide that a hum-drum existence was far preferable.

    I've changed my mind. I want to own something like this that I couldn't possibly drive on any of my local roads (Vermont, USA).

    Anybody have any suggestions for getting rich quick or grabbing one of these on the sly? Grand Theft Auto?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, I had given up being filthy rich

      "Anybody have any suggestions for getting rich quick or grabbing one of these on the sly?"

      Say that you've got no money, and apply for sub-prime auto finance:

      http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/deformations-on-the-auto-dealer-lots-how-the-feds-zirp-is-fueling-the-next-subprime-bust/

  5. JDX Gold badge

    I didn't have sound...

    ...so I may have missed something important, but what's so impressive about a car being able to drive slowly on snow?

    1. gotes

      Re: I didn't have sound...

      Yeah, I was waiting for him to floor it.

    2. wdmot

      Re: I didn't have sound...

      Wish I could upvote that more than once. Tyres make more difference to traction than dual motors. Pretty much any other car could do what the video showed given decent tyres, except maybe unloaded rear-wheel drive (only) vehicles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I didn't have sound...

        > Tyres make more difference to traction than dual motors.

        Tyres and all wheel drive go together when it comes to regular snow driving, but yes, if you had to choose one or the other, it would be tyres first.

    3. Pascal

      Re: I didn't have sound...

      I'm guessing he lives in an area where snow is a super rare occurence - judging by all the stranded cars on a road that wouldn't slow normal traffic down where I live.

      As was said, it's all in the tires!

    4. SteveCarr

      Re: I didn't have sound...

      If you check out the description attached to the video on YouTube they claim this is not just on snow, but also on a 14% grade, in slick conditions. That's rather more impressive!

      "Tesla Model S P85D Up a 14% grade in extremely slick conditions. Michelin XICE XI3 tires."

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: I didn't have sound...

        Not bad I guess, but the roadway I take to get to my street is a ~60% grade and gets quite snow covered in the winter here in Montreal.

        My little Kia Rio climbs it without too much effort unless the snow is very hard packed with a slushy top layer.

        It's more to do with tires and correct use of the throttle.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I didn't have sound...

          "It's more to do with tires and correct use of the throttle."

          I agree with this pots! Electric cars don't have gears and do have quite significant acceleration so very careful use of the throttle and better traction control may well be a significant thing for Tesla.

  6. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    "A new software update" PFFT..

    'As any fule kno' a properly implemented 'analogue' control loop would make the thing balls to the wall faster at becoming faster than some ScriptSkiddie fluffing about with his ShiftyWare.

    Version 1)

    "Yo Elon!"

    "Yo ScriptSkiddie!"

    "If we rewrite this bit and avoid loading that bit then the processor can back off faster when it receives the 'Oh Shit' signal from the analogue shit so we can drive things harder and accelerate faster"

    "Brilliant! Do you want to transfer to the SpaceX division and have a look at the code used to control our Flappy Wings during descent?"

    Version 2)

    "Yo Elon!"

    "Yo ScriptSkiddie!"

    "If we rewrite this bit and avoid loading that bit then the processor can back off faster when it receives the 'Oh Shit' signal from the analogue shit so we can drive things harder and accelerate faster"

    "Why don't we use a 6802 instead and let the analogue shit take care of the shit?"

    "Errr I only know C."

    "This was not the answer I was looking for."

    Version 3)

    "Yo Elon!"

    "Yo ScriptSkiddie!"

    "If we rewrite this bit and avoid loading that bit then the processor can back off faster when it receives the 'Oh Shit' signal from the analogue shit so we can drive things harder and accelerate faster"

    "Why don't we use a 6802 instead and let the analogue shit take care of the shit?"

    "Errrr.. It's not very headline glamorous. 'Bloke changes value of R1 and C4 to improve acceleration' vs 'Software update makes you shit your pants faster.'"

    "Kool!!!11!!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "A new software update" PFFT..

      When I see a post starting with:

      > 'As any fule kno'

      ...my finger instinctively starts heading for the downvote button.

  7. ld0614

    We have now entered the SDC (software defined car) era, prepare for the barrage of marketing...

    1. elDog Silver badge

      And prepare for another script-kiddie/remote-control freak

      Deciding how fast you're going to go, and where, and when you're going to die.

  8. J J Carter Silver badge

    Could Apple learn something here, instead of slowing iOS down with each upgrade?

  9. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
    Unhappy

    P85D

    Is it only me or does calling it a P85D make it sound like some piece of HMRC paperwork?

    1. Monkey Bob

      Re: P85D

      I suspect someone's got a thing for WW2 planes, the P51D was the Mustang, the P47D was the Thunderbolt.

      And as someone who possibly plays a bit too much War Thunder I can't help but wonder if you unlock rockets after driving the P85D enough...

  10. J J Carter Silver badge

    I remember when IBM would charge $$$$$s for a mid-life kicker to System 360 and just change a link on the backplane.

    1. Steve Todd

      Back in the dim and distant past

      When I was at 6th form the local Poly had a Univac 1110, which they paid a not insubstantial sum to upgrade the performance of. The engineer turned up to discover that someone had already moved the jumper and it wouldn't go any faster.

  11. Z80A

    Do not make such a video yourself

    How was that promotional video made? Are drivers with the steering wheel not on the right side (!) of the car permitted to operate a handheld camera while driving? Are Tesla cars so safe that making drive-ies is legal? Or did another person with quite long arms sit behind the driver? At least one reader wishes to know...

    1. Hairy Spod

      Re: Do not make such a video yourself

      who said it had to be handheld, given who owns the company I would imagine google glass would be more likely....

  12. bazza Silver badge

    Over The Air Upgrade? Is this Wise?

    If Tesla are going to get into the habit of increasing the performance of cars they've sold in this way, I hope they talk to the owners' insurance companies first.

    This is analogous to chipping your diesel or petrol car, which counts as an engine modification. Normally your insurance company requires you to clear such a modification with them first, otherwise they won't cover you. If you upgrade it without talking to the insurers first and then have an accident, you can find yourself without insurance cover. Bad news.

    Yet here we have a manufacturer doing just that, probably without the owner having any control over whether it happens or not, and probably without any significant prior notification. OK, so 0.1 sec is probably neither here nor there. But a more significant change in performance would likely irritate an insurance company no end.

    Anyway, the chances of being able to travel far enough to actually have an accident are remote...

  13. bazza Silver badge

    Long Journeys in one of these

    Looking at Tesla's page on Superchargers, it takes at least 30 minutes to get another 170 miles in the batteries, or 75 minutes for a full charge.

    That's a long time to be stuck at, say, Northampton Services on the M1.

    Service Station Economics: Pile it High, Sell it Expensive, Make it Quick

    There's a limit to how much money anyone is going to spend in a motorway services, no matter how rich they are. Motorway services are, by definition, the very last place on earth that anyone wants to be. So the fuel, food, everything is quite expensive, and they don't bother trying to do anything to make you stay. They know you're not going to stop there for a three course meal, so they don't bother offering one. Everything they do is about getting as many cars parked as quickly as possible, toiletted, watered, snacked and fuelled as quickly as possible.

    Car Charging Isn't Quick

    But if everyone starts turning up in electric cars and plugging them in for 30 - 75 minutes, that's going to hog a lot of car parking spots, but I can't see what the Services can do to induce people to spend enough money to offset the reduction in the total number of people that can pass through.

    Sure, if everyone had an electric car then everyone would be stopping for a long time, so opening up a decent restaurant and serving nice three course dinners would make sense. But in meantime the Service station operators are not going to want to lose too many parking spots to low revenue earning electric car charging points.

    So there won't be that many points available at any of them.

    From the Driver's Point of View

    And can you imagine anything worse on a journey than arriving at the Northampton Services and discovering that you're going to have to wait 75 minutes for a charging point to become free before you can plug in yourself? Can you imagine what 2.5 hours there would be like?

    From the Electrical Engineer's Point of View

    A Tesla Supercharger runs at 120kW. That's a lot. If there were, say, 100, charging points in use simultaneously that'd be 12MW. Somewhere like Exeter Services seems to have around about 300 parking spots, so about 36MW.

    I seriously doubt that any service station has a mains electricity cable fat enough to carry anything like that much power. Laying one in would be an enormously expensive proposition. To provide fast charging points for every parking spot in a large motorways services they're going to have to do something radical to its electricity supply.

    Doesn't Make Much Sense

    To give you an idea of how much electricity that is, Dungeness B nuclear power station is 1230MW. On its own it could run around about 30 service stations each with 300 Supercharger points, but that's still only 9000 vehicle being charged at any one time. That's a pitifully small number of cars.

    If Tesla expect a mass market for people going some place, probably all at the same popular time of day, plugging their car in whilst they pee, eat, shop or otherwise entertain themselves, then they're going to have to do something radical about the number of power stations in the country and the capacity of the electricity grid to deliver large amounts of power in a short period of time. There seems little prospect to me of that scale of engineering problem being tackled anytime soon.

    Charging up at home

    The only way electric cars can even begin to start making any sense at all at the moment is if they're charged up slowly overnight and never charged during the day. That's much easier for a National Grid to cope with.

    Marketing Gimick?

    Claiming full UK coverage for charging points is fairly misleading. If the smallest charging location has, say, 10 outlets, then there is full UK coverage for only 10 Tesla drivers at any one time. If an 11th Tesla turns up, they're gonna have to wait. And as we've seen in California, people inconvenienced by a lack of an available outlet at a charging station seem to behave quite badly.

    That's understandable; if I arrived at Northampton services on the last whisps of electricity in the batteries and discovered I was going to be stuck there for several hours whilst some other drivers took on a full charge, I'd be tempted unplug them and sneak a few minutes of charging just to get out of there.

    And that's before the kids on a school excursion unplug all the cars at the motorway services for a laugh.

    Saying that there's "Full Uk coverage" is just a way of persuading the mugs who don't actually have to get places to buy Tesla cars.

    Knowing that most of the UK public are far from stupid and are perfectly capable of foreseeing the horrors of being stuck at a motorway services, I fully expect to see these supercharger stations getting very little use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long Journeys in one of these

      Tesla have also done an automatic battery swap option for their cars (in the future) - which sounds a good option - turn up and swap batteries quicker than you can fill your fuel tank.

      http://www.teslamotors.com/videos/battery-swap-event

      Then they can have a stock on site all full charged and charge the ones they take off as required.

      People always consider worst case when I'm sure you can also use the network of normal (albeit slower) electric chargers or even standard (but slow) UK mains sockets. In reality I'd expect most people would get away with just charging at home each night. Let's take an average 10-12k miles per year - that's about 200-230 miles per week or just under 30-35 miles per day. So for most people you are going to charge up your P85D when you get home each night and always have up to 250-270 miles available.

      If I was driving 300-400 miles per day every day all over the country it's probably not (yet) the car for you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long Journeys in one of these

      It is 30-40 minutes for about 170 miles - but that assumes you need 170 miles. You might only need 100 which might take 20 minutes?

      As for capacity I'd assume if all the slots were frequently taken they would install more slots and as for your power calculation not all cars can take a 120w charge and as the cars get nearer full the charging current tails off (hence the longer charge time for the last 20-30%).

      Plus over time there will be more and more Superchargers installed (as there are with petrol stations) and expect they will start rolling out the battery swap option which solves issues of speed, waiting and balancing out power usage - i.e. you could slow down charging of stock packs if the cabled Superchargers were in use or even have onsite stored electric power to help with peaks in demand.

      Overall I'd say the logistics of electric cars are much better than petrol stations having fuel delivered by road and many people will just use slower existing chargers or charge at home where time is not so critical.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long Journeys in one of these

      As demand increases there will be more supercharger slots at each location and more locations - I can quite easily imagine Superchargers at many more service stations along motorways and the Tesla knows the location of each one so I'd imagine it's not rocket science that it could show you how many are currently in use so you make a decision to stop or carry on to the next one.

      You also assume everyone is using a full 120w charge (it only charges at that rate when the battery was near empty and for the first 30-40 minutes) and that you turn up when all the slots are taken and just as someone has plugged in for a full 100% charge. I'd expect most people would charge for 20-30 minutes while having a wee and getting a coffee then be on their way.

      Also how much does 200 miles of petrol cost you and how much is 200 miles of electricity (at a Supercharger) cost you?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Long Journeys in one of these

        "Also how much does 200 miles of petrol cost you and how much is 200 miles of electricity (at a Supercharger) cost you?"

        Don't forget the initial higher investment in an electric car and the expected life of the battery.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Long Journeys in one of these

          Totally agree although think BMW and Tesla are giving 8 year warranties on the battery pack and is Tesla start offering a pack swap out I'd imagine you pay a monthly / usage fee but effectively get a 'good' battery every time as ones with faults would be taken out of circulation and renewed etc.

          Electric cars are a balance of initial cost against the electric miles you will save - think for small ones like the BMW i3 it worked out at quite an 'average' annual mileage - obviously the Tesla is about 3x the cost but it's not just about cost with the P85D - it's faster (to 60 at least) than some cars a lot more expensive yet it's also very practical.

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