Elon Musk reveals Tesla software-locked cheapest Model Y, offers 40-60 more miles of range

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Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla software-locked its cheapest Model Y (Standard Range RWD), and it plans to offer 40 to 60 more miles of range for $1,500-$2,000.

Over the years, Tesla has periodically offered cheaper vehicles with shorter ranges, and rather than building a new vehicle with a smaller battery pack, the automaker has decided to instead use the same battery packs capable of more range and software-locked the range.

Yesterday, we reported that Tesla stopped taking orders for the cheapest version of Model Y, the Standard Range RWD with 260 miles of range. Instead, Tesla started offering a new Long Range RWD with 320 miles of range.

Separately, CEO Elon Musk revealed that the previous Model Y Standard Range RWD was a software-locked vehicle – something that was suspected but never confirmed.

The CEO announced that Tesla plans to unlock the rest of the battery packs for an additional 40 to 60 miles of range:

The “260 mile” range Model Y’s built over the past several months actually have more range that can be unlocked for $1500 to $2000 (gains 40 to 60 miles of range), depending on which battery cells you have.

Musk said that Tesla is currently “working through regulatory approvals” to enable this” for this upgrade offer.

Previously, Tesla owners simply had to go to their mobile apps to pay and unlock the extra range.

Electrek’s Take

This has been a controversial approach by Tesla because it is inefficient to have unused extra heavy batteries in your vehicle. Some argue that if it’s already built, in your car, why not use it?

Tesla’s counterargument is that it is selling them a vehicle with clear specs for a specific price.

That’s technically true since Tesla goes out of its way not to specify the kWh energy capacity of its vehicles.

I think it would just be fair to at least know what you are buying before you do. Some Model Y SR RWD owners will see this as good news to have the opportunity to pay for 40 to 60 miles of range through a software update, and others will be disappointed that their vehicles have been hauling a few hundred pounds of extra weight for no reason.

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