Among for-profit companies born in Silicon Valley, few have a nobler cause than Tesla. Make no mistake, Tesla is a publicly traded company and its goal first and foremost is to make money. But unlike most companies in and around the Valley, it’s changing the world for the better while it makes money. It doesn’t build useless iPhone apps and it’s not trying to launch an Uber for kitty litter. Tesla makes electric cars and has singlehandedly sped up the transition in the automotive industry from gas to alternative fuel sources by a decade at the very least.
With all that in mind, it’s difficult to comprehend how a company doing so much good can hate its customers so much at the same time.
Tesla hates its customers? Well, that’s the only explanation we can come up with to explain the logic behind the company’s announcement on Wednesday morning. The announcement in question: Tesla just made a “new” version of its Model X crossover available at an even more affordable price point.
OK, now you must be really confused.
You’ll notice that the word new is in quotes above. The model in question is called the Model X 60D and with a base price of $74,000, it’s $9,000 less expensive than the Model X 75D. As the name of the new model might suggest, it gives drivers access to 60kWh of battery life good for a range of up to 200 miles, while the 75kWh battery in the 75D is good for up to 237 miles.
Here’s the thing: Both cars have the exact same 75kWh battery.
Tesla now sells a new version of the Model X 75D with special software that only gives owners access to 60kWh of battery life. If you should happen to hit that threshold while driving, your car will die even though there’s plenty of charge left in the battery.
Want access to that extra 15kWh? No problem, just cough up another $9,000 and Tesla will unlock it remotely.
At best, we would describe this move as anti-consumer. At worst, it’s despicable. And make note, Model X owners — you could’ve paid $9,000 less for that non-negotiable 75D you’re driving and Tesla apparently still would’ve made plenty of money. After all, it’s now selling the exact same car that cost you $88,000+ for just $74,000.
Sadly, this is nothing new; Tesla offers a software-limited Model S as well.