Multiple drivers are reporting that after the latest 5.8 Firmware update, their Model S with Smart Air Suspension is no longer lowering at highway speeds. It is impossible to say for sure without a statement from Tesla (requested), but it would appear that the move is in response to the recent accidents where debris from the highway catches under the Model S, puncturing the battery armor and eventually causing a fire.
Similar incidents happened in Seattle and Nashville over the past two months which have rocked Tesla’s share price. The odds of a Tesla fire still fall way below the national average for internal combustion engines but the media firestorm has been intense. At least one driver isn’t happy about the change:
I paid money for the air suspension because it offers a more aerodynamic profile at freeway speeds as well as improved range. That is why I bought it. Now Tesla is taking that away, so I would like my money back. How can they legally remove a feature that I paid for, after I paid for it? That seems like stealing, doesn’t it?
Lowering the Model S at highway speeds was meant to lower the drag and improve speed and battery range. It isn’t certain how this will affect Model S owners of if a manual over-ride will be put in place to replace this pulled feature.
Update: Tesla has acknowledged the change noting Another software update expected in January will give the driver direct control of the air suspension ride height transitions.