By discontinuing its Model S option for a 75 kWh battery pack software-locked to 60 kWh, Tesla removed all software-limited battery pack options on its new vehicles.
Now it looks like Tesla is quietly bringing back the feature with a new 85 kWh battery pack – a battery pack size that was also discontinued last year.
The battery size was discontinued after Tesla introduced a new 90 kWh battery capacity for Model S and Model X.
But now Tesla has also discontinued that battery size in favor of its new 100 kWh battery capacity, which is its new top-of-the-line battery pack and offers a bigger distinction with the original 85 kWh capacity.
Over the past few weeks, Tesla delivered several brand new Model S 75/75D and Model X 75D vehicles, which are generally equipped with Tesla’s base 75 kWh battery packs, with battery packs now listed as having a capacity of 85 kWh.
Here are two examples of the new 85 kWh battery pack labels found on new Model X vehicles sold as ’75D’:
Interestingly, all the vehicles (6 so far) are located in Norway. With the help of Jim Roger Johansen, who runs Teslanytt.no, we were able to confirm that those new packs indeed have a capacity over the one advertised since the charge rate at 99% was still ~30 kW which is significantly higher than the normal charge rate of a Tesla vehicle with a regular 75 kWh battery pack at the same state of charge.
It indicates that there’s likely more energy capacity after the battery is displayed as full.
As we previously reported when Tesla used to sell the Model S 60 and 60D with a software-locked 75 kWh battery pack, one of the main advantages is that you could reach a full charge faster when Supercharging since the charge rate is less affected by the state of charge, which is always 20% off due to being locked at 60 kWh
Tesla’s original Model S 85 used to get 265 miles (426 km) of EPA-rated range and the dual motor version (85D) would get 272 miles (438 km). The same energy capacity in newer and more efficient vehicles is likely to acheive an even greater range.
What is particularly strange is that the automaker is not listing the new battery pack as an available option for Model S or X nor is it offering it as an upgradeable option for the owners who receive the new pack, who are currently left in the dark. Tesla representatives we’ve talked to weren’t aware of the new pack and the company didn’t officially comment on this report.
Tesla also recently introduced some significant performance improvements on its vehicles equipped with a 75 kWh battery pack, but we don’t think this new 85 kWh battery pack is related since while at least 6 new vehicles received it, we also confirmed that new vehicles being delivered around the same time but after the performance upgrade still have a standard 75 kWh pack.
As we previously reported, a new RWD electric motor upgrade is believed to be at least partially responsible for the new performance.
It would make sense for Tesla to increase the capacity of its base battery pack option for Model S and Model X, but especially for Model S in an attempt to further differentiate the flagship vehicle with Tesla’s upcoming cheaper Model 3.
Model 3 is expected to be offered with two battery pack options, one with a capacity between 55 and 60 kWh, and another more expensive with a capacity between 70 and 75 kWh.
Considering 75 kWh is the same capacity as the current standard battery pack for the Model S, it would make sense for it to have a bigger difference with the Model 3 – even if it’s only for the higher-end version of the smaller sedan.
Due to its smaller size and better efficiency, Model 3 should be able to travel longer distances than Model S, which is about 20% bigger, with the same energy capacity.
We also recently confirmed that Tesla is discontinuing the RWD Model S 75, which could mean that a Model S 85D could become the new base version. Such a configuration could likely compete in range with a Model 3 75D if it turns out to be the top-of-the-line version of the vehicle, which is only speculation at this point.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.