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You can increase the battery capacity of a Tesla 70D with a software update

Think you are stuck with the smallest battery size if you buy the new Tesla Model 70D? Think again – there’s a software update that increases the capacity.

Tesla has confirmed buyers of the new entry-level Tesla 70D can increase the battery capacity from 70kWh to 75kWh without any physical work done. Instead, the owner pays Tesla US$3,000 and an update adds the extra capacity of the 75D.

All the owner has to do is to let the over-the-air firmware update do its thing and, Bob’s your uncle, an extra 5kWh capacity and the extra 19 miles is unlocked.

A Tesla spokesperson said: “Yes, all 70kWh Model S with updated styling have been built with a 75kWh battery pack and the additional energy can be unlocked at any time through an over-the-air software update.

“We will continue to offer the 70kWh energy option but we will no longer produce the packs; a decision that is the most efficient for Tesla and the most beneficial for our customers.”

That’s good news for potential Tesla owners who want the absolute cheapest way to own a Model S but may want more range a later date, as opposed to being stuck with a car that will only ever have 70kWh.

And even if the extra range is a non-requirement for the owner, the extra capacity will potentially help with battery longevity. Given it costs an extra US$10,000 to upgrade from the 75D to the 85D, an extra 5kWh for US$3,000 is okay value.

Critics may find the idea of a car adopting an ‘in-app’ purchase system a bit strange, especially as the upgrade is cheaper in the US at the point of sale. But this actually not the first instance, as upgrading to the Autopilot system can also be done after a Tesla has been purchased.

Also consider the fact other manufacturers sell a car with the same engine but different levels of output, and that using the same battery in more cars is more eco-friendly and cost efficient – although whether the customer sees the benefit of the latter depends on Tesla.

The discovery was made by a Tesla Motors Club member and picked up by Tesla fansite Teslarati. Place your bets now on how quickly it will take for someone to come up with a hack that unlocks the extra capacity for free.

We have approached a UK Tesla spokesperson for pricing and availability of the update in old Blighty and will update accordingly.

Elon Musk recently said production of Teslas will be ramped up to 500,000 cars in 2018 and that he may not always be the Californian company’s CEO.

Is this a fair move from Tesla that keeps the more affordable Model S around for longer, or a greedy cash grab? Let us know in the comments.

Update: A Tesla spokesperson has confirmed to Recombu Cars that the UK will get the capacity increase retrofit, but no word on a price.


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