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Tesla's Paid Acceleration Boost Update Highlights A Dominating Lead In Battery And Tech

by Claribelle Deveza December 20, 2019


Tesla’s paid Acceleration Boost upgrade may be an indication of the automaker’s lead in battery tech and OTA updates, said ARK Invest analyst Sam Korus. He was able to tie Tesla’s lead in battery tech and OTA updates after Tesla released its recently released paid performance upgrade for the Model 3.

The latest speed update will reduce the Model 3’s 0-60 mph time by .5 seconds for the Dual Motor AWD variant. This allows the Model 3 to run 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the upgrade, for US$2,000 plus state taxes.

Tesla’s Lead in Battery Tech

Korus crunched the numbers on the Model 3’s improved times and came up with a valid hypothesis about Tesla’s battery tech. Based on his calculations, reducing a vehicle’s 0-60 mph run time from 4.4 seconds to 3.9 seconds is equivalent to adding about 85hp to an ICE vehicle.

Adding that much horsepower to a fossil-fueled car would take a lot of work, and it would cost over US$4,000 for an upgraded engine alone, reasoned Korus. With that in mind, it can be concluded that Tesla may have developed a more powerful battery pack while maintaining reasonable costs.

The Cybertruck supports this hypothesis. Many speculate that the CYBRTRK’s battery pack will be similar to the Model X. Tesla’s all-electric SUV has a 75 kWh battery in the currently-retired Standard Range variant, which has a 250-mile range.

Elon Musk announced that the single-motor RWD Cybertruck would have 250+ miles of range, so it would probably have a similar battery as the Model X. However, Tesla’s pickup truck is heavier and overall bigger than the Model X, meaning it would need more power to run 250+ miles on a single charge.

Based on Clean Technica’s calculations, the Cybertruck would need a battery that is 75 percent larger than the Model 3 to maintain its 250+ mile range, which speaks volumes when the all-electric sedan and pickup truck’s prices are compared.

The Standard Range Plus Model 3 is only a few hundred dollars less than the Cybertruck, despite the fact the pickup probably has a larger battery. One possible explanation for this is that Tesla has developed a battery pack that is more powerful but cheaper to make, as Korus slightly eludes to in his analysis.

If Korus’ hypothesis is correct, Tesla has once again taken a few steps further in its battery pack development than automakers just starting to make EVs. As it stands, Tesla is the only EV manufacturer that has its own battery chemistry. Traditional automakers are still trying to figure out how the new auto company can make powerful batteries while keeping battery production costs low.

Tesla’s Lead in OTA Updates

Then there are Tesla’s OTA updates, which are still mind-boggling to traditional automakers. When it comes to software in the auto industry, Tesla may be king. Korus didn’t discuss how the Acceleration Boost upgrade indicated the company’s lead in over-the-air updates.

However, studying the latest software announcements made by the all-electric car maker could be enough to support Korus’ claim. Lately, the all-electric car maker has been showing its other strength, namely in the software segment of clean energy vehicles.

First, Tesla opened subscriptions for its Premium Connectivity Package. Then, Elon Musk announced a Holiday Update with a sneak preview of FSD, new games, and more for all Tesla owners. News that Tesla owners in China will soon be able to play online games with other owners through their vehicles have spread as well.

The Premium Connectivity Package, the Holiday Update, and the Acceleration Boost Update are relatively easy to avail and install into a Tesla vehicle thanks to the company’s OTA update capabilities. In comparison, Jaguar I-PACE, which was once dubbed the "Tesla-killer," still hasn’t fully developed its OTA Update model. A recent update which would increase the I-PACE's range by 8 percent still needed to be installed manually by dealers.

The next-gen automaker may be the only auto company in the world right now that has refined OTA updates. Traditional auto companies are still struggling with simple features, like Bluetooth connectivity. Meanwhile, Tesla Theater already offers popular apps like YouTube and Netflix.

A deep dive into Tesla’s offerings reveals that the company isn’t just ahead because it only sells all-electric vehicles. Traditional automakers often forget that when they compete with Tesla, they aren’t just battling with another car manufacturer; they’re also going up against a tech company. Tesla's tech makes the company a two-headed beast--three-headed if Tesla Energy is counted--that could sprout more faces in the coming years.

Featured Image Credit: Tesla

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