Tesla 85 kWh Battery Option For Model S Discontinued Worldwide

FEB 8 2016 BY JAY COLE 73

Tesla Model S Options No Longer Include 85 kWh Version

Tesla Model S Options No Longer Include 85 kWh Version

Recently Tesla Motors had made the option for the 85 kWh battery pack found in the Tesla Model S unavailable for countries such as Canada and Mexico, and we had suggeseted that the United States and the rest of the world would likely soon follow.

Original Tesla Model S Battery Choices (40/60/85 kWh) Now Defunct

Original Tesla Model S Battery Choices (40/60/85 kWh) Now Defunct

Now, as of Monday (February 8th, 2016) the 85 kWh Model S is officially no more, as the option disappeared from Tesla’s Model S configuration pages in the US and elsewhere.

This officially closes the book on the original battery pack configurations the car launched with in 2012 (40, 60, and 85 kWh).

Given the addition of the 90 kWh option added late last year, the demise of the 85 kWh version really should come as a surprise to no one.  It probably had only lasted as long as it did as Tesla looked to work its way through old/existing 85 kWh pack inventory.

InsideEVs spoke to a Tesla spokesperson today for comment on the changes:

“The recently introduced 90kWh battery pack offers unprecedented range and value that has been well received by our customers. As a result, we will no longer be offering the 85kWh battery. Model S is designed to be completely customizable, ensuring that customers are able to build the car that meets their unique needs and Tesla is committed to continued innovation and the development of industry-leading technology.”

This does mean a slight price bump for anyone looking to upgrade past the base 70 kWh battery.  The Model S 90 kWh sedan starts at $88,000.   The 85 kWh Model S sedans had a range of 265 to 270 miles, whereas the new 90 kWh cars can travel up from 288 miles (90D/EPA).

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73 Comments on "Tesla 85 kWh Battery Option For Model S Discontinued Worldwide"

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Wonder how long until the 100 kWh option comes out.

If they’re going by increments of 20kWh, the next logical battery size is 110kWh.

It went from 65 to 70 and from 85 to 90, so the bumps have been 5kWh. So by that logic the next bumps should be to 75 and 95.

Tesla never had a 65kwh pack. They went from 60 to 70kwh.

Doh, you’re right about that of course. Still, the 85 went to 90, so that’s +5 like I originally said, so my point remains the same. Thank you for the correction though.

My guess would be that they can increase 60 kWh by 10 kWh as the battery price went down (or they can just charge more) and space is available. But battery energy density didn’t increased that much, so the don’t have available space/weight for anything more than 85+5 kWh.

Actually, Tesla used that fancy new math to calculate its battery capacity, like it did with lease payments. The 85 kWh battery only has 81 kWh capacity (77 kWh usable and 4 kWh buffer). I’d like to here the explanation of why Tesla rounded 81 kWh up to 85 kWh. I wonder if the 90 kWh battery really has a 90 kWh capacity, 86 kWh capacity, or some other random capacity.


Is there any EV maker, sven, which labels its battery pack based on available DoD (Depth of Discharge), rather than based on the rated capacity of the battery cells? So far as I know, every EV maker does the same.

Calling Tesla out for following industry standard seems more than merely unfair; it seems you are going out of your way to practice FUD and truth-twisting.

Insane Electric Torque

You have to read more about batteries.
The test didn’t measured thermal losses from internal resistance. Lithium batteries have a capacity loss of 5-5.3% in the heat of discharge.

It sure is the logical step. Hopefully we will see it coming soon.

But I guess we won’t see it until 2017 assuming they have the gigafactory up and running by then.

Elone hinted that he is temped to do a VTOL electric plane. He mentioned some time ago that for that to happen they need a 400 Wh/kg battery. I am almost sure that this battery is on his desk and thus there is a big chance for an increase in the range of the Teslas.

Elon estimated a 5% increase in battery capacity per year, but indicated that won’t be a regular thing. That is, there might be 2-3 years go by and then Tesla cars will get a 10-20% jump all at once.

I wonder how long before Tesla lowers prices on the Model S? With all the reports of them perhaps having reached peak demand, and certainly one should expect by now their costs have come down a bit compared to earlier production, it would seem natural to lower prices a bit. Take the base 70 down to $65k and with federal tax incentive it would be $57,500 and perhaps spur additional demand.

Probably when they stop selling every single unit they build before it is even started. As long as those lines are still cranking at full speed, where is the evidence of need to discount?

Don’t forget the certified preowned Model S cars that can be had for $57,500 or even lower.

Still lots of demand to be created in current markets or added by exploring new markets.

And since Tesla are preparing for the Model 3 I’m sure they will continue with the expanding of new and current markets to have networks and dealers everywhere.

One blogger posting about peak demand for Model S, does not make much of a convincing case…

Now that MX production is ramping up and engineering / design work on MIII is going on in earnest– the refresh for Model S is fast approaching.

Putting the MX into production can be seen as an indication of peaking demand for the MS. Or at least, that Tesla’s growth rate is now exceeding the ramp up in demand for the MS. Clearly demand for the MX is much higher than the current limited production, so I expect Tesla to concentrate on that bottleneck for awhile.

Between the problems with ramping up MX production and working hard on developing the Model ≡, I don’t expect Tesla to do any major refresh of the MS in the near future. Hopefully they can do two major things at once… or three, if you count the Gigafactory, but doing a major refresh of the MS is probably something that isn’t a current priority.

All just my current (hopefully informed) guesses, of course.

Lower the prices? You are kind of a fool to buy a new Tesla when you can get a CPO P85 or 85 for below $60,000 nearly fully loaded, brand new tires and rims, detailed, interior materials replaced, etc.

You can literally get a CPO nearly brand new for WAY less than a buying a brand new Model S.

It makes no logical sense to buy a new Tesla, CPO is the way to go.

Unless you want Autopilot, wider opening rear doors, upgraded sunroof, more range from newer batteries and a host of other small improvements made over the years.

Don’t forget newer batteries that can charge faster than 90 kw, newer comfort seats, etc

Anything in the last year or so has all those features (late 2014 and beyond) will give you those features and Tesla has not shipped a car with a 90kWh “rev A” pack in a few years–I have a Summer 2013 build and it has a “rev B pack”.

I just bought a 2013 “CPO” S Model one month ago….what a beauty…after their detailing it looked brand new, and came with some nice options ie: sunroof, 21″ wheels, pearl white paint, and comes with a 50k miles warranty from my date of purchase. I couldn’t be more pleased, and it cost 1/2 of what a new one goes for. In a couple years I’ll trade again, for an Autonomous and Summon Mode model.

Tesla just raised the price $8,000, for the range oriented customer who doesn’t feel they need AWD ($3k+$5k). If you can live without it, you now face stepping down to 70kwh, or an $18,000 jump up to the 90D.

Peak demand? Listening to TSLA bears?

The Model S, over the past 4 years, has gotten a lot more bang for the same amount of money. Someone buying a P85 in 2012, for instance, now gets a 90D that has AWD, autopilot/TACC, folding mirrors, blind spot monitoring, automated parking, parking sensors, faster 0-60 in real life, 5 kWh more battery, alcantara dash, and so forth.

Only in Murica and that has nothing to do with Tesla optimizing their product, it’s simple the strong $ making buying foreign parts cheaper.

The Model S price has massive increased everywhere else in the world over the last two years.

As the American dollar has gone up in value as compared to foreign currencies, because the American economy is doing very well, an unfortunate side effect is the price of American goods in foreign markets increasing.

Only a Tesla troll like you, CSC, would try to spin this as anti-Tesla FUD.

While writing my blog post, I found it odd that Tesla range is much lower than expected. S with better aerodynamics but heavier would use about similar amount of power at highway speed as much lighter but poor aero SparkEV. 70 kWh being 3.7 times bigger, it should get over 300 miles range, yet it’s only 240 miles. Scroll down on blog post to “Keeping up with Teslas”

I hand-waved to say it’s due to Tesla using 70% of battery capacity vs 90% for SparkEV (and Leaf). But is this true?

The miles/kWh on the Tesla are significantly less than the Spark. Apparently this is due to a different motor design focused more on power than efficiency.

2000lbs is a lot of lbs. That’s how many additional pounds the Tesla is carrying around.
Also, the Tesla uses a 245 cross section tire, usually a more performance oriented compound (i.e. high rolling resistance), while Spark uses a 185 cross section tire with a low rolling resistance compound.
There are myriad reasons why the mi/kWh are different… it should really come as no surprise.

But you’re talking about 20% difference in drive train efficiency. That’s pretty significant. Can it be that worse for Tesla?

SparkEV is “only” 1500lb less than S70, but the aero is awful. While Tesla S would take 14 HP aero at 70MPH, SparkEV would take almost 21 HP. Tires would have to be pretty awful to have such large effect.

Why are you trying to characterize the Model S’s energy efficiency as though it’s poor?

Let’s look at the pack capacity vs. EPA rated range, when the EPA was using the same driving cycle for both the Leaf and the Model S (that is, testing both nominally 80% and 100% charge, and averaging the results):

Leaf: 75 miles with 24 kWh
Model S85 (single motor): 265 miles with 85 kWh

That yields:
Leaf: 3.125 miles per kWh
Model s: 3.117 miles per kWh

I’d say Tesla did darn good at engineering the MS, to get almost precisely the same energy efficiency in a car that’s much heavier and (unlike the Leaf) uses an actual thermal management system for the battery pack!

Why does the Spark EV get more miles per kWh? Because it’s smaller and much lighter, that’s why. Not because of supposedly “superior” engineering.

PuPu, Chill out. I said nothing about Tesla having inferior engineering. If anything, they have fantastic engineering. For motor, it’s all a matter of tradeoff, and they chose to have higher performance. What is surprising is how much you lose in efficiency. I was going to say if you read my blog post, you’d see that I praise Tesla for having done such great work, and I realized the link to my blog post was removed. Basically, I use ecomodder with known numbers (weight, aero, etc) and some guesses (tire, motor efficiency) to estimate EPA highway MPGe and try to figure out the range. If you’re bored and need something to read, it’s mass-market-ev-hoping-for-tesla, scroll down to Edit Jan. 29, 2016. I find that battery capacity has to be low (70%) even with lower motor efficiency. I think that’s good; that means Tesla would have less range degradation over time! Leaf is EPA 84 miles at 24 kWh, of which supposedly 22 kWh is usable = 3.8 mi/kWh. But EPA is includes charging whereas range is only from battery to wheels. I get 5.1 mi/kWh over 7300 miles with SparkEV. Leaf and Tesla will also do better than EPA numbers.… Read more »
88SparkEV said: “I hand-waved to say it’s due to Tesla using 70% of battery capacity vs 90% for SparkEV (and Leaf). But is this true?” So far as I know, neither Nissan nor Tesla have made the maximum DoD (Depth of Discharge) public knowledge. The conventional wisdom is that the Leaf uses about 80% of the battery’s full capacity, and from various hints, I think the Model S has a higher maximum. However, the MS allows you to set the maximum charge level (and thus the max DoD) with a slider, so how much the average driver actually uses is variable. One thing that’s confusing, and somehow I never seem to be able to get anyone to understand this, is that when the display on the MS says “100%” charge, that’s not really a charge to 100% of the cells’ capacity. Tesla saved 5% on the top in the Roadster to prolong battery life, and I rather suspect they save about that much in the MS’s battery pack, too. So a “100% charge” in a MS is likely only 95% of the actual maximum charge possible for the battery cells. Exactly how much Tesla reserves on the bottom is something… Read more »

Leaf uses additional recharge during braking. Tesla does not.

An end of an era of sorts. That is until the lower end 70 becomes an 85kWh 🙂

My feeling is that you will see a facelift in the Model S with some other improvements this summer (July), but the true game will come in July 2017 with Model S (and maybe Model X some months later)low end 80 kWh and high end 100 kWh (I secretly hope for more but let us be not overoptimistic), because at the end of 2017 our beginning of 2018 we would see a low end 55 kWh Tesla III and and high end 70 kWh Tesla III! Fingers crossed!

Obviously, the new battery packs in summer 2017 will come with the new autopilot set of hardware (more cameras, enhanced ultrasonic sensors and rear and front radars with more range).

This means a 75kwh should be expected in a few months, and the 70kwh will be discontinued by the end of the year, followed by a 95kwh, etc.

This is almost like Intel’s “tick, tock” strategy.

But Tesla can’t keep “tick-tocking” the price as the pack size keeps increasing…

I ran across an interesting discussion on that point a day or two ago on the official Tesla Motors forum. The comments said (and I think it’s true) that when Tesla introduced the “D” drive, they added some extras to the package without raising the price. As a result, some Tesla buyers who had taken delivery shortly before those options were added were ticked off because they felt cheated. As a result, when Tesla increased the top capacity from 85 to 90 kWh, Tesla added… I think it’s $3000 to the price, to keep previous buyers from feeling cheated.

But if you look at the current price for the S70 vs the old price for the S60, isn’t it about the same?

I expect the price of the S90 to come down to about the same level that they used to sell the S85 at, before the next increase in capacity.

In other words, a price increase is corporate strategy to keep all customers happy, but that price increase will be only temporary, and hopefully will be phased out before the next increase in battery capacity.

Yes. I actually recommended to Tesla that they “tick-tock” the price.

(1) Introduce new option, with $1000-$3000 upcharge
Wait 3-6 months

(2) Discontinue old base option
Wait 3-6 months

(3) Announce price cut (back to original base price)

This is a perfectly sensible way of handling upgrades and keeps people happy.

Sure they can. The introduction of the Model 3 will tick the entry level price for getting into a Tesla lower, allowing the price, size, and features of the Model S to tick higher. This is the exact same thing that has always happened at car makers like BMW, Audi, Mercedes, etc. BMW kept making their bottom of the line 3-Series bigger and better until holes opened up below the 3-Series that they filled with the 1-Series, 2-Series, and Mini Cooper lines of cars. Meanwhile, the 3-Series grew to be the size of the old 5-Series. The 5-Series grew to the size of the old 7-Series. And the 7-Series has grown into Roles-Royce in size, features, and price. Audi and VW keep doing the same too. Everything grows and gets faster and more expensive, until they have to introduce a new entry level car, like the A3 was introduced into the US. This is because every time car makers go through a remodel of their line of cars, buyers keep telling them they want more and more from the outgoing model. The car companies oblige and increase the price, because they can’t put out a new model that is just… Read more »

“Everything grows and gets faster and more expensive, until they have to introduce a new entry level car…”

And that’s not a new trend at all. It’s been decades since I read a rather amusing commentary comparing car models to vertebrate species, pointing out that both tend to increase in size to extinction! 😀

I’m waiting for the Model S 225

I think Tesla will start upping by 10kwh for the next bump; so, to 80 and 100kwh, although I think they will want the next high end bump to hit 300 miles EPA range. 100kwh should put them right at the threshold.

RWD doesn’t make sense for Tesla’s drivers, because it is getting easier to argue that’s not what they care about, anyway.

All the millisecond data Tesla owners are starting to gather, about just how fast Tesla’s drive systems can act/react. If they took it, along with the execellent weight characteristics, I bet they could make a really special drivers car.

With their biggest marketing advantage being dragster-like acceleration, I imagine AWD will become standard on all these Teslas too.

As long as these battery increases come from greater energy density, great. If the idea is just to increase the size of the heaviest, most expensive component in an EV, then not so great.

Better aerodynamics are the logical way to increase range.

As of 8 months ago, Musk was saying that two-wheel drive would be the standard, and AWD would be an option:


Wait, was this proper Warren, or improper Warren?? *grin*


I wonder how long until the model S gets a $15-20K price cut. With a $40K 200mile Model 3 around the corner, I don’t see a lot of people rushing to spend $35K more on a fancier, marginally quicker car.

That is like asking when the BMW 7-Series will get a massive price cut, just because most BMW buyers buy less expensive vehicles.

It isn’t going to happen. In fact, as the Model 3 ramps up in production, it takes the lower price pressure OFF of Tesla. They no longer will have to produce a low priced Model S, because if somebody wants a lower priced BMW 7-Series, BMW doesn’t cut the price for them, they sell them a 3-Series.

The Model S is an exclusive Executive vehicle, and buyers are not typically what are called “Price Point” buyers. The Model 3 will free up Tesla to make it even more of an exclusive luxury vehicle, not pressure them to cut features and discount it.

I’m thinking around 100kWh is about all the Model S will ever need. At that point I would just worry about fitting the same energy in a smaller/lighter package.
A 100kWh pack would probably give a 300 mile range. A couple years down the line they will be able to shove that same 100kWh energy into a small/lighter pack – this would help range slightly, but improve driving characteristics greatly.

I guess it’s a question of ‘How much range is enough range?” I personally think anything over 300 is a bit overkill – and would much rather the next iteration of the car weigh 4500lbs and keep about the same range, than to see another 30 miles of range added while remaining around 4800lbs.

I think 300 miles is overkill. Sure, it is nice during that less than 1% of the time when you drive over 300 miles. But 99% of the time, you are just hauling around hundreds of pounds that you don’t need.

I think 60KWH in small aerodynamic car would be great for me. I hope the Model 3 looks better than the Bolt and is more aerodynamic. I like the idea of a mini-Model S.

Yes, I think 300 miles of real-world highway range will be, or at least should be, the target. Gasmobile makers generally equip their cars with gas tanks big enough to carry the car 300 miles, or more.

However, 100 kWh won’t be sufficient for 300 miles of highway driving in a car as big and heavy as the Model S. Consumer Reports rates the Model S at about 220 highway miles on a nominally 100% charge. So to get to 300 miles you’d need 116 kWh. And realistically, you need about 20% more, to allow for driving in very cold weather and/or to allow some safety margin; so that’s 139 kWh.

Now, after the approx. 139 kWh threshold is reached, I would hope that Tesla would just lower the price as batteries continue to come down in price, rather than continuing to increase the capacity.

At current battery price and battery density, 200-300 miles is the sweet spot. In other words, anything with the range between the upcoming Bolt, and a Model S 90D.

That changes if any of these 10X battery miracles we’ve been hearing about the for the last 10 years actually comes true.

If batteries improved 10-fold, and we could buy a battery at 1/10th the price that fit in 1/10th the space, I wouldn’t expect to see anything with less than 500 miles of range. Even big SUV’s that require big batteries would have 500+ miles of range.

Because the one thing America wants more than anything else, is “More”. So “More” miles will win over not more miles.

Completely agree Michael, any more than 500km/300miles is overkill and waste of time lugging around useless battery cells.

After that target is reached, it makes sense to use the increased energy density to remove cells from cars and keep the range at around 500km and improve efficiency and cost.

Musk has recently commented to this effect.

Only reason ICE cars can have 1000km ranges is because fuel is light, 30l vs 60l is not much. Its also convenient to avoid going to a gas station, because everyone hates it. With and electric car, you never do that anyway, you just plug it in at night and have a full “tank” every morning.

That’s weird. 85KWH was their flagship battery size.

I guess they are moving to new cells that are a big larger?

In a conference call, Musk directly attributed the gains of the 90D to battery chemistry change.

“It is, actually, as a result of improved cell chemistry”

“We’re shifting the cell chemistry for the upgraded pack to partially use silicon in the anode,”

“This is just sort of a baby step in the direction of using silicon in the anode. We’re still primarily using synthetic graphite, but over time we’ll be using increasing amounts of silicon in the anode.”

I don’t know the specifics.

Does anyone know what the breakdown is between the 70/90 or the 60/85 batteries? Every time I see one on the road it is an 85 or 90 model. I don’t understand why nobody wants the 60? I mean, that should be PLENTY of range.

The range for each Model S version is:

60 – 208 miles
70 – 230 miles
70D – 240 miles
85 – 265 miles
85D – 270 miles
90D – 288 miles
P85 – 247 miles
P85D – 255 miles
P90D – 270 miles

No. I meant like, how many people have bought each kind.

That would be an interesting breakdown, but I have seen a few 60s around, and there have been some 60s on the CPO page – they don’t seem to hang around for long…

Thanks for that post, MikeG.

David Murray said:

“I don’t understand why nobody wants the 60? I mean, that should be PLENTY of range.”

Obviously most Model S buyers think otherwise, since only a small percentage chose the S60. I think it was 1 in 7, or ~14.3%?

Let’s review the advantages of a larger battery pack:

1. Longer range, and thus greater flexibility for trips

2. Longer battery life

3. Ability to Supercharge faster

4. More ability to take a second trip on the same day without having to wait to recharge

5. Higher resale value due to less battery capacity loss

Obviously most MS buyers think all those advantages are well worth spending several thousand dollars more.

The biggest downside of the 60 was that there were too many places in the Supercharger network where you would be biting your nails or driving well under the speed limit to make sure you could make it to the next supercharger.

The 70D mostly eliminates that problem.

“A recent 1,200-mile East Coast road trip in my 2013 Tesla Model S electric car proved to be something of a turning point in my view of the car.

Fitted with the smaller 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack, my car’s EPA range of 208 miles was not quite enough to make it between Superchargers–Tesla’s proprietary ultra-fast DC charging stations–at normal Interstate speeds in cold weather.

So I faced a Hobson’s choice.

I could extend the car’s range by driving 60 mph in the slow lane, with the heat off, or loiter in the customer lounges of Nissan dealers along the way, while my car picked up the extra few miles it needed courtesy of their slower Level 2 charging stations.

Neither alternative turned out to be much fun.

And it was my first experience of buyer’s remorse.

Not for buying a Model S–not at all–but for not ponying up the extra $8,000 to specify the larger 85-kWh version of the Model S, withan EPA range of 265 miles, which could have covered the distances between Superchargers with ease.

As I wrote at the time: “Damn. Coulda, woulda, shoulda got the 85.”


They should offer a 50 kwh model for Germany as maximum supercharger distance is less than 100 km there…

I wonder if they are ensuring that there is a gap between the Model S and the Model 3 when it comes out. There needs to be enough extra in the Model S that there is still a reason for people to spend the extra money to get a Model S, and to preserve the larger margins on the Model S.

There will be a great many advantages of the Model S over the Model ≡. The Model S is a large “premium” (aka luxury) car; the Model ≡ will be a smaller, comparatively down-market car, lacking many of the “premium” items found in the MS.

Looking at only the battery capacity (or only the range) is like looking at only the cubic inches inside a gasmobile’s pistons. Sure, there are “gearheads” for whom that’s the most important consideration. But nearly all car buyers, even gearheads, choose a car based on a number of criteria: utility, looks, comfort/luxuries, and price. Not just one factor.

I hope Tesla keeps the 70kwh battery in the base model. I would much rather see the price dropping than battery size increasing. There are no incentives where I live. It would be oh so wonderful if I could get a brand new RED 70D for 60k Euros…

This might have been a bad thing back when Tesla’s entry level car was the S60, and the entry model couldn’t always make it all the way between every Supercharger in the network.

But now that the 70 is such a better base model than the 60 ever was, getting a base model is a completely valid option vs. getting the 85.

There is an 85 kWh Model S *again*? :->