Let’s Analyze Tesla’s Recent Model S, X 75D Discontinuation


Elon Musk broke the news last night that Tesla was dropping the 75 kWh Model S/X

Since the remaining 100 kWh options are currently $15k-18k more than the 75D’s, that would greatly decrease an already small niche of buyers that can afford the Model S and Model X. This is an atypical move for Tesla and there is likely some financial motivation behind the discontinuation.

The most logical reasoning for the discontinuation is that Tesla is taking down its 75 kWh pack line to upgrade to a cheaper/more efficient architecture that can handle the V3 Supercharger. Since the 100D’s are Tesla’s highest margin vehicles, Tesla will be able to decrease their cost substantially because Tesla no longer has to cover the lower margin 75D’s in its sales mix.

While the 75 line is down, Tesla can crank out as many 100 kWh packs so that they can keep manufacturing their highest margin vehicles when they take down the 100-pack line for its upgrades.

Tesla can then reintroduce “Standard Range” S/X’s with higher ranges than the current 75D’s. Tesla can charge the same price for the SR than it did for the prior 75D because the buyer gets more range for “free” and Tesla gets better margins on their lower-end S/X’s.

When the SR is introduced, Tesla can upgrade the 100 kWh pack line while it continues to manufacture high-margin 100D’s with the inventory 100D packs that it produced during the 75D discontinuation. When the upgrades are complete, Tesla can reintroduce an upgraded “Long Range” S/X and charge the pre-discounted 100D price because the LR vehicles will have longer range and higher charge speeds.

With the old price-point, the new LR’s would then be able to again offset the lower margin SR’s.

When the next tax credit rollback occurs, Tesla will again have healthy margins on its flagships that will again enable it to drop the price of its vehicles again to absorb the impact.

What do you think about this move by Tesla? We’d also like to know your thoughts surrounding this analysis. Let us know in the comment section below.

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127 Comments on "Let’s Analyze Tesla’s Recent Model S, X 75D Discontinuation"

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Good analysis. Elon said the Model S/X were intended to be the flagships of the company and their current battery technology needs to be updated to keep pace with the battery improvements introduced with the Model 3.

It’s horrible analysis. You need to look at both sides of the equation. High margin products MUST sell.

The author PULLS AN ARGUMENT OUT OF THIN AIR. The author fails basic / fundamental economic analysis. You cannot assume sales will be there just because you said so.

If you take away the 75 wHr product, what is to say the next potential 75 wHr buyer does not go down market and buy the Model 3 instead?

It makes sense to me that the 75 wHr is being pulled to simplify Tesla’s product line to free up capacity for cars that sell. Tesla has pent up demand for the model 3 and every capacity freed up generates more REALIZALE sales of the model 3.

If batteries are the main bottleneck for Model 3 production, then discontinuing the 75 KWH offering could increase Model 3 production to the 7000/week that has been thrown around for some time.

How many S/Xes are they making each week now? 2-3k? If one Model S pack could be swapped out for 1.25 Model 3 packs, I’m not sure it would make sense to switch. They likely have a lot higher margins on the S and X, and it makes sense to make as many high-margin vehicles as possible.

My guess is that they are preparing to switch the S/X to use 2170 cells as well, but use identical packs in both the S and X. More range, faster recharge rates, and throw in an interior refresh, and the S/X sales would stay strong for a while. It’d also give them the longest range of anything electric, especially if they could manage to cram in 125 kWh into a pack. That’s a total, wild guess though.

Model 3 use different battery sales, not like in model S\X

Exactly. Different cells, different battery pack. Production of the battery packs for the MS and MX shouldn’t affect TM3 production in any way.

But Tesla (or Elon) has talked about switching the MS/MX over to using the new 2170 cells, like TM3, and this change in MS/MX pack production may be the first sign of that happening.

Tesla has delayed making the switch, apparently due to constraint on 2170 cell supply from Gigafactory 1. But given that TM3 production apparently didn’t increase significantly in Q4 2018, and assuming Panasonic continued to ramp up 2170 cell production, perhaps Panasonic is now making enough extra cells that Tesla feels confident in making the switch.

There are a lot of things to speculate about. The speculation in this article is just one of many possibilities.

“Tesla has delayed making the switch, apparently due to constraint on 2170 cell supply from Gigafactory 1.”

Have to assume delaying helped both Tesla and Panasonic make money since the old lines are probably completely paid for.

I remember reading somewhere that Tesla and Panasonic were contracted to produce max 100k packs per year using 18650 cells util the end of 2018 (i.e. to help repay their initial investment in production capacity). Now that’s over Tesla has more freedom to swap technologies and I’d expect the base price of the 100D to come down quite a bit over the next few months probably with the introduction of a 125D that can do 420 miles of range.

How? The Model 3 uses different cells. Unless you are saying they would replace lines currently making 8150 cells for lines that can make 2170 cells to go into the Model 3?

I can only agree with you. For the model X Tesla is charging $720/kWh for the extra 25kWh. For the model S it’s only a bit better.
When people complain about leaf not having the best battery tech I tell them to see how much Nissan is going to charge per kWh… por Renault with the Zoe…

Model 3 Performance probably has more profit than Model S 75D so Tesla will just smile and say happy to help!

The S&X use different batteries and lines that make them. This will not help build more 3s unless they decommission 18xx lines to 2170 lines.

But the 3 will be a high end one with good margin and the S is more exclusive, making a gap betwee3n the S and the 3 to justify the S higher costs.
As for their margins on the S should be very good as the 100kwh pack only costs $12k and the rest shouldn’t be over $30k now the start up costs are paid.

I’m between you both. Tesla now knows it has the “range king” EV, pretty much hands down if Porsche / Audi are in the 200-250 range. Good luck to Vaggy, if they think faster charging, in fewer locations, makes up for that. Tesla is going up market, also because they’re losing the tax-exemption. So, I agree with bigger packs, maintaining/improving margins and possibly dropping to a single higher-range Model S.

Part of concluding a one-S strategy comes from the constant limiting and consolidation of options: paint, sunroof, winter package, XM or many things that used to be broken out.

> what is to say the next potential 75 wHr buyer does not go down market and buy the Model 3 instead?

That may be desirable from their point of view at the moment.

They could be winding down inventories of the 18650 sized batteries. Panasonic may be converting some of those lines to the new size or expanding others to handle all models. Packaging is a small part of the cell production line, the rest of it is probably the same.

Remember the top end model 3 is likely to have higher margins then the bottom model s.

@ MikeG

Yes that’s correct, the most expensive EV models should indeed be equipped with the best battery technology.

But will they do a major redesign of the Model S and Model X, or will they unveil a second generation of the Model S and Model X?

There’s a lot to screw up, with Model S. The car is so spacious and convenient.

Wild speculation: Model Y is done, and it won’t be the Model 3’s sibling…

Wild Speculation… Model Y Reveal comes Earlier than March 15th, then! Valentine’s Day?

Or, a Pickup Truck?
/Wild Speculation, Off!

Seriously, it seems Elon Knows what is selling, and what is not, and Price Conscious Tesla Buyers, are buying Less Model S & X, 75 kWh variants, moving to Model 3, for a better entry cost!

People have been saying for some time now that the MS is due for a major refresh. There’s been no hint from Tesla that this is getting close, but then they wouldn’t want to do that, in order to avoid the Osborne Effect on MS sales.

Will Tesla switch from 18650 cells to 2170 cells in the MS/MX battery packs, without doing a major refresh of the cars? I don’t know. It’s possible they will just put 2170 cells inside the packs designed for 18650 cells; I’ve seen claims that there is room for them, contrary to common sense. But it seems that if Tesla plans to do a major refresh of the MS (if not also the MX), then it would cost less and be less disruptive to do that all at once, rather than in two stages with separate changes to the MS/MX battery pack.

In 2017, Elon said that there are no plans for Tesla to use the new 2170 batteries on S/X, so I don’t think that’s happening.

It was true when he said it in 2017. However, the Model S and X will get newer cells eventually. It is only a question of when. I think Chris is correct above. Tesla and Panasonic had a contract through 2018 for the 18650 cells produced in Japan. No matter the cause, it is very likely they are switching out to the newer 21700 cells from the Gigafactory at this point.

Hmmm, I thought that Elon had at least once stated that Tesla intended to transfer the MS and MX over to the Gigafactory 2170 cells a few months after starting Model 3 production, but in trying to trace that back, it seems to have originated in a rumor (see link below).

Well, even if Elon said at one point that Tesla had “no plans” to convert the MS and MX over to 2170 cells, I presume that was meant only in the context of then-current plans.

It’s a no-brainer that Tesla will eventually switch the MS/MX battery packs over to using the cheaper 2170 cells. It’s only a question of when that will happen, not if.


Tesla is converting model S and X into a model 3, just the latest UI upgrades has been controversial for the owners of S/X. Is all about model3 now. Not so much for the flagships.

I thought this was a very good analysis as well. I forgot about the V3 Supercharger issue which should already be baked in to the current Model 3 pack, with the new cells, and now needs t migrate into the S and X packs.

With Tesla, product is always moving forward. I see the 100D pack with new cells becoming the new base pack with longer range (350), while a new 125D pack with 400+ mies becomes the longest range for S and X. With new 100D pack, pricing for S should hold, and save increased cell/pack savings for costs to implement next gen S while maintaining entry price.

This now puts all models, including new Y, Roadster and Semi on same cells, which will maximize cost efficiency with volume from base Model 3 specifically.

Absolutely – they cannot simply stop offering the S and X for any amount of time. They have to keep producing them while the newer generation is being developed and ready for production.

The Model 3 has the superior pack architecture that improves cooling and uses the 21700 cells. The 18650s have to phase out somehow in an economical fashion, with only enough inventory left to manufacture replacement packs for the older generation.

Could be, how about you go and try to find out?

I guess the sales of the base models were decreasing and it didn’t make sense to continue selling them.

A new version has been rumored for quite some time now, but Tesla never took down an option. You could order 85s and 90s for some time, even when the newer version was out already.

Also wouldn’t a big retooling have been made after January 1st, or sometime in summer, when people take their vacations?

So could be, but it’s just speculation.

The sales of the base models now compete with used car sales of 3 year old Model S and X. Would you buy the base model new, or a loaded higher range used S and X.

The market would naturally move to the used car market for better value.

Yea, I agree. Tesla’s biggest problem seems to be, that there just isn’t much new stuff, if you buy new.
The main problem here might be, that Tesla has OTA updates. Another factor might be FSD. If you already have a FSD Tesla, you better keep it, since it isn’t an option anymore.

Actually I guess if you own a Tesla, right now is the worst time to trade in for a new Tesla.

What does FSD do today? Nothing. Why would you lament the loss of an option that currently has no value?

“Preorder pricing”. Having FSD now, gets you free upgrade to HW 3 or whatever hardware version that gets you to FSD. There is a belief that once Tesla finally reaches the necessary HW level and gets regulatory approval to start sending out FSD features, they will be able to charge significantly higher prices for FSD.

FSD (and AP) is already outrageously expensive. It’s counting on people that believe in the Tesla mission and the early adopter mindset.

The prices should go down, not up.

Price will go down only when Tesla’s competitors develop similar tech. Until then, Tesla will milk its advantage as much as possible.

A lot of people want this feature if it’s done right. Hell, even lesser efforts like ProPilot are huge selling points. I got a Leaf, but would’ve paid $5-10k more to get autopilot-lite in a Volt or Bolt.

First mover advantage is worth a lot here.

Tesla seems to be following the Apple pricing model… not good for those who have to find the extra $$$

Doubtful. Tesla could make sure magic but the laws of today will keep it away for years to come

Probably the reason Tesla stopped offering FSD is because they now understand that the hardware in current Tesla cars is inadequate for FSD. Why would Tesla saddle itself with an option that will require a hardware refit in the future?

We haven’t yet seen the Tesla car that is actually equipped for FSD. If it was me, I certainly wouldn’t buy something that is merely aspirational, with no guarantee that it will ever be worth anything.

For all we know, FSD (that is, Level 4 or better autonomy in a self-driving car) could be 10+ years in the future. Tesla is now at Level 2+; Level 4 is a long way away!

Tells stopped offering fsd because they hired a real attorney instead of Elon’s divorce lawyer.

Becuase you paid for it. And want to hold on to the car in hopes that it is someday delivered.

I can think of better things to blow my money on, but hey, to each their own. I’m sure you can ask Tesla for an FSD refund if your car is totaled.

So long as crash victims take their cars out of Autopilot, at the last seconds, Tesla gets to report what bad drivers they are. We still don’t know how that data is tabulated.

I’m just wondering what has turned you into a full-fledged serial Tesla basher. It’s been a gradual change, but this is a conspiracy theory worthy of the worst sort of anti-Tesla pravduh dispenser.

Because at some point they will either retrofit it, or pay you handsomely to sell their car back to them.

A sales contract is a sales contract.

No, they’ll either retrofit it with real FSD hardware (whenever that is developed), which will be rather expensive for Tesla, or they will make some sort of settlement offer to those who formerly bought the FSD option.

Tesla certainly isn’t going to buy back all those cars at full price, or anything near it.

I agree Tesla will come out with a “SR” or similar which fills the hole left when they drop the 75D. Beyond that it’s impossible to guess pricing or the effect on margins.

Tesla needs to change their naming scheme to emphasize range instead of kWh. The new competitors have lots of kWh but not so much range.

Might have something to do with the fact that range can be highly variable and KWH capacity is not.

It’s almost like we need the equivalent of STP (standard temperature and pressure) or SATP (standard ambient temperature and pressure), but for electric car range. E.g.: XXX km range at 20 degrees external temperature at 100 km/h.

I think this is part of the conversion to utilizing the new 2170 cells across the entire lineup and updating the “old” pack architecture in the S and X. I’m hopeful the “standard” range Model S will have a 90’ish kWh battery, and the “long” range will top 150kWh. On road trips that would just about let you leap frog superchargers.

Or reach the next supercharger when towing with the X.

FYI, I currently can leapfrog chargers in the X 100D. Easy to test/see this in abetterrouteplanner.com as well.

But how can they change to the taller battery with a major frame redesign?

It’s half a centimeter difference. Or Panasonic could make 2165 sized—wider diameter and slightly shorter than 2170, same height as current S/X cells.

It has been claimed that the 2170 cell (70 tall) can fit into the same battery pack as the 18650 cells (65 mm tall). So that’s one possibility.

But I question that is Tesla’s plan. The Model S needs to be upgraded with some of the same advances the Model 3 has, such as the shorter, less costly wiring harness. Will Tesla switch from 18650 cells to 2170 cell inside the same pack casing, without making other changes?

We know changes are coming. Tesla said quite a few months ago, maybe a year ago, that it planned to switch the MS/MX over to the new 2170 cells. That switch was delayed, but perhaps the change is now coming soon. That’s my guess, anyway. But will Tesla make incremental, step by step changes to the MS and/or the MX? It would be less costly, more efficient, to do them all at once in a major refresh.

One thing is certain: Tesla isn’t going to announce any major changes much in advance, to avoid the Osborne Effect. Tesla is going to want to announce changes to the MS/MX line very shortly before those changes go into effect.

They’ll also want to manage it so the last buyers of the old packs/vehicles don’t feel “cheated” so to speak. This will never be perfect with a rapidly evolving technology but they’ve managed these transitions reasonably well so far. Have to assume that is part of the puzzle here.

Yeah, that’s always a problem for Tesla. They always get complaints from people who just bought a new Tesla car, without knowing that some better feature or better trim level was about to be introduced.

Tesla eschewing model years has its upsides and its downsides.

I asserted:

“Tesla said quite a few months ago, maybe a year ago, that it planned to switch the MS/MX over to the new 2170 cells.”

Well actually, in trying to trace that claim back to its origin, it seems to have been merely a rumor about something Elon said, rather than something he actually said; a rumor apparently given a lot more credibility than it deserved. (Link below, for anyone interested.)

My bad for repeating an apparently false rumor. 🙁


I believe… this discontinuance (and its quickness) has more to do with the Model 3 than the Model S/X. The move appears to compel a prospective buyer to more definitively choose between the Model 3 and Model S/X – premium vs. luxury. The low-end Model S (and maybe Model X) competed with the high-end Model 3. This competition will be eliminated going forward with (I suspect) a bump to Model 3 sales. I’m uncertain where the margins have settled on the Model 3, following the halving of the Federal credit and recent discounting by Tesla, but with far more Model 3 than S/X being produced in a set time period, there should be a corresponding bump in profit. The buyer who can afford the revised-priced Model S/X truly never worried about such a decision. The quickness between announcing and enacting is curious, though. Knowing the quarterly pressures Tesla is under to demonstrate a profit to investors, is this move intended to soften the soon-to-be-released 4Q18 results or provide a narrative for continued profit growth into 2019? Personally, I’m not a big fan of EVs (and I work in the environmental – not accounting field), but this move appears to “make… Read more »

I agree with your point on Model 3.
My take is that Tesla’s next big goal is to amortize Model 3 non-recurrent expenses (production line robots…) as fast as possible to make the promised 35k$ version profitable as soon as possible.
Diverting sales of 75kWh model S/X into 78kWh model 3s seems an easy way to push in that direction…

I disagree, These cars appeal to two different kinds of drivers. Performance freaks who want 3.5 second 0-60mph and luxury types who want large space with big lift-back, more legroom and don’t give a damn about acceleration.

I thought I recently read the Model 3 actually had more Legroom and Headroom than Model S!

If they don’t “give a damn”, then why did they make the 75D get down to 4.2 secs 0-60.
While every 1/2 sec counts, 4.2 sec and 3.5 are not in a different class or anything.
And then there is the P version of the S’s which are the fastest variants.

I do agree that some want big cars and some want small cars. That is probably the most correct and simplest way of differentiating. But the reality is, than many would be fine with a S for $44k….. So money is probably the most significant difference.

“The move appears to compel a prospective buyer to more definitively choose between the Model 3 and Model S/X – premium vs. luxury.”

Sure, one of the reasons for the change is to create more market separation between the MS/MX and the TM3. But in the past, when Tesla has discontinued one battery pack size for the MS/MX, that has been either shortly before or shortly after offering a new, larger size.

So we can be pretty sure other changes are coming. The only real question is just how big those changes will be. Will it merely be a larger pack for the MS/MX? Very likely not; we know Tesla planned to switch the MS/MX over to the cheaper 2170 cells, and it seems possible — I’d say likely — that this is the time to do it.

Perhaps even a major refresh of the MS is coming (and perhaps the MX too).

So much speculation, so little time… 😉

I agree with the premise, however, not with the timing. The new Model S (and X) will have the new architecture batteries, but, I seriously doubt they will pre-make some old-style batteries to keep the line cranking out older models. Tesla past performance is to slip stream changes. Depending on the scope of the change from old to new battery packs, it could take some downtime on the lines though.

I do believe they will switch to SR, MR and LR designations so their models are consistently labeled. Listing the battery capacity is like the old legacy method of listing the CID/Liter designations. Not a modern way to do things.

How do companies deal with issue of spare parts (in this case battery pack) if the manufacturing lines that made the parts are already gone?

What’s the concern? Tesla has made changes to battery pack sizes several times. They don’t appear to have had any problems with having enough parts for production.

I hope this wasn’t just another “concern troll” post… as it appears to be.

Yea, everyone is a concern troll. Geez.

There is no concern. I am just curious. A company makes a change, but must still have a secure supply of parts for future warranty repairs (for many years into the future). How is the supply secured? Do they build a certain amount and store them, do they use parts from other vehicles, do they try to fix the part (welding, replacing broken wires and other stuff), combination of previous options?

“Depending on the scope of the change from old to new battery packs, it could take some downtime on the lines though.”

I doubt we’ll see any down time on production due to a mere change in battery packs. The packs are produced separately, not on the auto assembly line. Tesla will have built up enough inventory of battery packs to make the switch without disruption of the auto assembly process, if that’s the only change they are making.

But Tesla may be getting ready for a major refresh of the MS, if not also the MX. If so, that would indeed involve some downtime on the MS/MX production lines.

The reduced margins after the tax credit and $2000 price reduction take their bites probably mean that a good quarter of the 2018 margin on the car is now gone. This is probably the only viable way to keep the profits from that line to stay somewhat consistent.

the news makes it seem the prices keep going up but Musk has been lowering prices even though other manufacturers do not. My 2017 model X 75D with all the options, MSRP$115,000. Now with all the bundling my MSRP is $7000 less. With the new MSRP’s starting soon, it will still be a bargin as the 100kwh battery over my 75 kWh in 2017 was another $20,000 plus. If an Old school Escalade costs $100,000, glad Musk keeping entry level high for their premium version. I live on Maui island, so the 75 is perfect. If I moved to the mainland USA I would swap out for the 100kwh battery. The 100 kWh is perfect for mainland USA as using the heater and AC more and highway speeds.

In general (but not always), Tesla has not been lowering prices on the MS/MX, but rather adding content and bundling in more optional equipment as standard equipment, at the same prices.

To some extent we see the same pattern with the TM3, altho in the past, Elon has mentioned the possibility of lowering the price of the TM3 as production costs come down. Perhaps we’ll see new lower trim levels offered at lower prices, with existing trim levels continuing to get more added content at the same price.

Since Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-Tron are tailored to compete with 75D models (price and range wise), Tesla bumping up the specs on that model. I guess the new pack with Model 3 architecture will allow them to gain 20% range on those models.

I think Tesla is far more concerned about competition between the TM3 and the MS/MX, than with any competition from the I-Pace and/or the e-Tron. The I-Pace is to be made only in low numbers, and (as I recall) the e-Tron won’t even be stocked at U.S. dealers — special order only.

What about Europe/China? In those markets Tesla is not doing so well recently. Audi can easily sell in similar numbers, and Jaguar can also do well in some markets. In US probably they are less concerned. Anyway I always thought Tesla has to raise prices, they need similar margins to other luxury makers to survive. So I think They should also cancel Model 3 short range and stick to +$50k market for now.

You certainly make a reasonable argument, but I don’t see what that has to do with Tesla discontinuing the 75 kWh battery pack for the MS/MX.

Tesla has sold significantly less than it planned to in China ever since the start of entering that market, and that situation isn’t going to change until they can start producing the Model 3 and/or the Model Y at the Shanghai Gigafactory. I wish that wasn’t true, but that’s just the reality of the situation, because China aggressively uses red tape, tariffs and fees to discourage or ban foreign competition.

Given that all Tesla’s are special order only, I’m not sure why you think that special order will cause an issue for e-Tron

That’s not merely my opinion, it’s the reality. Just look at sales of the Ford Focus Electric, for example… or any and every model that’s available only as a special order from a legacy auto dealer. Pick one and read up on what the sales levels are and have been.

Special order only means the dealers won’t stock it, test drives won’t be available, salesmen are very unlikely to even mention the car to any potential customers, and anybody who orders one will have to pay full price… or even more. Salesmen very seldom if ever discount the price below MSRP when it comes to special orders.

Special order only equals very low sales. Again, that’s not just an opinion; it’s a fact.

The Model X/S have induction motors vs permanent magnet motors. Induction motors are premium take more energy but last forever. Plus the smaller 18—- battery’s are also premium over the Larger model 3 batteries.

The model 3 motors, batteries, packs & cooling are better. Designed years later with more experience. S/X are due to get their improvements with this generation of technology.

Yup. Sandy Munro raved over the astounding level of technology present in the TM3 permanent-magnet motors; they are smaller, lighter, less expensive to make, and more efficient than those found in the Chevy Bolt EV or the BMW i3. We can expect Tesla to switch the MS and MX over to such motors, sooner or later.

There are a lot of innovation in the TM3 that Tesla is going to want to put in the MS and the MX. Major refreshes coming soon? Or will it be several more months? I’m guessing sooner rather than later.

The motors in the 3 are not permanent magnet – “permanent magnet” motors use magnets for the rotor, rather than the copper/aluminum of the induction motors of the S, X and front motor of the 3. The rear motor of the 3 is a reluctance motor, which still relies upon an inductive rotor (no magnets), but they needed to use some relatively small permanent magnets in specific locations of the stator in order to help smooth out the inherent problems with reluctance motors. They turn out to be very efficient, more than the induction motors. One of the things that makes the S and X so much more efficient than the competition (I-Pace, e-tron, Taycan) is that the inductance motors can be turned off since there are no magnets anywhere in the design. The rear motor was geared for lower speeds and acceleration, while the front motor was geared for maintaining highway speeds. The S and X controller determines the optimal situation for both motors and operates them with no penalty for essentially “coasting”. There is an excellent article on the subject that came out a year or so ago. I don’t have the link handy at the moment (sorry!).… Read more »

TomArt, any motor with permanent magnets is a permanent magnet motor. It doesn’t have to mean they are located in the rotor.

I doubt we’ll see a “standard” range S and X in the future (though I could certainly be proven wrong). Because the S and X are premium vehicles, I expect to see long range and extended range versions, having at least 300 and 400 miles of range, respectively. Tesla can probably increase the range of the S and X by tens of miles without touching the battery pack if they apply some Model 3 technology to the S and X (PM motors instead of AC motors, more aerodynamic wheels, retracting brake pads, etc…). I expect Tesla to clobber their competitors over the head with range, which is an area where others can’t compete because Teslas are more efficient and have a battery cost advantage (a double whammy if you will).

@ Dan

Wouldn’t it be better to just choose a certain date on which they stop all the production lines that use the 18650 battery cells for the production of all the battery modules and battery packs for the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model X?

The preparation of the production lines for the production of the new battery modules and battery packs (using the 21700 battery cells) then shouldn’t take too much time.

The switch should then be very swift.

They know how many 75s are being ordered its a trim not worth having. I like the move because it differentiate its from the 3 and the Y.
You’ll probably hold out for the Y if you got around 50K.

Also when they have new battery technology gigafactory 1 makes all the skates, so they’ll just change the whole product line at once. Not half now and half later

Who’s to say they won’t have a 70kWh battery as the Standard Range, with the 100kWh one as the LR, or maybe they will be exactly the same size, with different names

My bet/hope.

Model S standard: 300 miles (90 kwh)
Model S long: 400 miles (120 kwh)
Both having V3 supercharging on CCS (150-200 kw)

Good bet, but I think 120 kWh will charge at higher power than the 90.

The 75D is slower, more expensive and has less range than the etron quattro. Obviously it had to go.

The Audi E-tron will likely have 220-230 miles of EPA range. It seems to have 30% higher energy consumption. And the E-tron is the slowest of the group. Not sure where you are getting your facts.

We are talking about the Model X 75D here. It is slower, more expensive and has less range than the etron quattro that is why Tesla killed the X75D.

The E-tron hasn’t been EPA rated. you are making the mistake of comparing EU ratings to US ratings. Rookie mistake, even for a troll.

BTW, why were the comment totals that displayed # of comments an article had on the homepage disabled? I liked being able to see which discussions were livelier than others.

From the sounds of it, the sheer amount of banned crap had been screwing up the numbers anyways. There were a number of complaints saying the numbers were wrong.

Tesla must have already been working in 2017 on the redesign of the skateboard platform and on the redesign of both the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model X.

Because when they had started to produce the new 21700 battery cells at the Gigafactory in Nevada, they had already planned ahead to use the new 21700 battery cells later on in the battery modules and battery packs of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X. That time to make the switch to the 21700 battery cells has probably come very near now.

Except that as late as mid 2018, Musk said they had no plans to use the 2170 for the S/X.

Don’t take that as forever. It is true that the switch over has not taken place yet.

Dan’s argument is full of holes. Rather than purely economic driven, look at the manufacturing.

First I doubt very much that Tesla has two separate lines for 75 & 100kWh battery packs, They are identical except the number of cells put into the pack. Easy to build both sizes on the same line. They both have the same overall case, same electronics, BMS, cooling.

Second Model S & X battery packs are assembled in Fremont, and the switch from 18650 cells made in Japan to 21700 made in Nevada is what this is all about. The new pack will be made in GF1 and not Fremont. No need to tear down one assembly line to build the other.

I think the new 2170 packs will likely be larger capacity, 95/120? and they want to sell off all the inventory of the 75kWh packs before they announce the change.

I find it a bit weird, unless they release a new battery with equal price.
Most model S sold in Norway is the 75. Have to fork out $20K more for the 100..
Do they want more people to buy the high end Model 3, and feel the 75 is too cheap compared to it?

Well, they do make more margins on an AWD Model 3 LR than the Model S 75D.

Jean-François Morissette

Norwegian could help us on this, but I think that Model 3 will sell very well there, and many people were buying the S because it was available but most European prefer a smaller format. So the 3 well equipped could indeed have reduce the 75D sales a lot.

The S is a hatchback and has a whole lot more practicality than the model 3. Norway is quite rugged. Oslo feels like a smaller Boston and most of rural Norway feels like Wyoming or Montana. Sedans like the model 3 that scream southern California are not likely to do well there.

Preparation for Model Y Reveal, on March 15th, 2019! Just 2 Months and 4 days away!

I hope the S/X get some major updates including a front fascias…

Interesting article, but I didn’t see any links. Should this not be listed as an Op Ed?

How about this: everything on this comment thread and article is all conjecture and no amount of outsider forecasting will shed any light on what will really happen until the next 1-2 years unfold?

I guess so, but it is Tesla who creates this kind of speculation by changing specs and options regularly without a coherent outlook for the future model politics.

Here’s likely why: they are a new (in the grand scheme) company developing a product line that has never been rolled out before and likely there’s a degree of making it up as they go. There really isn’t a model for them to follow, they are doing the best they can without any actual nefariously arcane reasons to keep us all from the truth.

According to q3 earnings call and q4 guidance Panasonic is adding about 1 new cell production line per month at the gigafactory over the past six months. At the end of 2018 there is supposed to be a total of 14 cell production lines. Surely, that number will continue to grow

@ Dan

“The most logical reasoning for the discontinuation is that Tesla is taking down its 75 kWh pack line to upgrade to a cheaper/more efficient architecture that can handle the V3 Supercharger.”

“cheaper/more efficient architecture” = advanced battery chemistry of the 21700 battery cells?

Or perhaps could it be that Tesla has been working on a completely new battery chemistry that has not been unveiled yet and that is even better than the battery chemistry of the 21700 battery cells?

That would actually be more in line with the 200 kWh battery pack of the new Tesla Roadster.

They must have developed something that they still haven’t unveiled yet.

The time to let the cat out of the bag is just a matter of a few months, I guess.

Unlikely to have new chemistry. The cell size is the least important, only a final packaging step. The inputs (materials & manufacturing) can be changed without changing the cell size.

No, the cell size is very important – Straubel and Musk have said many, many times over, that the 21700 cells have a more optimal energy density than the 18650s for a given chemistry. It affects volume, cooling, everything.

It has been stated, or admitted, the Roadster had a Double Stack Battery: 100 kWh x 2!

No way a 45″ high car has a double stack of 2170s or similar size cells.

I suspect the Model S and X as they exist today will go away eventually. The all-aluminum design, as well as the lack of consolidation of various parts (as compared to the Model-3) means the S and X cost a lot more to build than if they re-designed them to be more similar in construction to the Model-3. Up until now, there has been very little competition for EVs in that price-range. Now we have the Jaguar and Audi about to start competing, and more probably coming down the pipeline. The Model S and X will need to be redesigned to be made from steel and use the same battery cells as the Model-3 for them to survive long-term.

I see no need for that. The S and X outperform the current and planned competition at similar price points. There is no reason not to keep the body and parts of the frame aluminum – it’s lighter than steel, and the last thing Tesla’s need is more weight.


Could be,…

… an added guess: An additional reason (battery crash protection) may be to go to an “exoskeleton” on the battery (like the M3 has) vs the current “endoskeleton”.

I think you’re right.

The future is M3 and it’s derivative MY, the pending p/u truck platform and its derivatives, all of which incorporate significant new technology, cost reduction, and manufacturability compared to the original MS/MX.

There is no way the MS/MX can be updated and cost reduced to match the subsequent progress made in M3. Tesla might eventually make a new platform derivative to fit in these market segments (especially MX), but it’s almost time for the old platform to head off into the sunset. Dropping the 75 means the residual MS/MX sales will at least be profitable.

Aluminum is pretty common in high end cars so that doesn’t seem to make sense.
Now – other things to reduce weight and cost are a good idea.
When you look at weight and S vs 3 – the 3 appears more efficient while using steel. That seems to me an area of savings and if you kept it with aluminum, the S could be quite a package.

Likely more a pure marketing move. Pushing that market niche to a more profitable Model S 100D or a more profitable Model 3, assuming that buyer would get a maxed out Model 3 with his Model S 75D money.

I wonder if the gross profit on a LR, AWD, Painted, Wheels and Autopilot Model 3 at $62,000 is the same as a S75D at $76,000.

Some of the folks responding are concerned that those that wanted the 75 kWh Model X or S will downsize to the Model 3. In a general sense the market is different. I doubt that there will be a lot of that. Especially going from Model X to Mode 3. Totally different vehicles.

It sounds to me they are efficiently allocating capital with this move. This is a sign of quality management.

I guess you guys are analyzing it for fun. It is not like we are analyzing what is on Mars.
The answer lies within Tesla.
I am not really curious why the move but I know it is 100% financially driven move.

Tesla’s decisions historically have been primarily technology and growth driven.

Historically, yes. But S/X are no longer growth products.

Since the rumored price for Tesla battery price is 120$/kWh, selling it for >700$/kWh looks like an important profit source.
Let’s see how demand will act on this move.

We should not just be left to guess. This is not the way to conduct business. It’s the same as withdrawing the rear motor long range Model 3 with no notice. Wretched behaviour by Tesla.

“…Wretched Behaviour by Tesla…”

Well, look at the competition: Ford and what is left of Chrysler aren’t doing much….
GM ‘s announcements of late are all about the benefits of all electric cars but then discontinues 2 models, besides the 2 they discontinued earlier (California Spark ev, and Caddy ELR)… So they say all these great electrics are here but now they’ve discontinued a total of 4 vehicles( Volt and CT6 Phev) and have just the BOLT ev left – fine for what it is – but that is it.

At least Tesla is still making electrics – and makes more than one model for variety.

I hear what you are saying about plenty of surprises from Tesla lately, but it looks ultimately like any competition is going to be coming from asian car makers.

I think to eliminate the 75d is very dangerous for tesla they arent just removing a vehicle that costs $5k less that the next model up. we are talking almost $20k to the mid $90k range..Now if they replaced it right away then maybe I can understand the “replacement will have longer range for the same money” strategy. However I dont think this new battery will be out any time soon (as tesla doesnt really have good history with deadlines)..to me eliminating the 75k car and tesla will try to push someone to the 95k car is insane.. someone down the thread said they thought the 100d will dramatically come down in price…hopeso…