Tesla Unlocks Full Ludicrous Power After Small Claims Court Filing By Model S Owner


Tesla Model S P90D once again gets full performance on demand at all times!

Teslas now get Ludicrous without Launch Mode

Tesla created quite a stir among its more performance-oriented owners when it decided to lower power output of some vehicles after launch mode was used a certain number of times. Meant, reportedly, to minimize wear on drivetrain components, the move was unpopular. People like their power. They want every kilowatt they can get and don’t want to jump through a lot of hoops to get it. Now, after months of effort by at least one individual, they can.

Launch Mode Details

Aware of the pushback, Tesla moved to address the situation, saying, in January, that it would remove power restrictions. And they did, mostly, though you had to go through launch mode to get all the Ludicrous amps. This was not good enough for one Arizona owner who, after failing to reach a negotiated settlement for the loss of Ludicrous without signing a nondisclosure agreement, filed a complaint with his state’s Attorney General Civil Litigation Consumer Protection and Advocacy section. To detail his efforts, he started a thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum.

It’s here that we learn that when Ludicrous was restored, it didn’t put out quite as much power as previously. Hence, some owners were upset that the extra power they had paid for was still being held back. For example, some P90D cars, depending on which of three versions of the battery they had, were “only” putting out 500 kW instead of the 510 kW they’d been capable of. One owner negotiated with Tesla to have the Ludicrous mode removed from his car in exchange, we imagine, for a full or partial refund of what they had paid for the option, going through a California Dispute Settlement Program (CDSP).

In the meantime, our original complainant, “azdryheat“, after learning that Tesla had not responded to the notice from the Arizona Attorney General, decided to take the issue to small claims court as well. This they would learn, would cause the AG to put the case on hold, since it might be resolved in court. Tesla also contacted him directly to inquire about what he wanted exactly. According to azdryheat, he told them, “…if they restored everyone’s car, I would drop all the complaints and they didn’t need to pay me anything,” and “… if they were not willing to do that, I would not want to sign a NDA for any settlement since all owners needed to be corrected for this error.”

Finally, meeting with a couple Tesla employees in small claims court, azdryheat learned that a possible resolution was in the offing and the judge allowed the case to go ahead to give the automaker time to implement it. Now, just a couple weeks from that meeting, the company has rolled out an update that unleashes all available amps without having to go through launch mode.

In the words of Tesla President of Sales and Service Jon McNeill, published on a separate thread discussing the output of Ludicrous mode,

I’d like to provide a quick update on this topic. Some of you with a P90D and Ludicrous acceleration mentioned that you did not want to use Launch Mode to simultaneously activate maximum battery performance. We’ve listened and are happy to tell you that for those that wish to do so, you can again enable maximum battery performance independently from Launch Mode, ensuring that you have maximum flexibility in how you use your car. 

Our protagonist has had a chance to try their car out with the new update is happy with the new version, as well as being quite conciliatory toward the company. They are, after all, still a fan who wants Tesla to succeed. The moral to this story can probably be summed up in a single TV catch phrase: “Don’t take the law into your own hands: you take ’em to court.”

Source: Tesla Motors Club, Electrek

Categories: Tesla

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38 Comments on "Tesla Unlocks Full Ludicrous Power After Small Claims Court Filing By Model S Owner"

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“Meant, reportedly, to minimize wear on drivetrain components…”

This is probably still true, but Tesla is likely hoping most users won’t overtax the system with abusive launches. They’re playing the odds.

0-60 in 2.x seconds is exceptionally rough on hardware.

How wld one know Model S or X has been abused if Tesla can’t or won’t tell one? Invasion of privacy? I smell more lawsuits…

And the most ironic thing is that Teslas are performance cars.

Not really. Though they perform well, they aren’t race cars.

Performance cars are also high maintenance cars.


@SN, you’re not keeping up morale.

He’s not really adhering to his stated mission either, maybe there’s a moral there.



Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the woods to hunts morels.

Interesting story and another indicator of why Tesla is winning. They respond to complaints, maybe not all, and not in a timely manner, but compared to other car companies they are miles ahead in that department.

I wouldn’t say that Tesla has anything to brag about here, since they didn’t actually resolve the situation until someone forced them to with a lawsuit.

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “Tesla has anything to brag about here…”

The Tesla response to me reads as very conciliatory in tone … not bragging.

Quite right, I improperly conflated what Tesla said with what Tesla fans here are saying. Thank you for pointing out my fallacy.

I should have said “We Tesla fans don’t have anything to brag about here, since Tesla did not fully resolve the situation until prompted or forced to by a lawsuit.”

Sine this was a lawsuit, I think they were legally obligated to respond.

If people want to trash their $140,000 car, so let them do it. Sadly, I’ll not ever consider buying a P edition Tesla anything used. Why? They’ve been thrashed and thrashed and re-thrashed. Look to YouTube, and these are the selling points extracting money from these people’s pockets. Good for Tesla – to gain reputation as the quickest roller coaster ride out there —- and bad for Tesla as they recall thousands of their cars to put new drivetrains in the cars on warranty. This type of PR is a two-edged sword. It sells cars. Now, the safeguards Tesla imposed on it’s products have to be removed so dingbats can impress girls at the office and friends with INSTANT TORQUE. My faith in human nature is oft challenged – I see how companies that develop technologies like fast electric cars or Autopilot ( another poorly-chosen product name – like Bolt and Volt ) will see customers abuse such things to the nth degree. The man who was watching a movie in his Tesla when it hit a truck was clearly misusing and abusing the technology as is the person suing Tesla so he can beat the crap out of his… Read more »

A large percentage of them will likely see little-to-no abuse. They’re bought by people who are sued to buying the most expensive version of everything. Doesn’t mean they’re actually race the cars.

Per the NHTSA report he was not in fact watching a movie.

The best used buy out there will be the “plain” 90D. The non P version does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and still has 285 miles range.

I’ve seen some in the low 70’s, so we will have to wait another year or more for the price to get down closer to 50K.

OTOH the Model 3 does 0-60 in 5.1 AND has 310 miles range for 56,500 loaded NEW. and if I order soon I will get it for 49 with the tax break.

Boy that’s hard to pass up.

But Mercedes doesn’t sell a 600hp car a d limits hp to 590hp one year after the sale happened.

Sure cars are limited, that is ok if you bought them so. The. You agreed to the limitation during the sales process. But if someone else changed your car to be worse (regarding power), not on your order, after the sale already happened, is simple stealing.

“If people want to trash their $140,000 car, so let them do it.”

But Tesla also throw out a bunch of warranty claims like unlimited mileage on the battery and powertrain for 8 years.

So, someone can “trash” their cars for 8 years and Tesla still have to back it up!

How do other manufacturers which sell performance cars handle their warranties regarding owners pushing the limit of their vehicle’s performance envelope? If an owner comes in with transmission, brake, engine or suspension problems for warranty repairs and the tear-down and/or computer scans show evidence of hot-rodding, is there a problem? Is there some sort of limitation in the warranty agreement?

How about Tesla? Was there something in their warranty limiting Tesla’s warranty liability if owners took their vehicle to their performance limits and things started breaking?

This could have been a “rookie” car manufacturer’s mistake – to sell a performance upgrade without specific contractual use limitations, then not limit warranty liability for using the high-performance features, then try to reduce unexpected warranty claim costs by retroactively limiting the performance feature via involuntary OTA software updates.

Agreed. Rookie error. Hopefully Tesla will learn from this and adjust warranties accordingly. No car is invincible to abuse.

Thank you. Your question goes to what I think the heart of this issue is:

How do makers of high-performance gasmobiles handle the situation? Do they put physical limits on their high-performance cars, to prevent drivers from abusing them to the point that the engine breaks or explodes? Or do they sell them with the ability to “redline” the engine, while warning the customer that doing so repeatedly or for long may blow the engine?

I’m not a gearhead, but I think at least sometimes, or perhaps even usually, it’s the latter.

Seems to me that the issue here is that Tesla initially allows their cars to be abused — and, arguably, even encourages such abuse, altho perhaps not any more than makers of high-performance gasmobiles do — but then imposes software limits if you do it too often, which is not how the makers of high-performance gasmobiles do things.

That is, I think it’s not that what Tesla is doing is necessarily “wrong” in any respect. It’s just different, and therefore it may not be what people expect.

Tesla’s “performance” is almost entirely about acceleration off the line. Something easily accessible. So, P90D battery messages were, I believe, a byproduct of doing that too often. Other “track” cars, in my (somewhat deep) experience with Porsche, get covered so long as they aren’t routinely racing for time, or are coming from “driver’s ed” type track events. They’re reasonable, even with a few thousand track-only miles. If you sell, and warranty a car you brag about doing 10.1’s, and 2.5 seconds, or having 692hp, I’m in the camp that says it should be capable of these things, and you should stand by it for the duration of the warranty. Otherwise, disclose things like “launch counters”, or that a special tummy rub and gum chew are required to access the full power. You can’t fail to deliver a car that does not meet your spec, “blame the sunroof”, or tell the guy who actually tries 3 dozen 3 second launches he’s out of luck, *after* the 37th (FWIW, I don’t know what the count# was). I’m saddened by how Tesla initially played this, but give just a little slack that it is so easy, and quiet, to just mash the throttle.… Read more »

“If you sell, and warranty a car you brag about doing 10.1’s, and 2.5 seconds, or having 692hp, I’m in the camp that says it should be capable of these things, and you should stand by it for the duration of the warranty.”

Personally, I agree. I think Tesla should limit its cars to a performance level they can use repeatedly without damage.

But clearly Tesla is getting attention and sales by aiming at the high-acceleration market. Clearly Tesla’s opinion on this matter is different than mine.

And of course, it’s not my income which would be riding on the line if Tesla were to cut back on the acceleration and were to lose some sales as a result.

There are some other things that Tesla has done which I think were downright stupid, like trying to deny warranty coverage for “bricked” Roadsters. This isn’t one of those. I don’t think Tesla is stupid for doing this; I just think it’s inadvisable.

It seems to me that they should have written a limit into the warranty rather than putting a hard limit into the software. Blowing up an engine is a normal part of drag racing, the costs of blowing up the car is born by the owner. What does Dodge do with the Hellcat or the Demon? Those cars are aimed at drag racers, I can’t imagine that they come with the same warranty as an ordinary Dodge.

Tesla created Ludicrous mode as a marketing stunt, they obviously weren’t thinking that people would really want to use it. But it turns out people really do want to drag race Tesla’s, they should be able to do that if they want but they shouldn’t expect Tesla to buy them a new battery when the wreck the old one.

“Tesla created Ludicrous mode as a marketing stunt, they obviously weren’t thinking that people would really want to use it. But it turns out people really do want to drag race Tesla’s, they should be able to do that if they want but they shouldn’t expect Tesla to buy them a new battery when the wreck the old one.” Maybe. Or maybe Tesla thinks that the average buyer of a Tesla car isn’t a gearhead, and shouldn’t be expected to understand that if you repeatedly push the performance of a high-performance car, that will permanently damage it, and that this is outside the warranty. Maybe Tesla thinks most of its buyers want a practical car and/or a family car, and will only rarely use the “Launch” mode or otherwise push the acceleration limits of the car. Maybe Tesla thinks that electronically limiting the performance if it’s pushed frequently, is a better solution than letting the driver continue to push the car until the powertrain is significantly damaged. Maybe they think that’s better than facing a very angry buyer who is told that his repeated uses of “Launch” mode have damaged the car and that Tesla refuses to pay to fix… Read more »

Despite living in LA and driving many, many thousands of miles every year, I have yet to see a Tesla even break the speed limit much less use “launch mode”. Yet I regularly see Challengers, Chargers, Mustangs, etc. and every version of AMG vehicles (especially that hideous G Wagon) driving like bats from hell. So who are these people that ‘abuse’ their Model S?

True, it seems to me that most S drivers are old people.

“So who are these people that ‘abuse’ their Model S?”

A lot of them post videos to YouTube. Googling [tesla model s drag race] and selecting “video” search, I get “About 271,000 results”.

(Please note I did not claim that all those videos are posted by people abusing their Tesla cars. But a lot of them are.)

Now, I wonder how many of those cars will end up with warranty claims on battery and/or power train in the next 5 years…

Well, if Tesla winds up either changing the wording of its warranty as a result, or else it cuts back on the acceleration performance level of its cars**, then we’ll know there were enough additional warranty claims that Tesla felt the added expense.

**Which I expect to happen only after hell freezes over.

It is good that Tesla finally agrees to.

Now, I wonder if anyone is going to question the limit/cap on supercharging. Tesla marketed the Model S as “supercharge” all you want and as much as you want back in the days. Now, it is “limiting” the speed to protect battery if it is used too often. That sounds reasonable. But will someone raise a flag on that?

Well of course, in the USA, famously anyone can sue anyone for anything.

But I question that anybody could actually make a good case for that in court.

Tesla certainly did promise (or at least advertise) specific zero-to-sixty acceleration times for its cars. But Tesla never promised a Supercharging session could be completed in a specific timeframe, and the difference in question is only a few minutes.

Furthermore, Tesla might (I’m not sure, but it might) be able to show evidence that not limiting charging speed, in the cases where it does, would be likely to result in damage to the pack which would result in, among other things, even worse charging speed!

Some people just love to make trouble. These guys tend to die early due to hart problems.
It’s them against the rest of the world almost every day.

Worth it ?

Presumably we’ll hear no complaints about “mysterious failures” from 0.5MW enthusiasts. Please.

What an utterly moronic waste of time (including the court’s), money and effort. So, you’ve gone from 500 to 510 HP. Whoop, whoop. Simply pathetic.

I hope the result includes the fact that if owners choose to override limits placed by Tesla for reliability and life that they acknowledge they are voiding their warranty.