Tesla's demon-haunted cars in Irma's path get a temporary battery-life boost


So this Tesla situation is exactly like that except that Atari would know you soldered that and they can get you arrested for doing it.


I’m not a fan of DRM, but we are entering new territory. It sounds like you’re suggesting that owners and hobbyists be allowed to alter the software/firmware of self driving vehicles.

If I have a few drinks and decide, “I should be allowed to drive my car because I own it”, I’m not considering the serious safety issues with that. Most owners are not qualified to alter the programming of a self driving car which could cause serious harm to the driver and others they share the road with.

Honestly, if the choice were up to you, what would you decide: Prevent self driving car owners from altering it’s code, or allow them to alter it based on the principal that they should be able to do what they want with what they own?

Edit: I’m totally against DRM, but I think arguing we should be able to alter code in self driving cars will be self defeating.


Funny thing is, we have signed up for a Tesla Model 3 (I’d guess 2019 delivery) but never even considered a Chevrolet. Many purchasing decisions are irrational.

When product capabilities come without any marginal costs, markets provide perverse incentives to companies to deliberately break some of their finished products to offer a price-differentiated spectrum of products to their customers.

Why perverse? Without incentives to increase profit, the product wouldn’t be available in the first place.

And frankly, I appreciate price discrimination.

First, Cory didn’t want me to fly (discount tickets with lousy seating are evil), and now he doesn’t want me to be able to buy the cheap versions of certain goods (discount versions of zero MP goods are evil). Hell, I needed that Intel processor with the FP unit disabled, and no way in hell could I have afforded the full version.

Look, I get I don’t have enough money (by North American standards) for the good quality stuff. (The ‘cheapest’ Tesla is way out of my league.) But these posts castigating companies for serving my market segment are getting me down.

What’s next? It’s immoral for drug companies or textbook suppliers to sell low cost versions to third world countries?

Like everything else, I get how DMCA and others can and are abused. But Cory keeps picking on practices that make it possible to price discriminate in order to serve markets like mine (and those much poorer than myself) that would be shut out altogether.

From a human welfare perspective, I sometimes feel like he’s fighting for philosophical correctness that benefits a small number of rich Westerners over the messy and sometimes abused compromises that have brought some form of gains to almost the entire world.


Counterpoint: Apparently the cost of the 60 KWh model is sufficient to cover the 75 KWh version with a healthy profit margin unless the 60 is intended to be a loss leader, so why not just knock $5000 off the 75 KWh version and let the driver choose whether to not fully drain the battery?


I’m really coming to abhor Tesla/Musk related threads… they always seem to bring out the glibertarian-bro apologists.


Also, it helps buyers who are doubting whether they should buy the 60 kWh version or the 75 kWh one. They can safely buy the cheaper one. If they experience range trouble they can upgrade. If it works out fine, they are cheaper off.



Some folks are willing to buy a house subject to an HOA and that’s certainly a restriction on their property rights, but they do it for reasons they feel are sound: less freedom to do what they want with their property in exchange for their neighbors being subject to the same property. They get some value out of the deal, so they take the deal.

Folks who buy lower-mileage Teslas are hardly some class I need to worry about getting the short end of the stick.

Also, Blackstone’s statement on property was anything but a statement of what all property rights are supposed to be, just what they would be in a state of perfection. Blackstone largely reduced to writing existing English law, which had so many existing exceptions to this statement of property rights that he could not possibly have thought it to be a statement of either what is or what ought to be in property law. Blackstone said, “that sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe” yes, but only as a way of then going on to explaining things like easements, fishing rights, mining etc etc.


I’m not sure this is an entirely fair comparison. Intel disabling math coprocessors wasn’t some software trick, the traces were literally destroyed making the coprocessor block vestigial. They typically did this by recycling higher end chips that didn’t meet specs rather than binning them. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

What Tesla does by comparison is absolutely software fuckery but it’s nothing new in the automotive world. To save costs (which is paramount for just about any non ultra luxury auto brand where literally every penny is taken into account over tens or hundreds of thousands of units) it’s much easier and cheaper to put the same stuff in as many cars as possible and then use simple software lockouts to disable them until the customer coughs up money for the software key or a ridiculously overpriced widget.


I think I might be one of those. What the fuck are they?



@winkybber A few things… Given that most of the cases of ‘autopilot failing and killing people, OMG!!’ that we’ve heard reported turned out to be people doing stupid things and trying to escape responsibility by blaming autopilot, I would say that there is a clear cost to enabling autopilot–or certain features of it. To the extent that I think they would be safe from a ‘you were neglegent to not enable it’ standpoint. But, IANAL and courts often disagree with each other, so … :woman_shrugging:

@tekk I think I address that Tesla saves money on the 60k version by not incurring as much warranty liability as they do on the 75k version. Does that address your concern or am I misunderstanding?


if the reduced warranty was an actual motivator they why doesn’t the 75 version have an optional battery saver 60 mode option the full software limiter IS INSTALLED AND the buyer BOUGHT the more expensive version
I would expect a LOT of people WOULD USE the BATT saver MOST of the time IF offered


That’s a great idea. Given the amount of effort that people I know of have put into babying their battery I would think that would be a feature. For all I know there are tools in the UI already to do that. I don’t one one of the cars in question, so I don’t know what’s available to the driver. I’ll ask next time I chat with the one person I know who has one–they’re leasing it so they may not care.


But… Microsoft doesn’t build the computer…


Except that Volkswagen doesn’t mess with your car after you have bought it without your consent/bringing it to the garage.

Tesla can literally brick your vehicle remotely whenever the CEO wakes up wrong (or you piss him off). Or rat your trips to a whorehouse/drug den/mistress/amant/whatever out to the media/cops.

That’s a big difference.


This is actually common in test equipment industry too - e.g. oscilloscopes are sold with a lot of functionality as paid options. This used to be various physical modules - if you didn’t need it, you didn’t buy it and saved money. Today? Most options are only a software key that can cost in some cases as much as the scope itself - all the functionality is in the scope already, just disabled until you pay up.

On the other hand, Tesla has brought this to the next level by controlling your car remotely - despite owning it you can do only whatever the manufacturer pleases, otherwise they can even disable your car or make you think it is broken so that they get to charge you for “service” (no idea whether they actually do this but there is nothing really preventing them from doing it). That is the real fuckery, not that some functionality is hidden or a paid extra.


And if it did? If it started it’s own hardware manufacturing branch? Would that significantly change the moral calculus?


Well, it isn’t disconnected to costs. The 90 and 100 kWhr batteries are physically different products, because the battery is a significant cost. It is just that the incremental cost from 60 to 75 kWhr is less than the development, tooling, and inventory management costs of having two products. But the cost difference between a 90 kWhr pack and a 60 is enough that it makes sense for them to be different hardware.

While it is certainly true that the 75 kWhr battery buyers are “subsidizing” the 60 kWhr users, they are presumably benefiting from the greater economy of scale of the combined products, and probably still getting it cheaper than if Tesla had made a separate physical higher end model and charged them accordingly.

Thats the thing. I get that this feels icky. But in modern products in markets with competition, this sort of artificial product segmentation is usually beneficial for (almost) everyone. People buying at the low end of the market get cheaper goods because they don’t have to pay the entire development costs alone. People buying at the middle of the market get better economy of scale. People buying at the top end (like a Tesla P100D for $140k) are paying astronomical margins – but they are getting a product that is better engineered than any product engineered for the handful of people who could afford such a high priced product. Go take a look at the weird and awkward “features” of a Ferrari or Lamborghini, especially one a couple of decades old. And in fact, the newer supercars are more reliable and better engineered because they take a lot of common parts from mainstream manufacturers.

When a monopoly does this kind of stuff, I get a lot more worried. Without competition forcing them to leave most of the economic benefits to their customers (even unevenly distributed), they will just jack up the prices for anything they can get someone to pay for, But Tesla is nowhere near this point.


Yup, or you hack the firmware.