Performance hacking

Performance hacking

I am not sure if it has been discussed elsewhere...

I was just wondering. What is the real technical difference between standard and performance. Besides the seats, carbon fiber, red line, spoiler, etc, there is a difference in performance (pun intended).
If you compare both cars, correct me if I am wrong, there is no real difference. They have the same battery pack, engine, gear box, etc. The difference must be in the drive inverter. If I recall correct, this is software driven. And software ... can be hacked. So I have two questions. What would be the real technical difference between both cars. And if the difference is software, how good is the security ...

I was just wondering :-) ...

Whity Whiteman | June 10, 2012

cool, buy the 60Kwh and switch to performance! )

BYT | June 10, 2012

"Model S Performance takes electric performance to the next level. Equipped with the 85 kilowatt-hour battery and a high performance drive inverter, Model S Performance accelerates to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. If driven the same way as Model S, both cars achieve the same efficiency thanks to the unique powertrain design. Model S Performance features unique exterior accents and an interior replete with Alcantara and carbon fiber accents." So is has the "a high performance drive inverter" which the standard does not. I asked in person about this as well thinking just getting a 85KW battery down the road would get me that 4.4 with some other tweaking but there is more to it then that.

Reference link here:

Timo | June 10, 2012

It's also possible that there are some differences in the motor and cabling into battery pack to allow greater current draw from it.

Whity Whiteman | June 10, 2012

tesla is not the company, who sells a "software upgrade" with a 10K pricetag! Keep in mind, they are cool, innovative and fair so far!!

BYT | June 10, 2012

@Whity Whiteman, I even asked if it was possible to later add the high performance drive inverter after taking delivery of the car and was told it wouldn't be something they can upgrade later. What you buy now it what you keep so that was my motivation for going Performance from day 1!

Whity Whiteman | June 10, 2012

Did You ever changed the mainboard in an appleLaptop? -)

BYT | June 10, 2012

Not on an Apple but a Windblows based laptop, yes! :)

murraypetera | June 10, 2012

I was told at the NY store that the electronics were beefed up to handle the difference in current.

I was also told that if you got the base battery and at some point in the future got the a larger pack that you would get all the performance of the larger battery. The Motor, inverter, etc are identical in the three models.

This would imply that there is a software control to limit the current draw based off the battery pack size so you don't blow the batteries or decrease their life radically.

Timo | June 10, 2012

Three models as in 40, 60 and 85kWh normal Model S. Performance is different. It does have different inverter and I suspect quite a bit other differences too (motor and wiring I suspect).

BYT | June 10, 2012

@Timo, steven.maes originally asked the difference between the normal and Performance Model S so I was answering accordingly but yes, I believe you are correct about the Standard in 40, 60 and 85kWh however that you can get those minor bumps just by upgrading the battery.

jackhub | June 10, 2012

When Tesla announced the performance version, I believe they mentioned that it would require upgrading the electronics from 800 to 1200 amps.

stephen.kamichik | June 10, 2012

I believe the performance model has a larger motor as well.

Brian H | June 10, 2012

I thought the motor was "hand wound", as in the Sportster.

TikiMan | June 10, 2012

No offence, however, please realize anything technically serious that you do to your S will likely void the warrantee, and decrease the value for resale.

I know, as I have modified a few fast cars in my life, and never was able to sell them for anything remotely close to what it cost me to modify them.

Do yourself a favor, if you want the peformance version, spnd the extra cash, as it will be worth it in the long run, trust me!

Mark K | June 11, 2012

The premise here is incorrect. The analogy to hacking an ICE car is inapplicable.

In an ICE car you can reprogram the engine management firmware to alter things like spark timing, fuel injection timing, fuel flow rate, and many other parameters to trade fuel economy for power.

An EV is much simpler - the more current you put through the motor, the more torque you get, and you get it pretty much instantly since electricity flows at the speed of light.

The only way to increase torque in an EV is to increase the current. Two things affect this:

1. Power supply (bigger battery + bigger power supply electronics)

2. A motor wound to accept more current without blowing up.

To alter these, you need to change the hardware - not just software. Firmware hacks will not achieve this.

Only beefier drive semiconductors, inductors and hotter motor windings can up the performance.

TM told the truth when they said you should order the model that fits your needs, since upgrades are not doable short of wholesale replacement of parts of the hardware.

You will not be able to install software later that makes up the difference.

Sudre_ | June 11, 2012

What Mark said. I can not make my dishwasher work better just by plugging it into a 240 volt outlet instead of 120 volt. I've seen drills and equipment wired into the wrong power source. Yes they do run faster.... for a few short seconds then all the smoke comes out. It's very hard to get that smoke back in.

BYT | June 11, 2012

LOL@Sudre_ I saw Tim the Tool Man Taylor do it on his show every week! ;) Put the smoke back in, reminds me of the last amplifier I bought open box from Best Buy!!

dahtye | June 13, 2012

I recall reading in the MVPA fine print that we agree to NOT modify the car in any way. I think this is to ensure that TM is legally protected in case someone gets hurt due to a modification and would also ensure that they have legal grounds to void the warranty.

Brian H | June 14, 2012

Then they should make available factory-approved packages of smoke, with built-in re-injectors. >:(

Teoatawki | June 14, 2012

Well, we agree not to tamper with it, save only to the extent permitted by law.

That wording is included in the "Vehicle Design" section. We're not permitted to even attempt to reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile...

This is about protecting their intellectual property, not warranty.

The warranty and limitations of warranty sections don't mention modifications.

re_burkett | September 9, 2014

What if we were dealing with a salvage vehicle with no warantee. The sky is the limit... Take 2 battery packs and mount them into a modified frame. Beef up the wiring, modify the motor winding, modify the controller and software.. :) 160 kwh hot rod. 160 mph top speed would be nice. I don't think the guys that started the NHRA worried about a warantee as a deterrent. The leap is here. Its all about pushing the EV to the next level.
If there were no guys in garages trying to make their cars faster every weekend through the last 80 years, the ICE would not be where it is today. We must do the same with EVs. Tesla should be in NASCAR and Formula 1 and winning...
This may be a fundamentalist view - you must have the the hot rod spirit in this.

carolinagobo | September 10, 2014

The only difference is the inverter, motor and battery are the same.

AmpedRealtor | September 10, 2014

I don't think your typical garage mechanic is qualified to work on a Model S, unless he or she wants to kill themselves. Modifying anything as complex as this would require not just extensive knowledge of programming, but also of electronics, electricity, and probably would need to have the same level of knowledge and understanding as one of Tesla's engineers.

logicalthinker | September 10, 2014

Definitely a different body of knowledge.

carlk | September 10, 2014

Saleen would have done something more than just gear ratio change if it's so easy to be done.

Red Sage ca us | September 10, 2014

Saleen claimed to make changes to the intake for cooling systems, and increase the capability of the pumps for coolant, in order to make the FourSixteen a better track car. I'm rather doubtful that changes of this sort could be made without ruining some aspect of the car's durability. Track cars are meant for relatively short runs of multiple laps or perhaps a few hundred miles before being torn down and rebuilt. That could end up being ridiculously expensive maintenance if it were necessary on this car.

What really gets me about the change to the brakes is that if they could make modifications to the drivetrain, adding limited slip, and reprogramming the ABS and traction control, they should have been able to modify the Regen settings as well. A stronger Regen would make physical braking a bit less necessary, and give the the car more of a 'downshift on lift' feeling when approaching low speed corners. Sure the reduction in weight is cool by going with carbon fiber, but if you have the Regen action at full tilt its kind of a waste to have such a high expense on a component you will rarely use in regular driving.

I'm also concerned that there has been no mention if Saleen's modifications allow the car to be monitored or upgraded remotely by Tesla Motors.