Confirmed: 5.15 Update Does Not Allow Battery to Accept Additional Energy

Confirmed: 5.15 Update Does Not Allow Battery to Accept Additional Energy

Earlier I had posted this:

Seems to me that a simple way to answer the question about whether or not the 325 mile range increase is a "real" capacity addition or just a "recalibration" is as follows:
1) Get a notification that the software is available
2) Defer the upgrade until later
3) Charge to 100%
4) Do the upgrade
5) See if the car charges an extra 15 miles after the upgrade

Then I got the upgrade notification so I did the above.

I fully charged to 309/310 (car car never quite decide).

I did the update to 5.15. While it was updating it dropped to 308 or a bit less. As soon as upgrade was complete it showed 319. So without any additional electrons flowing in, it jumped more than 10 miles.

That says there is no additional “top end” capacity. I cannot speak to the other two hypothesis of a) releasing bottom end capacity or b) greater efficiency makes same energy go farther. But experiment complete.

Bighorn | 11 mars 2019

One drawback to this technique is that it hasn't been unusual in the past to see a temporary bump in range after a FW update regardless of its intent. Usually short-lived.

jjgunn | 11 mars 2019

Also, just because the screen displays "325" doesn't necessarily mean the pack has been "uncorked" (more kWh) Still have to test for 325 miles

jimglas | 11 mars 2019

no change to the battery, just change in the range calculation to reflect the actual range of the battery. Was previously limited, I suspect to keep people from changing from dual motor to RWD | 11 mars 2019

The only way to test this would be to drive from 100% to 0% in identical conditions both before and after the upgrade and measure the miles driven in each case. My guess is there is no extra actual miles, but just a recalibration of the range indicator.

What supports my theory, is the original Model 3 RWD EPA rating submission had the range at 335. I suspect they dropped it to 310 to be both conservative until Tesla had more real-world data and perhaps to allow the AWD to come in at the same number.

Stinnett | 11 mars 2019

I seem to be on the same "no updates" list. 2018.50.6 for me. However, today the AutoPilot was turned on while my car was in the parking lot at school ... nice drive home as a result. As for the range increase, I have the dual-drive version and I'm not sure that one will get any boost. I'm rather sure Mr. jimglas is right -- the battery won't charge more, the car will instead indicate better range because of a more realistic calculation of same, based on real-world experience.

spooky action | 11 mars 2019

I think what Texas Bob is suggesting is to charge up to 100% pre-FW upgrade, then upgrade firmware, then try to charge again and see if the car will take more electrons. If it does, then the battery was uncorked; if not, you know it's just a software change to reflect the larger charge capacity, which is what I suspect it is.

JustSaying | 11 mars 2019

Remember this...

Rt002k | 11 mars 2019

You could have more capacity without it taking more charge if they're giving us more access to the "bottom of the battery" reserve.

JustSaying | 11 mars 2019

We have a winner!!!

TexasBob | 11 mars 2019

What spooky action said is correct. That is what I was proposing. Would let us know if the battery takes more electrons...

But Rt002k makes a good point on the bottom of battery. So this experiment would answer the question "is there added capacity" but not the question "are we able to dip deeper into the reserve"

Still worth doing for those of you actually getting updates.

gmr6415 | 11 mars 2019

You would think someone who monitors the circuit used to charge the car via dedicated meter would be able to see the difference.

rdavis | 11 mars 2019

Or it could be that the software allows for the car to be more efficient with the exact same battery... which is much more likely than them uncorking the battery.

BlueController | 11 mars 2019

So I got the update (2019.5.15) last night on my LR RWD and charged it to my normal 80% and it completed the charge at 257mi, used to be 251mi. However I did some quick calculations and....

Old calculations: 1% = 3.10 mi 80% = 248 mi
So the fact that I was getting a completed charge of 251 mi before the update meant I was getting a complete charge at 80%+, almost at 81% (248 mi +3.10 mi = approx 251 mi)

New calculations: 1% = 3.25 mi 80% = 260 mi
I got 257 mi for a completed charge so I was getting the -80%, closer to 79% (260 mi - 3.25 mi = approx 257 mi). However, when I was driving to work today. I was switching between the mileage and percentage display and saw that it wasn't until around 252-253 that it showed 79%

Before, many updates back, I used to charge to 245-248 at 80% and after a few updates it started to charge to 251 at 80%. So who knows *should shrugs* whats going on at the moment. But granted this is just my experience and I could be the only one

TexasBob | 11 mars 2019

See experiment update above

gcklo | 11 mars 2019

I got contradicting evidence. Miles jumped by a few immediately after the update. But then charging rate is still 28 miles / hr for 30A (which should have been higher if it is just a recalibration.

So, still no idea

sroh | 11 mars 2019

It's the exact same battery in the RWD as in the AWD. The fact that the RWD is getting additional range while the AWD and P are not makes it pretty obvious to me that it's just a recalibration to the initial EPA rating, and not an uncorking of additional battery or somehow getting more range through software..

gcklo | 11 mars 2019

Or with the increase in battery power, AWD will finally get closed to 310 miles (definitely not originally)

czamara | 11 mars 2019

If it was a recalibration without any actual increase in battery capacity, the rated Wh/mile would have to change in order to show more rated miles from the same capacity. But it didn’t! The rated Wh/mile is still around 240. This means to get a 325 mile range, the battery capacity would have to be almost 78 kWh instead of just over 74 kWh at 310 miles. So it looks like the update is allowing use of more reserve battery capacity.

How do I know the rated Wh/mile is the same? On the energy graph the rated usage is shown with a solid line but the value is not shown. However, the value is shown for the average actual usage (dotted line). So if you can get the two lines to coincide, you can read the rated Wh/mile value. I discovered this morning (post-update) that at 239 and 240Wh/mile the dotted line exactly overlaps the solid “rated usage” line, same as before.

So even though the car now shows 325 miles at 100% charge, it does so at the same rated usage of 240 Wh/mile. Therefore this is a real increase!

diaphone | 12 mars 2019

I don't think all of the speculative options being discussed are valid. In particular, a software update obviously cannot install more batteries and the idea of "unlocking" heretofore-unused cells makes no sense from a battery health perspective, so "actual increase in battery capacity" is not even a possibility. The only real options I see are: 1. Recalibration based on collected user data, to make the estimated mileage better reflect real-world, model-specific results (RWD and AWD estimates previously being the same suggests this is likely). 2. A reflection of genuine range increase from efficiency gains in power management made by the update (seems less likely since AWD models should see any benefits related to the rear motor efficiency or any other common electronics). 3. Range shown was deliberately conservative, to prevent people from running the car dead (like how "E" on a gas gauge is a lie), and this arbitrary safety margin has been decreased (again, why would this only change RWD models). 4. Some combination of the above.

My bet is #1. It's the only explanation that makes sense to me w.r.t. why only the RWD model's figure changed.

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

That technique of looking at the energy graph has not been accurate in the past.

I don’t see any compelling conclusions in this thread and lots of dubious logic.

neylus | 12 mars 2019

sroh speaks good wampum.

hokiegir1 | 12 mars 2019

@diaphone - actually, unlocking additional reserve cells would be beneficial from a battery health perspective. It's better for them to be cycled periodically than to remain at 100% in reserve indefinitely. Same idea as not charging the car to 100% and letting it sit for an extended time.

jamespompi | 12 mars 2019

I'm glad this is confirmed... Pretty sure Elon said in the 35k model 3 call that it was a combination of efficiency improvements and unlocking some reserve. I agree with others that the reason they didnt change AWD range is probably because most wernt getting the rated range, so its possible that theyll see a real world range improvement. Time will tell. Start at 20:00

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

What exactly has anybody confirmed?!

Bulldawg | 12 mars 2019

Ha. Somebody in this thread will end up being correct and will claim to have known all along. I don't see where anyone has done all the necessary work to know for certain.

bpaul | 12 mars 2019

@sroh, and probably many others, beat me to this observation.

OTOH, since they're clearing tinkering with the energy output from the batteries to the motors by adding that 5%, it could be that they've changed something that makes the vehicles more efficient.

bpaul's bases status: covered.

FWIW, I've got a LR AWD Non-P and after I updated this morning, 70% read 218 instead of the usual 214-215.

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

sroh’s assumption is not sound to me. Of course they could have partitioned the batteries differently between models.

stevehendler | 12 mars 2019

Tesla can allow the battery charge to drop a bit more before they brick the car. I think that is one explanation. Another would be that they are allowing the car to charge to a higher SOC. The reason the AWD didn't change is because it was already overrated. Actual range is below 310 mi for the AWD.

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

You’ve seen the EPA data sheet for AWD?

Magic 8 Ball | 12 mars 2019

Is it at all possible it has nothing to do with the battery but they figured out other parts of the system (I.E. thermal management, motor controllers, etc.) were able to be tweaked and optimized?

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

Not likely since the disparity has been present since day 1.

Magic 8 Ball | 12 mars 2019

Oh well, back to eating popcorn on this one.

TexasBob | 12 mars 2019

FWIW, what the experiment confirmed is that a full battery before the update cannot take any additional energy after the update. Ergo, no additional "top-end" capacity was unlocked. (Not a surprise to me but good to have it confirmed.)

All other changes that might contribute to actual additional range remain possibilities.

beaver | 12 mars 2019

A clue: since updating to 2019.5.15 my max charge rate on a dedicated circuit at home dropped from 31 to 30 mph with no change in power. This suggests that more battery was unlocked so that charging is slower. I will do a 10% test and measure kWh both for discharge at flat highway speeds and charging and report back later.

beaver | 12 mars 2019

@TexasBob can you update the post title? This is best practice to avoid misleading readers. I think you agree it is not confirmed that the change was purely recalibration. I think some battery was unlocked. You did a great job showing that more battery wasn’t unlocked at top end. We need to confirm the bottom end .Thanks

hokiegir1 | 12 mars 2019

@TexasBob is that really confirmed, or could it be that any cells that were unlocked were already fully charged (as you would expect reserve cells to be --- otherwise, what good is a reserve if it isn't "stocked") and that's why they couldn't take additional after the update?

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

I never expected that the battery would charge to a higher level so the premise is flawed and the title is fanciful logic.

Bighorn | 12 mars 2019

Your observation is confusing because if the power is indeed unchanged, it suggests a higher Wh/rated mile which is the opposite of what you’d expect if there were an efficiency increase to boost the range.

Mike UpNorth_ | 12 mars 2019

Good thread!

beaver | 12 mars 2019

@big yes I am also confused :) since last year my charge rate has been steady at 31 mph, all the sudden it dropped after the update. Let me charge a few more days from lower SOC and see if it holds.

PhillyGal | 12 mars 2019

Don't you guys and gals ever see a magician and just enjoy the show without wondering how?

I'm happy to simply be amazed and move along.

ICEMELT | 12 mars 2019

I think its unlocking of extra reserve battery if at all true OR it could just be illusion of getting extra mileage. I usually keep it on % indicator.

I doubt that software update will make other parts more energy efficient to give you extra energy.

njchillie | 12 mars 2019

@diaphone Look at the history of EPA ratings on the Model 3 when it was first introduced and you’ll see that while all of your options are reasonable, the correct answer is a version of 3, though the reason was to make it seem like the LR RWD and LR AWD had the same range, when in fact they never did. So, Tesla went with the slightly lower range of the AWD version to normalize the two and make the deciding factor for customers merely AWD versus RWD, without regard to range.

тесла3 | 12 mars 2019

@PhillyGal - exactly!

TexasBob | 12 mars 2019

Okay I updated headline to make it more accurate "Confirmed: 5.15 Update Does Not Allow Battery to Accept Additional Energy"

madkim23 | 12 mars 2019

1. If it’s not a real range increase, why select 325 and not the tested range of 334? To limit competition with the 335 Model S?

2. Why enhance the RWD in this way if Tesla was trying to shift buyers into AWD and P by listing them all at 310?Doesn’t this new change, whether marketing or real make the RWD more attractive?

TeslaMarque | 12 mars 2019

It doesn’t really matter to me, as I have a P3D, but does anyone else find it very strange Tesla wouldn’t just clarify this themselves for all their customers of the LR RWD Model 3?

I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t just clarify this themselves, and not allow inaccurate, misleading information to fester online. For me, there is no reason to not tell the truth as 310 miles blows away all the completion already. Why make people think it actually went up in range by 15 real world miles if it’s not true? If it is true, why not confirm it? The fact they’re not clarifying this leads me to believe they just played around with the numbers. I hope I am wrong.

Rt002k | 12 mars 2019

@madkim - perhaps 310 was too close to the MR?

finman100 | 12 mars 2019

...and in practice, one wouldn't ordinarily run things all the way down to zero miles, zero charge. Yes, having a visible buffer (miles or percentage) that gives better peace of mind to make it to the next Supercharger is important for the long haulers. But, really, the "pushing" it to the very end of your usable range is something even the car itself will warn you about.

(HAL voice) "now Dave, u may have 325 miles of range now, but I can't let you run that down to zero. Just use enough to get to the next charging stop".

I dunno, the micro in-depth analysis seems pointless. But i see how these types of things really get people going. I suppose I'm glad there are people who sweat these details to want to know. Many, I think, would take it as "oh, that's great, and this didn't cost me anything extra? I'm down with that!"

More road trips with less travel/range anxiety is awesome.

jamespompi | 12 mars 2019

Just need to do that mirror delete mod and then you'll get like 340 miles of range.