Tesla Motors Adopts an Apple iPhone Upgrade Schedule (TSLA)

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) Model S

Some refer to Tesla Motors Inc cars as the equivalent to an iPhone on wheels.  That appears to be an accurate comparison. Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed on Sunday that he plans to unveil and release newer models of his cars with major hardware revisions every 12 to 18 months. The plan to launch cars with new hardware revs every 12 to 18 months suggest that your car will become “old fashioned” after 18 months and you’ll need to trade up your car for a newer model in order to enjoy the latest features.

Carmakers tend to be conservative in launching hardware changes in their cars. There isn’t usually much hardware difference between models based on year of production. Carmakers tend to launch an entirely new model to introduce major hardware changes in their cars. However, Tesla is taking the opposite approach of introducing major hardware upgrades in newer versions of the same model.

Tesla to release new cars every 12-18 months

Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk in a tweet posted on Sunday revealed his strategy for launching newer models of his cars. A Twitter exchange started Musk revealed that he would soon roll out Autopilot for HW2 rolling out to all HW2 cars. Someone then asked him if HW1 owners (especially Model X) can pay for an upgrade to HW2. Musk replied that HW1 owners won’t be upgrade to HW2 (even if they’ll pay for the upgrade) becuase that would require stripping down the entire car and replacing 300+ parts.

Musk went on to submit that “Tesla will never stop innovating. People are buying the wrong car if they expect this. There will be major revs every 12 to 18 months.” Musk also noted that he can’t afford to apply scarce resources on retrofitting old models with newer features found in newer models of his cars. In his words, “if we applied resources to doing super complex retrofits, our pace of innovation would drop dramatically.”

Musk’s stance makes sense because the assembly lines that churn out his cars are already maxed out trying to make enough Model S, Model X, and the mass-market Model 3 to meet his ambitious delivery targets. The firm can’t afford to delay making new cars because it wants to upgrade the hardware on older cars. In fact, it might be cheaper to buy a new car than to attempt hardware upgrades on an older Tesla.

Tesla Model S and Tesla Roadster

Tesla cars might soon become “maintenance-free” appliances

Tesla Motors’ new VP of Autopilot software, Chris Lattner also believes in the plan to make Tesla’s cars different from every other car on the road.

In a recent podcast, he revealed that he isn’t a regular car guy and  that his main interest s to turn Tesla’s car into problem-solving machines for the ‘un-car’ person.  Lattner spent 11 years leading software teams at Apple; hence, his could bring a great deal of insight into making cars more simple.

Lattner’s vision for the next gen EVs are summed up in the following words. “I’m personally not the kind of guy who loves doing oil changes and fiddling around with them. I just want something that is reliable, that works, ideally drives me everywhere I want to go, and I don’t have to think about it. It’s solving my problems, it’s not something I have to care for, feed and maintain. That’s the way I look at cars.”

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.


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