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Tesla Performance vehicles have limited power for months due to software ‘bug’

Many owners of Tesla Performance vehicles currently don’t have access to the full power of their vehicles because Tesla pushed a software update earlier this year that has “inadvertently” removed features that enable the full power output.

The automaker says that it is still working on the problem.

There have been many controversies regarding Tesla’s Performance vehicles and their max power output.

The first problem arose when some owners complained that they were losing power when pushing their vehicles on ‘Ludicrous mode’ and/or frequently using ‘Launch Mode’, which is an electronic aid to assist drivers in accelerating from a standstill.

We later learned that the reason was that Tesla was limiting the power output after frequent use of those features.

The vehicles affected ended up permanently limited until Tesla removed those limitations in an update later in 2017. They wrote in the release notes:

Software performance reductions due to frequent max power usage have been removed. These reductions had been in place to proactively protect the powertrain from wear and tear. lnstead, we will monitor the condition of the powertrain and display an alert if service is needed so we can take proactive steps, such as by replacing parts if necessary, to maintain the vehicle’s performance.

That’s when Tesla introduced the “I want my mommy” warning:

From that point on, Tesla did allow owners to access the full power of their vehicles, but only when both Launch Mode and Max Battery Power Mode are on.

It didn’t make all the owners happy, but Tesla described the solution as a compromise between allowing full power and minimizing wear of the powertrain:

“The solution introduced with the latest firmware update, which enables maximum power output anytime both Launch Mode and Max Battery Power Mode are engaged, is the best way to provide our customers with peak performance on-demand while at the same time protecting the powertrain from wear. We are also continuing to proactively monitor the condition of the powertrain to let our customers know if service becomes necessary.”

Now two years later, those same Tesla Performance vehicle owners found themselves still not having access to the full power of their vehicles.

Electrek received many reports from Model S P85D and P90D owners who purchased the Ludicrous Mode upgrade. They say that after a software update pushed by Tesla starting in March, the Launch Mode and Max Battery Power Mode are gone.

One of those owners described the issue:

“My vehicle is a 2016 P90D with the ludicrous option. I updated my firmware from 2018.50.6 to 2019.12.1.1 via an over the air update on April 30th, 2019. After the update my vehicle will no longer enable launch mode. Instead I get an error which states “both pedals pressed”. This can most likely be attributed to the fact that a sub-screen to enable “max battery” does not come up when moving the drive mode slider to ludicrous plus. Additionally, the vehicle used to turn on fans to heat the battery to proper temperature upon selecting max battery and now the fans do not turn on, even when the slider is on Ludicrous plus.”

Several owners brought their cars in service to fix the issue, but the service centers said that it was a bug and that they didn’t have a new software update that would fix the problem.

Due to Tesla’s previous actions regarding max power output, some owners expressed concerns that it isn’t a mistake and Tesla was again limiting the power output.

We contacted Tesla about the issue and the company confirmed that it was a mistake. They say that they “inadvertently” removed Launch Mode and Max Battery Power Mode and that they are still working on a fix.

Electrek’s Take

I have no reason to believe that Tesla is again intentionally trying to limit the power output of its performance vehicles. It looks like it’s just a dumb bug.

We just reported on how Tesla has an impressive lead when it comes to software, and especially over-the-air software updates, in the automotive industry.

This is a good example that despite their lead, they are still far from perfect. But overall, there’s no doubt that Tesla’s software updates have been an incredible net positive.

However, several months is a long time to fix what appears to be somewhat of a simple bug.

In the meantime, it’s understandable that owners who paid thousands of dollars to have that extra power are frustrated for not having access to it.

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Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

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