New 100kWh Battery Won’t Be Incremental For Tesla’s Sales: Expert

Tesla has introduced a new battery pack, but it won’t help increase sales much as the company is charging $20,000 for the upgrade, a Kelly Blue Book expert told CNBC. On Tuesday, the EV firm announced new versions of its Model S sedan and Model X crossover, offering much faster acceleration and improved battery range.

Too expensive to upgrade

Tesla’s new Model S P100D with the speed option upgrade called Ludicrous mode has a powerful 100 kilowatt-hour battery with a range of 315 miles, while for the new Model X P100D with Ludicrous mode, the improved range will be 289 miles. The starting prices of the Model S P100D and the Model X 100D will be $134,500 and $135,500, respectively. However, the owners of earlier models can have their vehicles upgraded for $20,000, while those whose vehicles are on order will be required to pay $10,000.

The $20,000 that existing customers are being charged is huge enough to cover the cost of a whole new car in the U.S., said Brauer.

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“It’s an impressive acceleration and range number [but] it doesn’t apply to most Americans out there,” the senior editor said.

There are many cars that fall in the price range $20,000-$25,000, Brauer told CNBC.

In a blog post, the company acknowledged that the updated vehicles are expensive but added that it would “help pay for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that’s in development.”

Brauer told CNBC’s Squawk Box, “This isn’t going to be big shift in sales but huge additional increase in productivity capability.”

A significant advancement for Tesla

Even though the same cell technology is used in the new battery pack, Tesla executives touted the advancements in the battery pack technology as significant, noted The Verge. Tesla CTO JB Straubel told reporters that the change in the battery module and pack technology is pretty big and that it’s a complete redo on the cooling architecture.

Now Tesla’s current lineup of the Model S and Model X include battery options of 60kWh, 75kWh, 90kWh, and 100kWh. Base model pricing for the Model S is in the range of $66,000 to $134,500, while for the Model X, it is $74,000 to $135,500, depending on the battery purchased.

Tesla introduced the 90kWh battery pack more than a year ago, while it launched the 75kWh battery pack earlier this year. The 75kWh battery pack is identical to the battery available in the 60kWh Model S, but the vehicle’s software has additional cells locked-in. Also customers have the option to unlock them by making a payment.