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Discussion Starter #1
With the recent announcements that a new battery pack for the roadster will be made available coupled with the constant upgrades Model S owners are seeing with over the air updates I wonder if the age of the upgradable car is really upon us.

In days of yore, cars used to rust to nothing long before the engine died a natural death so upgrading them became a labour of love for the few with skills to keep their old rust buckets going, but now with swappable packs and modular build technology, coupled with software driven cars are we about to see a new world where cars live longer lives with upgrades to bring them back to cutting edge coming every few years.

Tesla are promising new improved seats for the model S next year that are retrofittable, hopefully this is a sign that every 5-10 years you can just upgrade your existing car to the latest tech.

Leaf owners have long said they would love to upgrade the battery to a larger size, hopefully this is just around the corner.
 

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If it is I think it will be a long time coming in terms of mainstream acceptance, and a really big challenge for the "is your car factory standard, not modified?" insurance brigade.

Even now some insurers do not (technically) even cover factory fitted extras unless specifically declared, so imagine the loopholes and hurdles that need to be overcome to avoid insurance quote calls such as "It's a LEAF, 2014, but it has a 2018 battery pack, and the 2017 comfort spec seats, with the 2017 entertainment plus infotainment package... Hello? Hello?!" Or people grabbing cheap online quotes without even reading the disclaimers walking into a potential minefield come claim time.

Even now in-car GPS and such are generally so poorly executed to begin with, outdated on launch, and hard and expensive to keep up to date. This has been building up and getting worse for years, yet the car industry has been painfully slow to react.

Hopefully Tesla will improve things, but I can see more mainstream manufacturers really dragging their heels here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree, insuring the model S required me to disclose all the factory fitted options, only to be told after about 10mins that they were all standard and ok :)

Agree its going to take a mind shift from insurance companies and some of the stodgier car companies, but in a world where your tv, thermostat and game console all get software updates I think it will be the norm not the exception
 

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Being upgradeable may not be the be all and end all, but certainly being capable of running the latest and greatest updates and getting those direct from source could help used values too.

Based on my experience as a buyer and seller of tech stuff and gadgets I find Apple things sell higher and better (in terms of original price) and I think this is at least in part because I can sell my old iPad, iPhone or MacBook Pro fully updated with the latest shiny OS and people know EXACTLY what they're getting.

Maybe Tesla will gain an advantage here in that regard too. High quality hardware with up to date software upgraded and verified by the original supplier. Not a bad model.
 

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Let's not get carried away here... "Upgrades" like removing the lowest ride height, may well be increase safety, but it's not an upgrade. The low ride height was there to give better aerodynamic efficiency and therefore better km/kWh. Removing it may lessen the risk of your battery pack exploding but it's not an upgrade...

Then we get to the issue of software bloat. What's the TeslaOS going to perform like after 10 years worth of bloat?
Have you tried using an newer iOS on an older iThing? Or Windows XP on a 10 year old laptop (one that came with XP from the factory). It's not a great experience. Doing the same on a two tonne car at 70mph could be traumatic...

As long as it's done properly, with enough testing, it will be a good thing. But only time will tell...
 

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My iPad retina (original, short lived version) is running the latest iOS wonderfully after many years as is my wife's iPhone 4s. My five-year-old 13" MacBook Pro is running the latest Mac OS without a hitch... Yet my LEAF nav is already looking outdated and there are owners of LEAFs just a few months older than mine who can't have software/firmware options I have (aircon pre-heat/cool temp settings is one). Even if just car infotainment systems took a more modular, upgradeable approach life could improve massively for owners of "old" vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Let's not get carried away here... "Upgrades" like removing the lowest ride height, may well be increase safety, but it's not an upgrade. The low ride height was there to give better aerodynamic efficiency and therefore better km/kWh. Removing it may lessen the risk of your battery pack exploding but it's not an upgrade...
Agree but there have been a lot of additions as well such as the recent hill start mode
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My iPad retina (original, short lived version) is running the latest iOS wonderfully after many years as is my wife's iPhone 4s. My five-year-old 13" MacBook Pro is running the latest Mac OS without a hitch... Yet my LEAF nav is already looking outdated and there are owners of LEAFs just a few months older than mine who can't have software/firmware options I have (aircon pre-heat/cool temp settings is one). Even if just car infotainment systems took a more modular, upgradeable approach life could improve massively for owners of "old" vehicles.
My old iphone 4 is still going - handed to my wife, a new battery can be added and it will be as good as new
 

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So to bring this around again, EVs have fewer (obvious) consumables/areas to "go wrong" over time, cars generally do not rust and rot like the good old days, so often technology, exterior design and "options" are the things that really date vehicles. If you can update the tech and options easily, this could really help keep vehicles up to date longer and that's got to be a good thing?
 

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So to bring this around again, EVs have fewer (obvious) consumables/areas to "go wrong" over time,
Try telling that to our LEAF. In five months it has:

Failed to complete a charge overnight 3 times and failed to start due to a dead 12V battery twice. We haven't been stranded yet, but that could easily have happened.

Dealer just replaced the 12V battery. We'll see what happens next.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
has anyone ever come up with a reasonable explanation as to why the 12v battery dies, in 3 years of leaf ownership its never happened to me, just interested in the root cause ?
 

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has anyone ever come up with a reasonable explanation as to why the 12v battery dies, in 3 years of leaf ownership its never happened to me, just interested in the root cause ?
Nissan UK are telling me there's no pattern, no fault and nothing they can do to track it.

Quick Google throws up these, also mentioned to Nissan UK... they were not really interested.

https://speakev.com/threads/nissan-leaf-12v-battery-totally-dead.19/
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=12448
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16829
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=13952

...the list goes on.

But this is a bit off topic from where we were with regards Tesla and their approach to upgrades. ;)
 

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Modular upgrades, especially in cars costing over £50,000 is a great idea.

I see it a lot in other areas. For example the MRI scanner here at work is entirely modular. Upgrade modules range from £25,000 to about 1/2 the price of new scanner -- but we have the option to keep the system current at a far lower cost then purchasing a new one.


PCs used to be modular. Apple-ization is changing that. Try upgrading the RAM on the latest small iMac. Sure, you can still build a PC out of parts, but the best machines aren't upgradeable the way a classic PC was.


Nissan have a fixed price battery pack replacement program in place in the US. They don't have it in the UK, but maybe that is because there is little need for one here.


EVs have less to "go wrong" ?? --- I have a lot to say on that, but maybe we need a new thread.
 

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Poor quality production line batteries IMHO, Gen-1 cars were the worst, the demo leaf I used had a duff battery and it was only months old. About time they did something else IMHO, DCDC converter from the main pack as I assume the BMS system must tap the pack in parallel to measure the cells, it wouldnt be so hard to tap from the pack, there must be a reason why they put old school lead in there.

Back to the thread title.

Im a big Tesla fan and will be getting a Model S however I just hope that they are not trying to run before they can walk here, Kevins battery woes and a few other things I have been reading (milling problem) are worrying me a little, some of the Japanese manufacturers have also been caught out by rapid growth too, whilst I love Teslas rapid innovation I dont want to see them hit problems either.
 

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I think the potential to upgrade a car after it's been driven from the showroom is fantastic for Tesla owners. I've not heard of other car manufacturers offering retrofit upgrades even if it were possible. To be honest, I've heard of people fitting (for example) manufacturer spec fast model parts in a basic model car and sometimes you can find a dealer willing to sell you brand new components to do your own upgrades, but more often than not these DIY upgrades are with second-hand parts from doner cars.

Couple retrofit factory options with my other comment on upgrading more fundamental parts like batteries when they wear out and you should be able to keep a better car more worthwhile for longer. Until Elon announced a battery upgrade for Roadster owners I was concerned that a replacement battery after 8 or 10 years would blow the resale value of 'old' Model S's out the water when they get old. But couple the necessity for a replacement with the option to upgrade and you add more resale value at the same time.

However, call me a cynic, but I don't see the traditional car makers following this model.

If you look at the way cars are priced and sold, all car makers will create bundled features and sell them on different spec packages for the same model of car. While you can always opt to add factory options to any model, the options available are not the same for all package levels. So you can't spec Audi RS3 seats for an otherwise normal Audi A3.

The way Tesla sell their cars (currently, at least) is a bit different. I'm not aware that there's much you can't have on the 60 kWh model that you can have on the 85 kWh model. Tesla don't sell packaged cars for now, in as much as all options are available for all buyers. I think the traditional makers have an interest in you not keeping your car updated. They want to release new tweaks and changes each year to make the last one they sold us outdated.

I don't see a day when retrofitting new parts to a previously purchased vehicle will be a common thing.

As for software, I do expect that this will move more towards the way Tesla provide updates. The inherent limitation for other manufacturers however was exemplified when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007. Fixed buttons. Once you ship a car with buttons and switches - they ain't changing! The only way you can truly adapt an interface to new feature upgrades and updates is to use a touch screen interface and dispense with as many physical buttons as possible.

Tesla don't have this problem of course, and they have an army of software engineers who can keep the software current and tested for all the different hardware they've released.

So, until you see larger touch screens coming to more cars, there will be large inherent limitations on how much they are willing to support software upgrades to their cars features. I think over-the-air updates will come, but they won't be on the scale Tesla or Apple users are used to.

Yes it's cool, but I don't see it changing the industry any time soon. In short, I'm afraid existing LEAF owners probably shouldn't hold their breath for an upgraded battery option from Nissan, sadly.
 

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I've not heard of other car manufacturers offering retrofit upgrades even if it were possible.
They are out there if you look for them.

BMW has occasionally offered retrofit kits. I've never seen one advertised but they are in the parts catalog.

A typical one is to retrofit advanced phone compatibility into a car that didn't have it as an option. Takes a car from basic USB to "advanced".

Another one is a snap-in WiFi hot spot. I've never seen that one installed in a car, but it was in the parts catalog.

Mercedes offers navigation as plug-in module for many of their cars. Dealer told me they could add full integrated sat nav to most of the used and plated cars.

I bought a cruise control retrofit kit for our 1994 Dodge Ram. This was an official factory kit that included parts, instructions and an overlay wiring harness. This was not advertised or even offered by the dealer. I walked up to a parts counter and asked them what was available.


There are also the "dealer added options." For example we added a semi-integrated NAV to our Z4 and a dog guard to our Leaf.



Tesla has upgraded at least one Model S battery pack. I'm not sure if it is official or something they did one-off for a customer.






 
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