Musk Reads: Tesla Model 3 gets all-new performance features

Tesla Model Y interior spotted and Giga Berlin prepares to break ground. Where is the solar-powered Tesla?

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Tesla Model Y interior spotted and Giga Berlin prepares to break ground. Where is the solar-powered Tesla? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #148.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Hopefully, in March.”

  • Musk on when the full self-driving preview will reach the EU.


The Tesla Model 3 is getting a second-generation Track Mode. The new update, demonstrated to selected testers last month, comes as a software update for Performance models. It can be accessed by touching the car, then Driving, and then Track Mode. The mode adds fine-tuned controls over the car’s handling and operations. Unplugged Performance CEO Ben Schaffer told Teslarati it will “instantly unlock faster lap times.” YouTubers like Salomondrin have gone hands-on with the new upgrades.

The Tesla Model S and X are getting new software updates that change the amount of reported driving range. This added range was already present in the vehicles, so the new figures better reflect reality. The new update increases the Model X’s stated range from 328 miles to 351 miles and the Model S from 373 miles to 390 miles. Read more.

A new internal project at Tesla could raise those figures even higher. The project, known internally as “Roadrunner,” is reportedly exploring Tesla building its own batteries in-house instead of depending on Panasonic. More information is expected to be revealed at an event in April. Read more.

Tesla has started offering a $2,500 infotainment upgrade for Model S and X cars built before April 2018. The upgrade offers faster touchscreen performance and adds new features like Netflix and enhanced Sentry Mode, but does remove AM, FM, and Sirius XM radio.

Tesla solar

Tesla looks set to build what could be the world’s largest energy storage facility in Moss Landing, California. The new facility, approved last week, is set to measure one gigawatt-hour in size. It eclipses the company’s South Australia facility, which measures 129 megawatt-hours, by a factor of nearly 10.

Looking to buy a Tesla Solar Roof? Inverse has produced a new guide on how to purchase and what to expect during the buying process. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is set to break ground on Giga Berlin in the second half of March, minister of economics Jörg Steinbach claimed in a recent interview. Tesla received permission to clear the forest last month, a decision that was suspended by an urgent lawsuit and then reinstated. Tesla has cleared around 90 hectares in the first phase of construction. When asked on Twitter whether he would attend the groundbreaking ceremony, Musk declared “definitely.”

Fans welcoming Tesla to Berlin.

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In other Musk news…

Musk has rallied to support Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who is facing a movement to remove him from his position. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Mike Macmahon writes: Alabama has the highest punitive solar tariff for the nation. However they do not have a tariff for on site natural gas generators. This obvious discrepancy should be brought to the public service commission’s attention by solar electric enthusiast such as Tesla. Alabama is truly a Third World environment with big businesses such as Alabama Power and corrupt politicians strong arming the public. Tesla could be our new state hero but it’ll take some education. Anybody up for a challenge.

Alabama Power has indeed come under fire for its tariff, which charges $5 per kilowatt of capacity for solar customers. The company’s rationale is that the money is used to cover the costs of backup power, but Keith Johnston, a managing attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, told in November 2019 that he hadn’t found a single investor-owned utility with higher fees. If solar firms want to encourage consumers to switch, it’s indeed the sort of battles they’ll need to fight.

David Farquharson writes: Due to the huge windshield/sunroof on most models, has Elon considered utilizing solar panels?

The Tesla Cybertruck is indeed expected to be the first to offer a solar panel option, adding up to 40 miles of range per day when unfolded.

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Photo of the week

Tesla Model Y interior revealed ahead of the first deliveries.

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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #148, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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