Tesla Motors says it could be on the verge of a major breakthrough, one that eliminates one of the biggest obstacles to widespread acceptance of battery-electric vehicles -- range anxiety.
In a terse weekend tweet, CEO Elon Musk promised Tesla is “about to end range anxiety,” the ever-present concern electric vehicle owners face that they might run out of juice before reaching their destination.
Tesla has attempted to address that issue already. It now offers a larger battery pack for its Model S sedan that can get just under 300 miles per charge. And it is setting up a so-called “Supercharger” network of high-speed chargers across the country. But Musk Sunday signaled that the Silicon Valley start-up will use its ability to remotely update the software on the “entire Model S fleet,” apparently to boost their range substantially.
Precisely what’s in the works will be revealed at a news conference on Thursday morning. Tesla competitors are also trying to address the range anxiety issue with an assortment of new, longer-range battery cars such as the 200-mile Bolt planned by Chevrolet, and a 300-mile SUV coming from Audi. Proponents believe such models could increase mass acceptance of battery power, especially if EV prices continue dropping.
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-- Paul A. Eisenstein