When Tesla released the Model S, it debuted a lot of cool features and technology that spread throughout the automotive world. One of these features, wireless update, allows the manufacturer to improve and in some cases worsen vehicle characteristics. This just happened when Tesla reportedly cut off about 80 miles (about 129 km) of range and told a customer that they would have to pay $4,500 to get it back. Then the internet found out.

From the very beginning, this is no secret Tesla disable features before reselling the used car it was traded in for. As sad as it may sound, they have the right to do so. What’s not that common is a situation that led to one owner leaving home one day to find his Model S with 80 miles less on the range than it had just a few minutes earlier.

One customer recently encountered such a situation, which Jason Hughes, owner of a Tesla component manufacturing business, revealed on Twitter. The customer is the third owner of a used 2013 model S 60 which, as the nomenclature suggests, was originally sold with a 60kWh battery. At some point during its life with the first owner, Tesla replaced the battery with a 90 kWh pack under warranty and made all the necessary modifications to allow the car to use its full power.

Read more: Tesla sold 5 Model S sedans with a prototype part that must now be recalled

Years pass and the car changes hands several times before the current owner takes it to a Tesla service center for an unrelated software update that will allow it to maintain internet connectivity now that 3G is down. According to Hughes, everything goes well at the meeting and the owner drives home with no problems. At some point shortly thereafter, Tesla “calls him to say they found and fixed a bug in the configuration of his car.”

This “configuration error” in Tesla’s eyes was that it technically should have been locked as a Model S 60 unless a current customer was willing to pay $4,500 to get 80 or so miles (129 km) of range back. It should be noted that there are software hacks this could fix the problem but it would require a complete disconnection from tesla services so the customer went to get a software update to begin with.

Hughes noted all of this in a lengthy Twitter thread that went viral on Monday, and to date, he says the issue in this particular case, and even in other similar situations, appears to have been resolved. Of course, we should note that Tesla, for its part, has neither confirmed nor denied this situation, so we can only call it a report for now.

This is exactly the type of situation where Tesla would benefit from having some kind of actual public relations department. Then he could just come out, state the facts from his side, correct his guilt to whatever extent, set a precedent, and move on. Instead, we’re all left wondering what’s next the wild and wacky story of owning a Tesla the end result will be and what if anything the brand will do about it.


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