Will Roadster owners soon be able to upgrade their cars? Tesla’s announcement today didn’t say anything about that* — only that the company has applied 2014 technology to its 2008 Roadster, with potent results. But even without details of any consumer upgrade, this retro attention to the Roadster violates many rules of the auto world.
First of all, automakers are supposed to stare straight ahead without glancing back. They focus solely on the next model, implying a short shelf life for existing products. By contrast, Tesla’s attention to erstwhile output implies a very long shelf life indeed for any Tesla product. Long-lasting freshness without BHT added.
Second, cars aren’t supposed to be Plug-N-Play. That’s the stuff PC peripherals, not Motor Trend. Again, the implication is a very long shelf life. You might become obsolete before your Tesla does.
Third, it’s generally accepted that Father Time has his way with your car, so its abilities degrade as the years go by. By contrast, Tesla’s products seem to strengthen with time. Musk has Father Time in a headlock and is giving him a harsh noogie to the cranium.
This all adds up to a fast-congealing Tesla ecosystem. The products use unique battery technology that upgrades with time, and a special charging network, and OTA updates, and Twitter relationships with the CEO, and smartphone integration that runs far deeper than other marques, and door-to-door service rangers. Owning a Tesla means being a “member” of something. It’s a culture. Maybe even a cult. But the Kool-Aid isn’t spiked.
* Update: Tesla apparently tells Autoblog that an upgrade package is coming next year.