Last month Tesla unveiled the refreshed Model 3, which brought a number of changes to the electric sedan, including more range.
The extra range was believed to be thanks to the new heat pump, which is much more efficient at heating the cabin than the current resistive heater.
Now it looks like Tesla may have been able to add even more range than advertised, but has restricted the amount available through a software lock.
Tesla hacker @greentheonly, who has a well-established track record of finding hidden elements in Tesla’s source code, found evidence of this lock in the latest 2020.44.10.1 software update that was released earlier today.
According to green, there is a new software locked battery type of “336 miles” (540km).
Interesting development on model3/y front. firmware 2020.44.10.1 adds a new software locked battery type "336 miles" (current are 220 and 93) which implies that full battery would actually be bigger?
Another notable change is preparation for model3 with no radio tuner at all.
— green (@greentheonly) November 6, 2020
A range of 540km falls between the current Long Range (LR) with 568km of range and the Performance with 507km of range.
Even though the code has been added, this is likely in preparation for production change coming soon as there are still only references to the current 50 kWh, 62 kWh, and 70 kWh battery capacities.
This wouldn’t be the first time Tesla has software locked a battery to restrict how far a car can travel on a single charge. In 2019, Tesla launched the Standard Range (SR) Model 3 with just 150km of range in Canada in order to qualify for the federal iZEV rebate, even though the car was still equipped with the same battery found in the SR+.