It would appear that Tesla is anxious to sell down its stock of new Model X P90D cars according to the latest listing of inventory cars for sale by the Silicon Valley automaker. At the time of writing, nearly 85% of the vehicles listed on the company’s New Inventory page are for the Performance version of its 90 kWh Model X SUV which may suggest that production for the P90D may soon come to an end. With such a modest performance gap between the P100D and P90D, it makes sense to only offer one range topping configuration. But there may be more to the story.
Updated November 3, 2016: Tesla says goodbye to P90D Model S, X: P100D is the new king of the hill
Elon Musk has made it clear that people who opt for the P100D option in either the Model S or Model X are helping to fund development of the Model 3 — especially if the Ludicrous Mode upgrade is included. Tesla has a lot of balls in the air at the moment, especially with the proposed merger between it and SolarCity set to happen in less than a month. It needs to bring money in the door to calm nervous investors who fear the company his bitten off more than it can chew in terms of cash flow.
It is racing to expand its Supercharger network in preparation for having more Teslas on the road once the Model 3 goes into production. It needs to open more stores and service locations. And it needs to fund the SolarCity acquisition. The P100D variant likely has the highest profit margin for the company. With the pressure to bring cash in the door paramount at the moment, this is the perfect time to drop the less profitable P90D and maximize income.
Looking beyond the immediate moment, however, Tesla has always preferred to have two basic battery packs for its Model S and Model X. Right now it has four variants — 60 kWh, 75 kWh, 90 kWh and 100 kWh. The current 60 kWh battery is a software limited version of the 75 kWh battery pack. Eliminating the 90 kWh battery entirely would leave it free to offer a software limited version of the 100 kWh to customers who want something more than the 75 kWh unit but don’t want to spend the money for the 100 kWh choice.
The software limited 60 kWh battery costs $6,000 less than the original 60. That means Tesla could offer a software limited 90 kWh option for less money than the 90D costs today, which would give customers the range of options they want while allowing the company to save money by only building and stocking 2 basic batteries for its long range vehicles – a 75 kWh and 100 kWh battery pack. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Tesla soon drops the P90D for both the Model S and Model X.
Tesla is charting new territory by offering features that can be unlocked later upon payment of a upgrade charge. All Teslas now come with the second generation hardware needed for its Enhanced Autopilot system. Buyers have a choice of activating that option at the time the car is built or upgrading later. The same is true of Full Self-Driving Capability. Because of Tesla’s ability to alter the configuration of its cars wirelessly at any time, a buyer today can elect to add features later if so desired. That capability should help keep the resale value of used Teslas high.
If you have your heart set on a Model X P90D or Model S P90D, both of which no longer have the Ludicrous mode upgrade available, better act fast before they’re all gone. You can save yourself a significant amount of money by not waiting until the higher priced P100D is the only option available.