A better way to simplify Tesla Model S and X options and customization.

Tesla has made it clear they want to decrease the number of options and configurations for their cars in order to streamline production.   But the upcoming Model S and Model X configurator which consolidates the various options into 3 overall car configurations (standard, premium, and performance) is confusing and counterproductive.  In fact, it might actually lead to more customer confusion, lower average selling prices, and fewer orders.

For many potential Model S buyers, getting a base Model S is already a budgetary stretch.  If the goal is to upsell, making the first incremental upgrade be over $40k extra doesn’t encourage a lot of consideration. People considering a base Model S might be able to stretch a little further to add one or two options but fewer people can afford to add any options if the result is a 60% increase in the price of the car.

Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving Capability (FSDC) are both software locked options that can be added at anytime.  Making FSDC unavailable for the 75 and 75D and mandatory for P100D, and making Enhanced Autopilot mandatory for 100D seems overly restrictive for something that doesn’t add complexity to the production of these cars.  There’s no reason to restrict or discourage someone from adding or not adding either Autopilot option. Perhaps someone buying a P100D has no interest in Autopilot or FSDC (or prefers to wait until the software is more refined).  Similarly, someone buying the base Model S might be willing to stretch to get the FSDC since it’s one of the key selling points of Tesla.

If the intent is to reduce the number of possible configurations, perhaps Tesla should start by combining several of the current lower priced options.  For example, they could make the Premium Sound ($2500) and Subzero ($1000) packages part of the Premium Upgrades Package ($3500).

Currently, the Premium Upgrades Package consists of upgraded headlights, foglights, HEPA filter, upgraded interior lights, alcantara accents, extended leather (for those also selecting a Leather Package), lighted door handles (for Model S), and auto-presenting driver door (for Model X).  In recent months, the Premium Upgrades Package has been less popular due to the removal of the ventilated seats, and the power liftgate (which is now standard).  If Tesla combined the Premium Sound and Subzero packages with the Premium Upgrades Package and kept the price around $5000, it would become an extremely popular package.  The extended leather components (which anyone with standard multi-pattern seats wouldn’t even get) and alcantara accents could then be transferred to the Leather Package which would see a price increase from $3300 to $5000.  This simple consolidation of packages would decrease the number of possible configurations by a factor of 4.  The overall options would be simplified to just 7 choices:

  • Battery, Drivetrain, Suspension
  • Wheels
  • Glass Roof / Sunroof
  • Exterior Color
  • Interior (Leather Package)
  • Premium Upgrades Package
  • Enhanced Autopilot / Full Self Driving Capability