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Tesla Model S gets up to 390 miles of range via over-the-air software update

Tesla partially confirmed a recent rumor by announcing the new Long Range Plus versions of the Model S and the Model X are capable of driving further on a single charge than the variants they replace. Owners of compatible cars will receive the upgrade for free via an over-the-air software update the company pledged to unlock soon.

Posting on his official Twitter account, company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives the Model S Long Range Plus a 390-mile range, while the Model X Long Range Plus earns a 351-mile rating. These figures represent useful increases of 17 and 23 miles, respectively. Asked how Tesla achieved this, Musk explained the automaker’s engineering department made “many small hardware improvements throughout the car that have been introduced gradually over the past several months.”

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The updates give the Model S more range than any other electric car available new in the United States; the Model X takes second place, and third place goes to the Model 3 Long Range, which offers up to 322 miles of driving range. Notice a pattern here? Tesla started developing modern electric cars before most of its main rivals, and it’s reaping the rewards of its head start. The announcement comes as questions hover around the Porsche Taycan’s range.

But while giving owners more range for free with a quick software update is a clever and innovative move, it’s worth noting the changes only apply to cars “made in recent months,” according to Musk, and the executive didn’t respond to Twitter users who asked him to define that time frame. Motorists who purchased a Model S or a Model X right before the cutoff date won’t be pleased, because the announcement wasn’t made public until February 14.

The only other notable change announced is a new set of 19-inch alloy wheels named Tempest designed for the Model S. The existing Performance variants of the S and the X carry on unchanged, meaning their maximum driving range checks in at 348 and 305 miles, respectively. The rumors of a redesigned interior with a Model 3-like touchscreen haven’t materialized yet, but Tesla finally added a wireless device charger to both cars.

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