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Did Tesla 'downgrade' a hacker's Model S after he revealed insider info?

tesla model s p100d news rumors performance range
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A hacker named Jason Hughes has pried open the operating system of a wrecked Tesla Model S, and allegedly uncovered the company’s secret plans to introduce a range-topping version of the popular electric sedan called P100D. According to Tesla’s naming system, an S P100D would be equipped with a 100kWh battery pack.

Hughes tweeted his findings to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The tweet only included a cryptographic hash function, not a direct reference to the term P100D, but it was quickly decoded by members of the Tesla Owner’s Club. Once the cat was out of the bag, the hacker revealed that the P100D name started popping up in Tesla’s firmware about two months ago, and he published a picture of the P100D emblem that will likely be affixed to the back of the range-topping model. While technical details haven’t been published, leaked, or hacked, Electrek speculates that a 100kWh battery pack could allow the S to drive for over 300 miles on a single charge.

Modern infotainment systems offer an array of advantages for motorists, but they also bring with them a few inconveniences that seem to be taking car makers by surprise. As expected, Hughes’ tweet wasn’t particularly well received by Tesla executives, and the hacker is accusing the company of retaliating by trying to downgrade his Model S by remotely preventing it from making important over-the-air updates.

“Looks like I’ve definitely pissed off someone at Tesla now. They used some method I was unaware of in another process to go in and delete the pending 2.13.77 update from my car. Basically they sent the car some command that told it to restart the updater, then the updater restarted and queried the firmware server, which, to its surprise, no longer had an update for me,” he explained in a post on the Tesla Motors Club forum.

Musk replied on Twitter that the downgrading wasn’t his doing. He didn’t comment on who might be responsible for it, and he neither confirmed nor denied the imminent arrival of a P100D model; he simply added that “good hacking is a gift.”

We recently learned that the hotly-anticipated Tesla Model 3 will be unveiled on March 31 in the Los Angeles area, so it’s not too far-fetched to imagine we’ll hear more about the P100D during the event.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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