In response to a customer on Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tesla owners can expect major hardware updates to occur “every 12 to 18 months.”

Musk made the comment when responding to a customer’s Twitter question about paid upgrades for exisiting owners who want the latest equipment, possibly referring to the second generation Autopilot that was introduced on Friday that is not available as a retrofit.

Musk added that if buyers are looking for cars that are only updated on an annual basis, they are looking for the wrong car with Tesla.


Previously, Musk said that the electric carmaker introduces about 20 engineering changes every month to the Model S to improve the vehicle and its production, but these are not the major changes when talking about the 12 to 18 months timeframe.

Unlike the auto industry’s common practice of introducing a car that will remain basically unchanged for five or so years with minor styling changes, and a few added features. Tesla has made major revisions every year or so since the Model S went on sale in 2012.

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Musk also noted that the company’s pace of innovation would drop dramatically if it applied its resources to complex retrofitting of existing cars, saying there is no easy way of “replacing 300+parts.”

In essence Musk is telling customers if they want a Tesla EV with the latest high-tech features, it’s the same as getting the latest cell phone, you buy a new one.

That’s likely not what the customer who tweeted Musk wanted to hear, but that’s the Tesla way of making electric cars and SUVs.

Tech Crunch