Could Tesla improve the Model S’s resistance to highway fires just by issuing a remote software update?
This week, Model S owners were notified to update their software from version 5.6 to version 5.8. Some are reporting that, after the update, the Active Air Suspension no longer goes to the lowest setting at highway speeds.
Active Air Suspension is a $2,250 option that automatically lowers the vehicle at higher speeds for optimized aerodynamics and increased range. Some see the change as a safety measure – if the vehicle has more ground clearance, it should be less likely to collide with road debris.
After a couple of Model S caught fire after striking objects in the roadway, some have speculated that Tesla might make some sort of safety upgrade, perhaps adding thicker shielding to the bottom of the battery pack, a solution that would obviously be more expensive than a simple software change.
However, speculation is all there is at this point. Tesla has yet to make an official statement, so despite a lively discussion in the Tesla Motors Club forum, we’re not sure if the change was made for safety reasons, or even if it was intentional.