Tesla likes to use the word “soon” when referring to the time when some feature or improvement will be released. Often, the word has elicited some sarcasm.
I want to make the case, why we should meet this term with anticipation, not disappointment.
Let’s put it in perspective and think about what Tesla’s “Soon” has meant in the past.
First and foremost: The Model S
To some, having a fully usable EV in 2012, a century after the first ones whirred about alongside the puttering Model A, may not seem very “soon”. But Tesla’s feat of building a vehicle as outstanding as the Model S from scratch is a massive achievement, and doing it in as short a time as they did, puts a “general relativity” to their use of the word “soon”. With a traditional automotive manufacturer, the Model S would still be in development today, but Tesla already has - what, 50,000 of them? - on the roads. So *everything* that comes online for that car is not only “soon”, but before its time.
Superchargers: For obvious reasons their individual activation cannot be tied to a date. There are too many moving parts outside of Tesla’s control. “Soon” seems to be a perfectly appropriate term in this context. We know they are working on it as quickly as they can. The build-up of the current network over less than two years is further proof, that “soon” is a relatively short time span when taken in relation to the accomplishment.
Software upgrades: This is, as far as I know, completely uncharted territory. Never before has a manufacturer built in the capability to affect improvements to an existing fleet simply by pushing new software to the cars. Yet we have seen several upgrades a year since the first Model S rolled off the line. Considering that software upgrades to a vehicle participating in open traffic must meet with a level of scrutiny that far outstrips that given to commercial software, getting this done at all is amazing. “Soon” is an understatement, as far as I’m concerned.
Of course we always like to get tomorrow’s improvements yesterday. Applying the “general relativity” outlined above to Tesla’s “Soon”, we actually are.
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