Earlier this month, Tesla Motors announced a software update for its Model S all-electric luxury sedan. No less an authority than our old friend Damon Lavrinc over at Wired has blessed the upgrade. Lavrinc calls Tesla's upgrades a "solid, feature-rich update" that overcomes what had been "egregious oversights" for an automaker steeped in technological advancements.

Some of the improvements of note include better, simpler voice-command features for navigation and radio control, which is handled through a on-board 3G modem. The driver can call saved contacts through Bluetooth, while the software allows for more user customization on steering-wheel knobs to include temperature control. The graphics showing the car's battery range are also improved.

As we already heard, the new Model S software includes a so-called "sleep mode," in which the vehicle takes slightly longer to fully power up but also allows it to get another eight miles of range for every day that the car is not used and not plugged in, compared to a Model S that just sits in normal off mode while unplugged. The software can be downloaded via the on-board modem while the vehicle is in operation, and can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. Last month, the Model S won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award.


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  • 25 Comments
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another spectacular triumph for Tesla over the competition! What other car or motorcycle manufacturer does this? That regularly makes changes to make the vehicle work better for its owners? No one I've heard of but Tesla. This is yet another reason to really really like what Tesla are doing despite the usual handicap of being a publicly traded company. A manufacturer being able to make an already purchased car *much better* time and time again is a revelation and a revolution regarding the auto industry.
      bluepongo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      The dual arc-reactor holder inbetween the front seats could double as a map light if you can change it's angle. ;)
      radroach
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fugly dash, why don't they offer a dash with analog - electrical controls for practical drivers who don't want to spend 10,000 for a vertical htdv right next to the steering wheel. Kudos on their driving performance, I'd like to see proven reliability of the batteries, and that they don't catch fire if they get flooded etc.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @radroach
        I believe that each car is tested in water.
        purrpullberra
        • 2 Years Ago
        @radroach
        Tesla is a new company and they can't make 2 completely different IP's for the first whole car they produce. And they wanted to be unique. They made the decision and moved on. we'll see about the IP/dash in genIII.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Temperature control from steering wheel was there before this update.
      noevfud
      • 2 Years Ago
      Talk about parasitic loads! 8 miles a day! In one week that is 56 miles lost. Seriously. A LEAF does not draw any pack power at all if left for a few days and even after a week it will briefly charge the 12V battery. Plugged in or not. What is going on that burns 8 miles a day?
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @noevfud
        Keeping the batteries at optimal temperature and the PEM module cool would use a lot of energy.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          I certainly don't have the answer but thermal management has to use some of the energy and that was an issue with the Roadster. You're right that turning it off indicates that it's something else.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          Grendal, that's not where the energy was going. That wouldn't be something Tesla would allow customers to turn off. Tesla left something on that clearly was not essential, as evidenced by how they now turn it off if you can tolerate waiting for it to turn back on.
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Distraction--distraction --distraction
        bluepongo1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @diffrunt
        Time will tell, although I'm pretty sure this car's demographic doesn't have the attention span of a fruit fly. You know like: texting, eating, playing with controls, yapping on the cell phone and/or road sex.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bluepongo1
          bluepongo1: I think you need to actually drive the car. You cannot turn the headlights on or off without using the touch screen (luckily they are automatic). You cannot open or close the sunroof without using the touch screen (and it is not automatic). And ou can't even adjust either of those with a single, touch, each requires bringing up a screen, possibly flipping to a 2nd screen, then adjusting the item, then if you want to see anything else in the center stack, closing the screen you brought up. They took a steering column of a BMW 7 series (from what I can tell). So all the items that are on stalks on that car (including gear selector) are on stalks. Everything else that was on the dash barring the trunk open button and the emergency hazard lights are on soft buttons on the center stack.
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bluepongo1
          @ Rotation I'm holding out for the X-Type, but I can see how that sun roof thing is not intuitive. Fortunately I don't want a sun roof, the headlight thing seems like it could have multiple solutions with modification ( voice, software, or seperate switch mounted where you prefer) . Be safe though and sorry if I sound cranky, I live in CT. Happy Holidays/Seasons Greetings.
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bluepongo1
          @Rotation Oh! you don't put on your seat belt and adjust your settings before you move your car... You also live in a place that doesn't have stop signs or stop lights or parking lots and you can't pull over somewhere safe to adjust settings. Well keep twiddleing your knob this is not the car for you fly guy.
        wtrmlnjuc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @diffrunt
        Not really, the touchscreen has large controls and the dashboard can also be customized. Voice control is added, too.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wtrmlnjuc
          You still have to look at them to use them. In fact, most of the controls (as opposed to status) you have to look and find a small button to pop up the large overlay, then select 1 of 4 small buttons to select which of 4 overlays, then look again to find the button you wanted to open the sunroof in the first place.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wtrmlnjuc
          That problem will fix itself, Grendal. It already has around me. You see several a day.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wtrmlnjuc
          The beauty is that it will continue to get better over time. Regular buttons can't be moved or adjusted and you still have to look to properly hit them too.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wtrmlnjuc
          True Rotation. But some people, like me, are visually oriented and still hunt and peck even with the buttons in my car. I haven't read of any problems so far on the TMC from owners. A bigger problem is that the car is so attention getting that it has caused accidents by distracting other drivers. One happened just yesterday. A Merc driver was so distracted by a Model S that he drifted into traffic clipping a motorcycle driver. The Model S owner felt guilty over it. I personally think that all the GPS and driving assistance tech is horribly distracting and a waste. But I have a weird sense of direction and don't get lost.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wtrmlnjuc
          No, I don't have to look at regular buttons to press them. I can find them by feel. Witness the keyboard I am typing on right now.
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cool, an already solid car, gets even better. Tesla is developing a culture of service and innovation that is unmatched in the auto industry.
      atc98092
      • 2 Years Ago
      Question: with the new sleep mode enabled, does it increase the amount of time it takes to be able to drive the car? Or can you start driving almost immediately and there might be a few gauges and/or radio functions that are unavailable before booting is complete?
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @atc98092
        So if you're knocking over a bank you'll want to leave it in normal mode.
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @atc98092
        It's got to be started before it can go, just like other cars. Starting from "sleep mode" takes longer than starting in "normal mode" which is almost instant. But the car now gives you a choice - switch it to sleep mode if you're going to be doing something else and want to save electricity, or leave it in normal mode if you think you'll need a quick get-away or just don't want to wait.
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