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Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • tesla model s
  • tesla model s

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model S

  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
The new firmware update for the Tesla Model S has arrived, bringing with it a few changes to how the all-electric car operates. The new features we find listed include the ability to connect to WiFi networks and to tether, a Tow Mode (for when the car is being towed, not to tow something using your fancy EV), a Screen Cleaning Mode and the ability to control the radio presets via steering wheel controls. There are also enhancements to the maps, driver profiles and "improved creep performance."

But perhaps the biggest news that the latest over-the-air update brings is what Tesla calls "Improved Power Management When Not In Use," or, as some know it, sleep mode. If this is anything like previous sleep mode updates in the Model S, the range should increase some. At the very least, we know some features of the car (Bluetooth, 3G) will take a bit longer to start up than they did before. There's an interesting "feature" to the maps change, too. Tesla admits that, "Note that the map labels will not adjust as the map rotates so they will be upside down when you are driving south."

Firmware 5.0 already has a bug tracker and you can see screen shots (some blurry) of the software on Flickr thanks to a Model S owner in Texas who discovered his new car came with the updated code installed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      The new map feature, which the article didn't explain, is that the map now auto-rotates — like the map on a typical GPS unit — so that the car's orientation is always straight-up. I'm sure the labels will be corrected. This is a Google creation, and they have not been in the navigation business for long. They're learning. It is amazing that Tesla keeps making improvements to the Model S, in spite of winning nearly every prestigious car award on the planet. And those improvements are not limited to software.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        I have to say, I wouldn't have enabled the map rotation until the naming thing was fixed. Having a North-Up orientation isn't as weird as upside-down labels.
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have an idea that sort of goes along with something I've wanted from a ModelS. I want to be able to tell the car that it *may not move* during a period of time every day that I can specify through an app. The car should be impossible to steal. Then all one has to do is use the app a minute or two before the car is needed to start/drive. Most, if not all, people could accommodate that very easily. Presumably the parasitic loss can be curtailed almost completely. And owners should be able to save a LOT on car insurance if you can prove you use the app to disable the car regularly. I am not a software engineer but I understand it enough to know that these ideas could be incorporated if Tesla wished to do so. I suspect nearly everything about the car should be controllable from an app. It would just take time and energy which they can't really spare right now so I get it. But an un-stealable car would be another huge feather in the cap of Tesla were they to do it.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @purrpullberra
        You trip on your hike in the woods. Breaks your smartphone screen. Now you can't drive home either. Awesome.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla News: They were just rated the safest car ever tested by the NHTSA. http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/tesla-model-s-achieves-best-safety-rating-any-car-ever-tested
      • 1 Year Ago
      I will support the claim.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is a good thing that Tesla's critics are not too bright and couldn't understand this problem because it was actually a pretty serious flaw. That is a crazy big drain rate. Although I'm sure people that can afford a $70K car can afford the wasted electricity, this is a problem for cars left unplugged especially in the cold. This was probably the a big unspoken culprit in that NY Time Broder incident. Although the new firmware helps, they should really find ways of further addressing this in later revisions.
        j
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Is it a problem or is it a design feature? Making it more convenient is a saleable feature. When retailers make their stores more accessible and convenient to customers, they do not run to the news papers with word of spikes in losses from leakage (thefts). They eat the losses to gain greater sales. The losses are expected as a trade-off for convenience. The losses are engineered into the process as a trade-off for convenience offered. Could be an analogy there somewhere. Make it adjustable like regen? Low losses or highly convenient, drivers choice. Just don't expect a big announcement, anytime soon.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        You are correct that it still needs further improvement. You are also correct that it was a serious efficiency problem. The critics don't care about efficiency in the first place so it was never on their radar as a problem.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Grendal
          Good point. Even with this inefficiency, the Model S was still WAY more efficient than a conventional ICE car. But they don't care about that stuff.
        Weapon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        It is a decent drain rate but not that big. You would spend 5x more in a gasoline car in traffic then this drain did. So it is a matter of scale. But it is not the culprit during NYTime Broder issue, the problem then was Broder himself. Even if vampire drain would have been 0, he still would never have made it. Simply because he unplugged the supercharger before it was done charging(The last supercharger) and he never had the range to make the trip to begin with.
          Electron
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          Broder was a man with a mission: getting that picture of a Model S on a flatbed in a "credible", highly influential news outlet like the NYT. His motives are anyone's guess but he definitely succeeded in his mission. I agree that the MSM didn't pick up on the vampire loss story because it's a bit more complex than most puny reporter brains can handle. In this case it's a blessing since it could have caused Tesla a lot of harm for a problem that I assume will mostly be fixed in the end.
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          Oh I agree he should have charged more at the super-charger, he should have plugged in overnight, and he should have charged more that morning, and he should not have kept driving when it told him he would not make it to his destination. But that doesn't change the fact that if the Model S did not draw so much power during the night when turned off, he would have had more energy to help complete his journey. It was a serious issue and it is mostly fixed now . . . but there is still room for improvement.
          John Hansen
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          @Spec, he may have had another few miles, but he would have just been on the flatbed another three miles down the road. Remember that his car was only sitting overnight for 10 hours or so, so he would have only lost about 1%. While this is a real problem, it was completely a nonfactor in the Broder fiasco.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Weapon
          John Hansen: That's not correct. In normal weather, a Tesla Model S (before this patch) will lose 7 miles per night. That's more like 2.5%, not 1%. And Broder wasn't in warm weather, he was in cold weather. It's actually possible to LOSE range while plugged in overnight plugged in on 110V in a Tesla Model S, that's now much energy is lost heating the battery. So he could easily have lost 8kWh overnight plugged in for 10 hours (10% range).
          John Hansen
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          @Rotation: It was actually 7 miles of range per day, meaning 24 hours, not overnight. If overnight was 8 hours, then take a third of what you said. If it was actually losing 7 hours per night, that would be 21 miles in a day, or close to 8% of the total range, and nobody has ever claimed that it lost nearly that much.
      danwat1234
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am glad tha they are reducing vampire losses. This improves the net efficiency of the vehicle. What in the world is screen cleaning mode? Improved creep performance? I test drove a Model S yesterday, it behaved beautifully. Nice creep, I turned down the auto regen to low and with that it behaved just like my automatic civic, except a lot faster and quieter, smoother. Accelerator and brake pedal is very easy to control even at very low speeds, very smooth. Drools.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 4 Months Ago
        @danwat1234
        I would guess that screen cleaning mode is a way to make the touch screen ignore touches while you clean the screen with a cloth. I'm not sure how you get out of screen cleaning mode, though!
          Grendal
          • 4 Months Ago
          @ElectricAvenue
          Steering wheel controls. Or possibly telepathy.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm glad they're still making the car better. For some more critical owners, I'm sure their attitude is that it didn't come fast enough. Personally, I'm appreciative of the early adopters to tolerate this early growing phase so that when I buy my car most of the bugs will be fully worked out.
        purrpullberra
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Me too, it takes a lot of patience to take all of the trouble that has been involved in being an early adopter of a ModelS, especially the wait times. At least the get the pleasure of driving around the only car EVER to get better over time. Kudos to them!
      • 1 Year Ago
      How is the new tow mode different from neutral?
      Electron
      • 1 Year Ago
      According to some the Model S drains ~4KWh per 24hrs from its battery just sitting in the garage. Sounds like an incredibly high number, I wonder if there is owners reading this who have similar experiences. Also I wonder what could cause such losses and how much load there remains after this latest firmware update.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Electron
        That's approximately correct, going from the info I have from over a dozen owners.
        methos1999
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Electron
        A claim like that would need to be substantiated by a couple sources to be believable.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @methos1999
          @Electron From some quick googling, 170Wh per day. A 7W draw. It think 0.2% refers to the percentage of the 85kWh battery pack. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082949_life-with-2013-tesla-model-s-vampire-thirst-for-electricity-at-night Without sleep mode, people lost 8-10 miles / 300 miles of range per day or about 3% of the pack (~2.5kWh/day). With the previous sleep mode that was reduced to about 2-3 miles per day or about 0.67-1% of the pack (~700Wh/day), matching with the manual's claim of 1% per day.
          MTN RANGER
          • 1 Year Ago
          @methos1999
          The power drain has nothing to do with battery conditioning. It is solely due to the power electronics (main computer and ancillary systems).
          Electron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @methos1999
          @ MTN RANGER : so 4+KWh per day was lost just to feed on board computers that were humming away while nobody was even using the car? Amazing. It's the sort of power consumption I would associate with a space heater. @Jake Y: how much does "0.2%" represent in KWH/24 hours?
          Electron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @methos1999
          Reading some discussions on this subject there is lots of WAGs but very few facts. Seems the vampire losses are supposed to be reduced by 50-75% after this fix but it's unclear what they are at now. Presumably 1-2 KWh per day. Still pretty substantial but I suppose those batteries need their conditioning. Okay that's another WAG...
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @methos1999
          " Seems the vampire losses are supposed to be reduced by 50-75% after this fix but it's unclear what they are at now. Presumably 1-2 KWh per day. Still pretty substantial but I suppose those batteries need their conditioning." Tesla PR said there will be a second update that reduces it further (to 0.2%). The previous sleep mode (that they removed because of bugs) shut down the touch screen functions while keeping the car still instant on in terms of driving and I suspect this update is bring back the same sleep mode. The second sleep update will probably shut down the car's main computer, but probably add some way to shorten boot times in order to achieve that 0.2% consumption.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      And not a single dealership was needed to update all these cars. Go Tesla. Any other car would have required scheduling an appointment, taking time off work to go into the dealership, wait 3 hours only to be told they dont have the required software for your particular car, and then scheduling another appointment. This happened to me just recently. Tesla owners wake up to a freshly filled and updated car! I get to go to the gas station in my not updated car and fork over $100 to someone who cant speak english for the honor of using a germ invested pump handle. I cant wait to own one of these.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        Naturally Supercharger handles are not germ infested because only the Chosen Ones use those.
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