On a recent airing of The Colbert Report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that with the next software update for the Model S electric car, owners will be able to name their vehicles. Now, version 6.0 has been uploaded to consumers’ cars, and the software has many more features than just giving owners the ability to name their ride.
On Friday, Tesla Motors reported that the Model S software update will not only allow for naming of the car, but also allow drivers to use their smartphones to start the vehicle. This could be a life saver for drivers who lose or forget their key fob. There is also a safety feature built into the smartphone app. Owners must input their password each time they use it, so, if their phone is stolen, it will not become free access to their electric car for the lucky someone who has their phone.
Aside from naming the car and starting the car, the software update introduced other useful additions that will enhance owners driving experience in the Model S from Tesla. Traffic-based navigation with a driver data sharing will allow cars in the same areas to update current conditions, time driving in areas, allowing drivers to select alternate routes to avoid traffic delays. When a driver inputs a destination into the navigation system, the car will check traffic conditions and data received from other Model S drivers and adjust the route for the quickest travel time.
The update also included a new calendar that will display on the Tesla’s iPad like touch panel. This addition will allow drivers to access calendar information from their smartphone on the main control display of the car, and offer the ability to connect scheduled appointments with directions through the updated navigation system.
Potentially the addition of location-based air suspension to the software update will become drivers favorite feature. The suspension system, which can be adjusted for different ride heights, can now remember and automatically adjust the suspension when the car enters an area that needs very high clearance, like a road construction area or an area with rough or gravel roads, or lower on freeways and highways for a more aerodynamic profile for better economy.
Speaking of economy, there is also a power management update that allows the driver to place the car in a new save energy mode that will expand the vehicles driving range. This update appears to bring some very usable tools to the vehicles that will enhance driving experience of the Model S.
Tesla’s over the air updates to cars wherever they are is unique. Most cars from other manufacturers need to be taken to dealerships for new software updates. This year alone, 30,000 cars have received over the air updates, similar to updates to smartphones, and a majority of those cars were from Musk’s company.
While giving owners the ability to name their Model S, the other Tesla features in this software update seem to be a little more useful. Previous software updates brought drivers a energy-saving sleep mode, an assist for starting on hills, and smart suspension controls. The current update seems to be the biggest so far, offering drivers a slew of new features.
By Carl Auer