Autovolt Magazine

Tesla Ends Range Anxiety… or do they?

Earlier this week, Elon Musk tweeted to his 1.79 million followers that, “Tesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety … via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.”

Speculation naturally ran riot over the internet, with many millions taking to forums and twitter, exclaiming their excitement at this alluring tweet from the other Mr Musk. Elon was quick to follow up his tweet with news that the battery swapping facility between San Francisco and Los Angeles, “seems to be working well,” and that battery swapping was not what he was referring to when discussing ending range anxiety.

So, come Thursday, Tesla had a great many fans and followers waiting in anticipation for some major news about some clever software. What was the fuss all about?

The new over-the-air (OTA) update version 6.2 will be made available to Model S owners in a couple of weeks time. The new additions to the software are as follows:

Range Assurance

The Range Assurance application runs quietly in the background, even when navigation is not in use. It communicates realtime with the Tesla Supercharger network and destination chargers, discarding any that are in heavy use or are inactive and warns you before you drive out of range.

On the face of it, this is a mechanism to merely warn a driver if range is less than distance to the nearest Supercharger/charge point in the system.The system aims to be a little more sensible than most though, as it aims to take weather, changes in topography and whether a charge point is nearby but in use already. A map is automatically displayed to the driver too, giving them the information to make their own choice.

Trip Planner

Automatic navigation will take into account the best charging options for a given route. The car looks up locations in realtime, so that it is constantly has the most up-to-date lists and charge point live status. Tesla phrase this technology as, “Essentially, it is a big network of cars communicating dynamically with a big network of chargers.”

The trip planning software works out the length of journey time, including time taken at a charge point and alert a driver as to when their car is charged via the Tesla phone app.

The Tesla updates aren’t exactly what others wanted to hear and the general consensus is that it was a little bit of an anti-climax. However, the software is a free over-the-air update and most competing manufacturers do not offer this feature. Tesla’s bid to continuously improve their products, including those that have already been sold, is sure to win them fans the world over. It is also likely to prompt other manufacturers to begin offering similar services. The 6.2 update will be made available to Model S the world over, starting in two weeks time. It should be noted that cars without access to the Supercharger network will still be able to receive the update, but not benefit from it accessing the Supercharger network.

Also worthy of mention in the forthcoming 6.2 update are:

  • New Safety Features
    As most people know, Model S already has the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested. We are taking that further by adding important active safety features. This release includes:
  • Automatic Emergency Braking, which will engage in the event of an unavoidable collision in order to reduce risk of impact
  • Blind Spot Warning alerts you when drivers behind you are dangerously close
  • Side Collision Warning (front collision warning is already enabled)
  • Valet Mode allows you to place Model S into a restricted mode, limiting its speed, locking the glove box and frunk, and hiding your personal information. It conveniently and discreetly protects your Model S when somebody else is behind the wheel.
  • Other updates
    New audio codec for all cars to improve sound quality, particularly in standard audio
    Radio tuning improvements
    Active cruise control refinements

Source; Tesla blog