Posted on March 19, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Today we followed along with Tesla CEO Elon Musk's announcement in which (earlier this week) he promised to "end range anxiety." Today’s much-anticipated announcement covered Software Update 6.2 introducing new features that expand the car’s intelligence in order to eliminate range anxiety entirely, enhance Model S’s active safety features, and bring Tesla closer to having autonomous capabilities. "It's basically impossible to run out [of battery power] unless you do so intentionally," Musk said. Here is a recording of the call (with media questions answered) - see below.
Tesla Motors also issued a Press Kit* to augment the conference call and we've synthesized the major highlights and an infographic (courtesy of Tesla Motors) immediately below.
By introducing Range Assurance and Trip Planner into Model S’s navigation, long distance travel is now foolproof. Navigation automatically routes Model S through Tesla’s charging network. Currently 90% of the US population is within 175 miles of a Tesla Supercharger; finding quick and convenient charging has never been easier. Include Tesla Destination Chargers and 95% of the US Population is now within ample range of Tesla’s charging network.
Model S owners can now take road trips with confidence. Simply select a destination, and Navigation will now automatically route through the appropriate superchargers if charging is needed for your trip. Trip Planner will select a route to minimize driving and charging time. At each supercharger stop, Trip Planner will notify you via the iPhone app when you’ve charged enough to continue on your trip. Android app users can monitor charging needed for the trip via the Charging screen.
Automatic routing along Tesla’s Charging Network
Drivers can choose a final destination and Model S will route them through charging locations automatically. Navigation will display the fastest route to the destination and break the route into legs between Superchargers, displaying anticipated charge times at each station in a simplified list view.
Push Notifications at Superchargers
Model S will notify drivers via the App when they have enough juice to depart for the next Supercharger or their final destination.
Model S does the thinking for you. By continually monitoring and advising owners when they are at risk of driving beyond the range of reliable charging locations, “range anxiety” is gone. When the warning is triggered, Model S provides a list of Superchargers, Tesla Destination Chargers, and locations where the vehicle has previously charged that are within current range. Drivers then select a charging destination from the list and Navigation will provide turn-by-turn guidance along with the predicted battery energy when you get there.
The new Driver Assistance features in 6.2 are designed to intelligently anticipate and react to potentially dangerous situations. Since the unveiling of autopilot in fall 2014, Tesla has pushed a number of active safety features to Model S via wireless software updates that enhance the safety of Model S and bring Tesla closer to rolling out full autopilot capabilities to vehicles on the road.
Automatic Emergency Braking
This new Collision Avoidance Assist feature automatically engages the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision. Automatic Emergency Braking will stop applying the brakes when the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the brake pedal, or sharply turns the steering wheel.
Blind Spot Warning
Blind Spot Warning assists the driver to change lanes safely. When Model S is travelling between 20 mph (30 km/h) and 85 mph (140 km/h) and detects a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot, a white arc will appear on the instrument panel near the bottom of the speedometer. If a collision with the vehicle becomes likely, two red arcs will appear, the steering wheel will vibrate, and the driver will hear a chime.
Valet Mode conveniently and discreetly limits Model S’s driving performance and restricts access to certain settings and personal information. With the touch of a button, owners can place a limit on speed, lock the glove box and frunk, and disable personal information like driver profiles and homelink settings.
The top speed for P85D is now 155 mph (250 km/h).
A software update to Model S will also include "auto steering" that should be ready in "about three months," Elon Musk explained on the call. "We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything," Musk said. But he also noted that: "There's an expectation that a pilot is paying attention on an airplane... [it's the] same for Model S, you're still expected to pay attention, but [Model S] should take care of you if you have moments of distraction." Also, in the future you'll be able to "summon" your Model S to your location on private property, as well as send your Model S back to its garage to put itself to sleep (while closing the garage door).
We're excited to see more details for Software Update 7.0 as he teased a few of these tidbits and (once again) promised the Model X launch this summer. Lots of news is coming and we'll be sure to cover it for you.
*Source: Tesla Motors