How Much Should You Charge Your Tesla

By Henry Farkas

There’s an article in “The Drive” that’s been repeated in other media. Here’s a link if you want to read the whole article.

It’s not important in your day-to-day driving since few people use up all the electricity in their Tesla on a normal day. But, if you have lots of driving scheduled for a day, or if you’re taking a cross-country trip, you have to make allowances for this particularly Tesla problem.

The Results of the Tests

Edmunds, which does reviews on all cars, and which has rated the Tesla Model 3 as the number one best electric vehicle, found that none of the models of Tesla met the EPA range estimates as advertised by Tesla. None of the models. All the other electric cars easily went 20 to 50 miles past their EPA-rated ranges.

How Much Should You Charge Your Tesla

Tesla’s Response

Naturally, the Tesla engineers weighed in, but what they said was not very helpful. They said that the reason the Teslas failed to reach the EPA range is that Edmunds didn’t keep driving them until they couldn’t go an inch farther. Edmunds stopped driving when the range number on the screen went down to zero. So Edmunds repeated the testing and kept driving until the cars actually stopped. Tesla calls this a safety buffer.

Don’t Plan on Using the Safety Buffer

Don’t plan on using the safety buffer. It’s terrible for the battery. It’s just as bad as charging your battery up to 100% and then letting it sit overnight. Don’t do that either. Bad.

Be Kind to Your Battery

We want our batteries to last as long as the rest of the car. So, in my case, I charge to 80% every night. That way, I’m not damaging the battery, and I have more miles than I need for day-to-day driving. I do plan on taking the Tesla on road trips once this furshlugginer pandemic is over. I have the SR+ which, in theory, can go 250 miles on a charge. I won’t plan on 250 miles between supercharges. When my car was new, and I had 1,000 miles or six months of free supercharging, whichever came first, I didn’t actually need any supercharging. Not going anywhere. Pandemic y’know. The six months came first.

My Supercharging Experience

But, since supercharging was included in the price of my car, any time I needed to go somewhere near a supercharger, I went ahead and used the service. Here’s what I found. When the battery is low, the supercharger gives extremely rapid charging. I can’t tell you the exact rate of charge because different superchargers give different rates of charge depending on which generation of supercharger you’re using. But as a general rule, you’ll get extremely rapid charging when the battery is low. You’ll probably get to 80% in 30 to 40 minutes. That last 20% will take longer. A lot longer.

Suggested Strategy

You’ll probably do better in total trip time if you don’t wait around for the last trickle of energy to fill your battery to 100%. Between 80% and 90%, the charging goes painfully slowly. Between 90% and 100%, the charge slows to a trickle. You’ll stop a bit more often, but you’ll spend less total time on the chargers during your trip if you just charge to 80% each time you need to charge. When I take my trip, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Public Health Advice

One last thought for car trips. Elon Musk gives you video games to entertain yourself during a supercharger stop. If you’re on a trip, don’t play the video games. Get out of the car and walk around. Sitting in a car for long periods of time can cause blood clots in your legs. Don’t let that happen.

Tesla Update 2024.20 Lets Matrix Headlights Adapt to Curves, Adds Supercharger Leaderboards and More

By Karan Singh

Tesla has been on a roll with updates recently, and now update 2024.20 was released to employees over the weekend. This update builds on the many features in the Spring Update and adds a few big improvements.

Adaptive Headlights

New updates to Adaptive Headlights are arriving for European cars with matrix headlights. The new update allows the headlights to adapt to curves in the road ahead of you, enabling better illumination. Having the adaptive headlights work for curves is the second major update for matrix headlights. Update 2024.8 added adaptive high-beam support, letting your high beams stay on longer by turning off select LEDs in the headlights.

Update 2024.2 first brought adaptive high beams to the new Model 3, before it was later introduced to older vehicles with matrix headlights. At this time, it’s not clear whether the improvements to headlights around curves will be exclusive to matrix headlights or also support the new Model 3.

How to Tell If You Have Matrix Headlights

How do you know if you have matrix headlights on your Tesla? On the outer edge of the headlight, there will be a large, round projector dome, like in the image below. If there isn’t a dome, those are standard non-matrix headlights.
Another way to tell is to run a stock light show while facing a wall. If the Tesla logo, in letters, pops up, you have matrix headlights.

Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.
Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.

For now, North America still does not have adaptive headlight support, mostly due to legislative and testing issues in the United States. The US recently approved adaptive headlights, and a Tesla employee mentioned they’re working on it. Canada has legalized adaptive headlights since 2018, so we see this deployed in North America at some point in the future.

Supercharger Races on Beach Buggy Racing 2

Tesla is still improving its Arcade functionality, with the addition of local leaderboards at Superchargers in Beach Buggy Racing 2. It appears that each individual Supercharger site will have its own leaderboard, which drivers can compete on while their cars charge. Tesla says there will also be special races to compete in this Beach Buggy Racing 2 update.

Tesla owners can plug in and play with a controller, the touchscreen, or their vehicle’s steering wheel. Thanks to steer-by-wire on the Cybertruck, the actual wheels on the truck won’t move like they do on other Tesla models when playing the game.

We continue to hope that future refreshes to the S, 3, X, and Y will eventually receive steer-by-wire as well, as the feature has quite a few unique uses, whether driving or parked.

Autopilot Strikes and Suspension

An updated Autopilot Strike system, similar to the one that is on Tesla’s upcoming FSD V12.4 update, is on 2024.20 as well. At five strikes, users will be suspended from the use of Autopilot like before, but now Tesla will remove a strike for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike.

FSD 12.4 also improves vision-based monitoring and removes the steering wheel nag, but that’s not in this latest Tesla update, but will likely be added in the future.

Tesla tends to release new Autopilot features in their FSD updates before releasing them to the wider public for regular Autopilot use.

Hot Weather Improvements

The last set of user-end improvements coming in 2024.20 will be related to hot weather, the opposite of 2024.2.6’s cold weather update. This set of changes intends to improve AUTO mode HVAC performance in hot weather, helping to cool down the cabin faster, while also maintaining comfort at lower noise levels.

There have been several updates in the last six months to Tesla’s HVAC systems, all helping to deliver a quieter, more comfortable experience, with one of the last major ones introducing cool-down or warm-up periods before blowing air into the car cabin.

Tesla Software in China Shows 'Employee FSD Beta Program' as Tesla Prepares for Launch

By Karan Singh

Chris Zeng, a Chinese Tesla content creator on X, recently posted an image with Tesla’s Spring Update – 2024.14, with the words “Employee FSD Beta Program: Registered.”

He also confirmed that although this text appears in the vehicle, there are no actual FSD features enabled yet.

FSD Beta Coming to China

Recently, Tesla began to offer Enhanced Autopilot subscriptions in China, and Chinese corporate giant Baidu announced that it will be providing enhanced 3D mapping for Tesla vehicles as well.

On a recent trip to China, Elon Musk spoke with Premier Li Qiang on the rollout of FSD to China. Later follow-ups said that “it may be possible [for FSD to arrive in China] very soon”.

FSD Shadow Mode

Tesla’s cars can operate FSD in Shadow Mode – which means that the vehicle is running FSD in the background without any real output except analytics. This is a common software practice that lets software engineers compare the process they’re testing against an existing known output and compare the results. In this case, Tesla compares what FSD would do to what the driver does, and any discrepancies are reported back to be analyzed.

With this information, we could guess that FSD has been operating in Shadow Mode in China for a while, and this new Employee FSD Beta Program will be the beginning of employee testing in China, providing even more data for the end-to-end process that is FSD V12.

FSD Beta, not Supervised FSD

Most interestingly, the photo refers to “FSD Beta” instead of “Supervised,” which Tesla started using with FSD 12.3.3 in March 2024. This could imply that FSD in China isn’t ready for a “Supervised” variant, and it’s considered to be in more of a testing stage.

In the photo, we can also see that it says “Wave 1,” which is what Tesla calls the group of employees who receive “pre-release” Tesla updates on their personal vehicles. Wave 1 serves as a final test for software before its released to the public. In most cases, the software is rolled out publicly within a couple of weeks, however, there have been times when bugs are found and Tesla releases revision before a public release.

Release Date

Prior to larger releases here in North America, we generally see Tesla ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) testing and verification vehicles on the roads, which have not yet been spotted in China.

Whether these vehicles will be needed in China is up for debate, but once FSD features begin rolling out to employees, we should get a better idea of a public release in China.

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