What to do with your Tesla when going on vacation or storing it for longer periods of time

By Nuno Cristovao

We’ve covered how much to charge your Tesla for everyday use, but when going on vacation or planning to store an electric car we have just a little extra planning to do.

Always keep your Tesla plugged in when going on vacation

The most crucial part of a Tesla is the battery. One advantage Tesla has over the competition is their excellent battery regulation. Batteries in a Tesla last longer when compared to the competition due to Tesla’s excellent battery monitoring.

There are four major contributors that lead to lithium-ion battery degradation, which we would like to minimize. The first two we don’t have much control over, which are the age of the battery and the number of charge cycles (the number of times the battery has been charged and discharged).

However, the last two, we do have control over. Lithium-ion batteries don’t like to remain in a very high, or very low state of charge. That doesn’t mean we should never charge to 100% or use it down to 5%, but it’d be wise to minimize those occurrences. The last thing is the temperature of the battery. For the most part, Tesla handles this automatically. The batteries are heated and cooled to stay in a healthy temperature range without you ever knowing, even if the car is off. The car will also limit power when driving if necessary.

If you’re going on vacation and leaving your car at home or at the airport here are some things to consider.

If you can leave your car plugged in while at home or the airport

  • If you can leave your car charging, then absolutely do this, this will make things much easier and let the car control everything itself without you ever having to worry about it
  • Lithium-ion batteries are best stored at around 50% of charge, so set your charge level in the Tesla app or the car to 50%. The car will automatically use some energy when needed to cool or heat the battery, and it’ll get this power directly from the power source instead of Tesla’s batteries.
  • Keep the car in a garage or under a cover if possible, this will help keep your car away from extreme elements such as snow, ice and heat. In general, this is just good practice.

If you can not leave your car plugged in at home or the airport

  • If you can not leave your car plugged in while going on vacation there are several more things we need to account for to prevent any possible issues longer term.
  • If the weather is extreme, whether it’s extremely cold or hot and you can not park in an isolated area and are going away for more than two weeks, then you may want to consider a different mode of transportation. If the car battery is drained completely, it could lead to battery damage since the car can no longer keep the batteries at an ideal temperature and it’ll no longer be able to protect itself from harsh weather.
  • If you're going to be gone more than a few days, try to have your car charged to 90% as it will consume some energy as it's parked. If you're only leaving for a day or two, then a 70 - 80% charge should be more than fine.
  • Since your car will be unplugged and unable to charge, you can help preserve the battery by turning off Sentry Mode if it won’t be needed as this consumes quite a bit of energy.
  • You will also want to turn off Stand By Mode in the Autopilot menu. Standy By Mode keeps your car's computer on so that you have instant access to features such as Summon. However, it does use additional energy.
  • To further preserve the car's battery, you can turn off Cabin overheat protection, which is used to keep the cabin from overheating. The car attempts to keep the cabin below 105°F.
  • Keep the car away from harsh weather, if it's winter then keeping it in a parking garage and away from wind will help. If it's the dead of summer, then also try to keep it under a covered area in the shade if possible.
  • If you’d like to check in on your car, it will need to have a good cellular connection.
  • Before leaving, confirm that the car has a good connection so that you can check on the battery level if needed. However, do not open up the Tesla app often, as doing so will wake up the car and keep it awake for about 15 minutes, consuming more energy. Only check on the car if you absolutely need to.

Keep in mind the amount of charge you’ll need in your car when heading back home or reaching your first charging destination. If you’re leaving your car plugged in, then you can expect the car to remain at the same charge percentage if there are no power outages. However, if the car is not plugged in, it may have a significantly less charge when you return.

As you can tell, it will be much easier and safer if you’re able to leave your car plugged in while going on vacation, especially if it’s for an extended period of time.

If you plan to store your Tesla for longer periods of time, you should find a place to keep your Tesla plugged in and follow the “if you can leave your car plugged in” tips above.

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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