Tesla's Holiday Update has made the most wonderful time of year the hap-happiest season of all. Adding to the parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow have been significant advancements to the user interface, the apps and the farts. So, in the spirit of reflection, let's look back at the last five years of updates courtesy of Santa Musk and the Tesla Elves.
The 2018 update was significant because it was the first to go to the Model 3. Yes, it's hard to believe the Model 3 was celebrating its first Christmas five years ago. This update brought the browser, calendar and energy app to the 3, plus much more to the rest of the lineup.
Navigate on Autopilot made its first appearance in Beta. It suggests lane changes and monitors surrounding traffic to make adjustments to ensure you don't get stuck behind slower traffic. Autosteer and Auto Lane Change were also combined in a beta feature. If you were around when these features were first introduced, you know exactly how far they've come. Plus, Blindspot Warning was introduced. You can see how these are now utilized with today's vehicles, combining the technology as the company works towards Full Self Driving.
The Model 3 wipers control early on
Another significant advancement in how Tesla operates came with increased regenerative braking. Tesla continues to lead the EV market in regenerative braking, and this update allowed more kinetic energy to return power to the battery.
There was more fun in 2019, with the addition of the Tesla Theater, a new arcade game (Cuphead) and more media options. But, first, carrying over from 2018, yet another piece in the Autopilot collection was unveiled with Smart Summon, allowing users to have their Tesla come to them.
The Model 3 UI has seen many changes over the last five years
The Theater brought Netflix into Tesla, of course, when in park, so those waiting for their spouse to finish Christmas shopping could sit back and binge-watch their favorite shows. Nothing to watch? Tesla has you covered with Caraoke. This road trip favorite was also launched in 2019 alongside the inclusion of Spotify in the US market.
In 2020, Tesla stuffed three new games down the chimney and into cars worldwide. The games were Cat Quest, the Battle of Polytopia and Solitaire. Is anyone else happy Steam was added in 2022?
2021 was a magical year allowing users access to the side camera to act as a blind spot camera. This welcome improvement caught Tesla up to the legacy automakers in that regard. From a usability standpoint, the company made the app launcher customizable and simplified controls so drivers can focus on navigation and primary controls, although there were some UI changes that needed to be gradually rolled back or reworked.
Three more video games were added, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Battle for Polytopia (Multiplayer) and Sudoku. Did I mention I'm happy Steam was introduced in 2022?
Since the update came out in December, its fitting cold weather improvements and automated seat heaters were included. Tesla also introduced the ability for seat heaters to be automated based on the desired cabin temperature. The Car Wash Mode was added, and perhaps one of the most used features, Sentry Mode Live Camera Access.
That brings us to 2022. The year Steam was put inside the newer Model S and Model X cars, giving users the ability to access more than 50,000 high-end, high-resolution games. Apple Music, MyQ garage door opener, and Zoom were also wrapped up and put under the tree.
Tesla's incredibly generous gifting continues to have hearts glowing over the holidays. Just 12 months until the next big update. Let us know what's on your wishlist and be sure to stay on the nice list!
A Look Back at the Model 3's Interface
Take a look at the Model 3's interface and its early reviews back in 2018.
Don't miss out!
Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about Tesla's upcoming features and new software updates.
Tesla has signaled a more open approach by allowing other automakers to access its Supercharger network. This move, spurred on by a groundbreaking deal with Ford, is more than a simple act of corporate benevolence. Superchargers, now a significant profit center for Tesla, could potentially revolutionize the electric vehicle charging infrastructure by making it universally accessible.
Patents Unleashed: A Closer Look
Tesla has also made strides in the world of intellectual property, opening up select patents to other automakers. This move echoes a similar step taken nearly a decade ago when Tesla announced an open-source approach to its patents. However, the details warrant attention. Tesla isn't giving away these patents out of pure altruism. There's an important caveat; Tesla requires a cross-license deal, effectively asking for access to the other automakers' patents in return. Critics argue that this does not constitute "free" access. It's a strategic maneuver aimed at mutual growth rather than unilateral generosity.
FSD and Autopilot: A Bold Proposition
Adding to the mix, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced the possibility of licensing Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies to other automakers. This move could transform the landscape of autonomous driving by making Tesla's advanced technologies more widely accessible. However, the practical implementation is a complex process. Past discussions about licensing self-driving technology to other automakers have not materialized, indicating potential hurdles ahead.
An Industry Gamechanger
While the recent developments have generated much buzz, the long-term implications for Tesla and the electric vehicle industry remain unclear. Directly licensing technologies and working with companies that have designed them is a viable way to accelerate technological adoption. Tesla's moves could pave the way for more partnerships akin to its early collaborations with Daimler and Toyota. However, the willingness and ability of other automakers to integrate Tesla's technology remain to be seen.
The overarching narrative here aligns with Tesla's mission statement to help accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. By allowing broader access to its technologies, Tesla stands to propel the entire industry forward, even if it potentially narrows its competitive edge. But as Musk stated, "Patents do not define technology leadership...but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers."
Whether this bold gambit will yield the intended results or backfire remains a question only time will answer. For now, Tesla continues to push boundaries, challenging the status quo in its relentless pursuit of a sustainable future.
In the ongoing quest to deliver advanced vehicular technology, Tesla never fails to surprise. Tesla enthusiasts have new reasons to rejoice as a host of features are set to augment Service Mode in an upcoming software update.
Pioneering Enhancements: From Diagnostics to Calibrations
With every update, Tesla's futuristic touch becomes more evident. Michal Gapinski, creator of the Tesla Android Project, which famously enables Apple CarPlay in Teslas through a web-based solution, has shared some upcoming features to Tesla's Service Mode with us. In a forthcoming software update, Service Mode will house new diagnostic screens for seat belts, the HVAC system, and what appears to be a new window calibration screen. These screens promise to provide a comprehensive, accessible system check-up that offers valuable insights into your Tesla's health.
Sealt Belt Service Menu
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode
The first new Service Mode menu appears to display details about Tesla's seat sensors, seat belts and the restraint control module (RCM). The car's visualization is displayed from the top with various areas are highlighted around the vehicle including what appears to be the seat sensors, seat belt buckles and retractors. Tesla displayed how they're tied together and how they communicate with the RCM.
New Window Calibration Menu
Tesla is making improvements to its window calibration system
But that's not all. Tesla also appears to be adding a new menu for calibrating vehicle windows. This updated window calibration menu features a new visualization, lets you easily calibrate each window individually and displays the generation of the hardware installed.
A particularly intriguing feature in the upcoming update is a dedicated service mode for Tesla's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. This unique feature will display fan RPM and temperatures in various areas, seemingly allowing a multi-angle view of the HVAC system's visualization.
Though Service Mode is tailored for technicians or Tesla owners with a deep understanding of their vehicle, it offers a new level of engagement, providing detailed insights that can help troubleshoot, reset, calibrate, and even configure new parts.
Accessing Service Mode
To access Service Mode, navigate to Controls > Software, and tap and hold on the vehicle's model name that appears underneath the car's image until a water ripple appears. Then release and type 'service' in the dialog box before hitting 'ok'. It is crucial, however, not to make changes unless you understand the implications fully, as they could negatively affect the vehicle. Moreover, DO NOT drive with Service Mode activated, as it disables critical safety features like traction control.
While the new Service Mode features are not in production yet, they are expected to debut in an upcoming update. As we eagerly await these enhancements, one thing is clear - Tesla continues to push the envelope in providing owners with an unparalleled, comprehensive understanding of their vehicles.
Stay tuned for more updates on these exciting developments as they're expected in an upcoming software update.
TeslaFi is a service that logs your drives and charging sessions so that you can later refer back to them. We highly recommend checking them out if you use your car for business trips and would like to keep track of reimbursements, if you like to see how much you spend on charging or if you just love statistics. View their about us page and see everything they have to offer!
The EV Universe newsletter reports distill more than 100 EV news sources into a 10-minute read every week. We cover both Tesla and the rest of the EV industry. Join over 3,000 EV geeks like us and subscribe to the free weekly newsletter here.