Tesla has added Chinese communication app WeChat to its vehicles in China. They also added handwriting recognition, among other features.
Tesla’s version 2022.44.30.8 update in China added a host of features, which included Apple Music, a microcredit program, MangoTV, and a handwriting keyboard, according to IT House.
In China, WeChat is the go-to app for everything from calling and video chatting with friends and family to purchasing goods, sharing your location, and playing video games. The application is owned and developed by Tencent Technology, a major technology and entertainment company based in Shenzhen.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said in a podcast with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley that WeChat’s integrations are amazing and that “you can live on WeChat” in China, and the rest of the world doesn’t have anything remotely close to WeChat’s capabilities.
“We don’t have anything like WeChat outside of China,” Musk said at the time. “So, how about if we just copy WeChat?”
Musk has hinted at transitioning Twitter to being a similar all-in-one platform. “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk wrote on Twitter last year.
Tesla adds WeChat and handwriting recognition to its vehicles in China
In addition to WeChat, Tesla also added a new keyboard type to Teslas in China. Users now have the option of handwriting directly on the screen, which the keyboard will then translate into the closest Chinese character.
The feature appears to work by giving you a space to draw your character, it will then display an array of matching characters that you can select from.
For script-based languages, this makes text input much easier because of the large number of characters in the language.
We may see Tesla add handwriting recognition support in more languages such as Japanese in a future update. However, there likely isn't a need for such a keyboard in most regions that have much smaller alphabets.
Video of New Features
IT House briefly explained what this WeChat integration means in Tesla (translated from Chinese): “In addition, this update also [adds] the online microcredit program to the vehicle, allowing the vehicle to offer more services.”
Tesla’s making headway in China
In October of last year, a survey conducted by 12365Auto out of China about EV reliability listed Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3 vehicles as two of the most reliable electric vehicles on the Chinese market. The study found that there were an average 19.2 complaints per 10,000 EVs in China.
The data, which was shared on Twitter by @Moneyball_R, showed that the Model Y received only 2.22 complaints, with the Model 3 trailing slightly behind at 2.7 complaints.
In a move that potentially signals a brighter horizon for Tesla Inc, CEO Elon Musk has embarked on a landmark visit to China. Engaging with key officials and ministries, this significant step might lay a robust foundation for the company's future in the world's largest electric vehicle market.
Deepening Ties with China's Ministries
Elon Musk's tour of China started with meetings at the commerce and industry ministries. His interaction with officials from these important government bodies, which exercise regulatory oversight of the automotive industry, signifies the deepening of ties between Tesla and China's government. This potential easing of pathways for Tesla's ambitious growth plans in China indicates an increasingly positive relationship with these integral regulatory bodies.
Boosting Production Capacity
This visit is strategic, coming at a time when Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory, a vital cog in Tesla's global manufacturing wheel, is facing challenges in scaling its production capacity. This is occurring amid intensifying competition from Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers. Last year, the factory produced over 700,000 Model Y and Model 3 vehicles, contributing more than half of Tesla's global output. Musk's engagement with Chinese officials could pave the way for smoother expansion plans, thereby fortifying Tesla's position in the global EV landscape.
Advancing Autonomous Driving Features
Tesla's Full Self-Driving features, currently available in the US and Canada as part of the FSD Beta software, is a major focal point for investors during Musk's visit. Securing clearance from Chinese regulators for these features could give Tesla a competitive edge. It could enhance the company's appeal to the tech-savvy Chinese consumer base, spurring further adoption of Tesla's vehicles.
Strengthening Partnerships with Local Suppliers
Musk's interaction with Zeng Yuqun, the chairman of CATL, a Chinese battery giant and a key supplier for Tesla, underscores another significant aspect of his visit. Strengthening this vital partnership could fortify Tesla's supply chain resilience and bolster its production capabilities.
The Impact of Musk's Visit on Tesla's Future in China
Musk's visit signals a new era of strengthened relations between Tesla and the Chinese government. His commitment to understanding and engaging with China's unique market dynamics shows a determination to cement Tesla's presence in the country. By fostering these important relationships, Musk is making strides toward securing a stable and prosperous future for Tesla in China.
Elon Musk's visit to China promises to be a significant milestone for Tesla. By fostering relationships with Chinese officials and industry partners, he's setting the stage for Tesla's growth in China's booming EV market. With an increasingly cooperative relationship with regulatory bodies, a robust supply chain, and the potential to bring cutting-edge technology to consumers, Tesla is poised for success.
Uber now has access to Tesla vehicle data that allows it to limit trips within range
In a monumental move towards the future of ridesharing, Tesla and Uber have unveiled a new feature — a range-based trip planner. This integration allows Tesla drivers to connect their vehicles to the Uber app and schedule rides based on the remaining battery charge of their electric vehicles. This innovation is set to redefine the experience of both drivers and passengers in the ridesharing space.
Bridging Tesla and Uber: The New Age of Ridesharing
First observed by Tesla enthusiast and former Uber driver Sofiaan, this range-based planner enables Tesla owners to accept rides in the Uber app based on their vehicle's current charge. The feature is activated only when users permit it, and once enabled, it assigns rides that can be comfortably completed with the existing battery level, leaving a small buffer to reach a Supercharger.
While introducing this feature marks an exciting leap in integrating electric vehicles into the ridesharing world, it has raised some eyebrows over privacy and data concerns. The new feature requires drivers to allow Uber access to their vehicle's data through the Tesla API. While it may cause some apprehension, this innovation is a significant aid for drivers who may be unsure about their Tesla's range or those experiencing range anxiety.
The Driver's Perspective: The Challenge of Balancing Charge and Availability
Driving for Uber or Lyft with an EV can be challenging. Rideshare drivers need to balance the need to recharge their vehicles with the necessity to remain available for passenger pick-ups. This new range-based planner alleviates some of this stress by intelligently allocating rides based on the remaining battery life. Such a feature could be particularly advantageous for those operating in areas with limited fast-charging infrastructure.
This range-based planner promises to improve the rideshare experience for Tesla drivers. With it, drivers will only be offered rides they can complete with their existing charge. This eliminates the dilemma of declining rides due to insufficient battery life, which could result in a penalty from Uber.
Ridesharing and the Future of Autonomous Vehicles
As we look toward the future, this development prompts larger questions about the ridesharing landscape and the advent of autonomous vehicles. Companies like Tesla, Uber, and Lyft, along with emerging players such as Waymo, Cruise, and Ford's new autonomy division, continue to innovate and compete. With the ongoing shifts towards electric and autonomous vehicles, these new technologies and collaborations will play an essential role in shaping the future of transportation.
This initiative by Tesla and Uber is a vital step toward integrating electric vehicles into the mainstream. As we anticipate the further transformation of ridesharing services, one thing remains clear — the ride toward green transportation is accelerating, and Tesla and Uber are at the forefront of this revolution.
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