New Model S cars feature a glass roof that is lighter and lets in five times more light than previous versions
Tesla has quietly refreshed its Model S vehicles, introducing a new "high-visibility glass roof," improved brake pads, and many other features. In an email to owners, the company lists several new tweaks to the latest Model S.
The new, Ultra Red paint grabbed all the attention. Tesla unveiled its high-chroma color and multi-layered paint process, delivering an exceptionally vibrant finish. But several other features in that Ultra Red launch video (below) are worth just as much attention.
Let the Sun Shine in - Not the UV
The new and improved panoramic roof for the Model S lets in more light and provides a clearer view of the sky, day or night, according to the message from Tesla. The new glass roof weighs less than the previous version and lets in five times more light, while still providing the same level of heat and UV protection. According to Tesla, the new roof also improves handling by lowering the center of gravity.
In addition, Tesla has integrated its new hardware 4 computer for Autopilot and self-driving capabilities, and the Model S now offers a free option of a round steering wheel.
New Brakes Put to the Test
Tesla's vehicle updates are always highly anticipated; the latest refresh is no exception. The improved brake pads with higher thermal capacity are designed to improve the Model S Plaid's braking performance.
Tesla announced the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit in late 2021, but it is still not available for purchase. Tesla says they will be available in "early 2023." The kit costs $20,000 and is said to make the Model S Plaid a true monster on the track.
Although the ceramic brake kit isn't available to the public yet, test driver Sebastian Vittel raced a Model S Plaid taking on the Circuit de Bresse race track in France with the new performance brakes (video below). Despite the track being best suited for small, nimble cars, the Model S Plaid with the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit was able to set a track record for street-legal cars on non-semi-slick tires with a lap time of 1:33.610. This record was set with the vehicle's original tires, indicating that the brakes were a significant factor in the vehicle's impressive performance.
Tesla's latest refresh of the Model S includes new features like a high-visibility glass roof, improved brake pads, and the integration of hardware 4 for Autopilot and full self-driving capabilities. The Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit's impressive performance on the track demonstrates Tesla's dedication to enhancing the vehicle's driving experience. Tesla remains at the forefront of the electric vehicle industry with their continuous improvement and innovation.
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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.
Tesla is introducing the ability to track your tire mileage in update 2023.20
Preparations are underway for Tesla's next software update, version 2023.20. Although currently in testing, this update has been drawing attention since it was first noticed last week. Considering Tesla's 2023.12 update brought numerous new features, it appears this next may be smaller. However, we now have our first look at some of the features included in Tesla's 2023.20 update.
Ability to Track Tire Mileage
A noteworthy improvement under the upcoming update pertains to tire service tracking. Post-update, vehicle owners can track how many miles have been driven since their last tire service. This feature can prove valuable for monitoring mileage since your last tire rotation, changing to new tires, or switching between season-specific tires.
You or your service center will need to manually reset the counter each time your tires are serviced. You can view the mileage traveled or reset your counter by navigating to Controls > Service.
The official release notes state:
Go to Controls > Service to see how many miles it's been since your last tire service.
When you get your tires rotated, replaced, or swapped, tap 'Reset' to reset the counter.
Furthering Global Reach: Text Size Adjustment
Another feature gaining more ground is text size adjustment. While 'Text Size' was introduced in the 2023.12 update, the ability to adjust the size of the text in the vehicle's UI was limited to select languages. The feature has now been extended to all languages supported by Tesla. This expansion affirms Tesla's commitment to accessibility for its global user base, ensuring a seamless experience across different regions and languages.
While the Text Size feature in update 2023.12 only applied to the Model 3 and Model Y, it's not clear whether update 2023.20 also introduces the feature to the Model S and Model X. Based on Tesla's feature release history, this feature will likely apply to at least the redesigned Model S and Model X in the futre, but it's not immediately clear whether that is happening with this update.
Large text size feature is now available in all supported languages.
To update your settings, go to Controls > Display > Text Size.
Although Tesla does not provide release dates for upcoming software updates, we may see update 2023.20 start rolling out in the next week or two. This timing can change if Tesla uncovers issues that need to be addressed before a public release.
2023.12 Update: A Look Back
As we anticipate the rollout of 2023.20, it's worth reflecting on the last major update - 2023.12.1. This update significantly enriched Tesla's features, particularly for Model 3 and Model Y. One standout was steering wheel customization. A long press on the left scroll button revealed a host of adjustable settings and functions.
Moreover, introducing the new search function facilitated more accessible access to controls and settings, along with points of interest that included photos and reviews. The ability to adjust wipers using the steering wheel scroll wheel emerged as a valuable, undocumented feature.
Perhaps one of the most user-friendly updates was the option of Standard or Large text sizes for the touchscreen display, which now applies to all languages under the 2023.20 update.
Other improvements included optional gear chimes for Model 3/Y, the transition of Tesla's Spotify player to a web-based format, enhanced phone call controls, and vision-based speed assist feature expansion. Tesla also broadened Zoom availability to more countries, added writing support for legacy Model S and Model X in China, and continued to make user interface enhancements.
While this is an early look at the upcoming features update 2023.20, it provides a glimpse into Tesla's continuing pursuit of improving user experience and convenience. There may be additional features in this update that are not listed here since not all Tesla features are available for every vehicle or region.
As we wait for the public release, it's evident that Tesla continues to push boundaries in its software development, setting high standards in the electric vehicle market.
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