Tesla 'Spring Update' Update Adds Ability to View Cabin Filter Health

By Karan Singh
The cabin filter's health is displayed as a percentage
The cabin filter's health is displayed as a percentage

Tesla’s Service Mode, a feature that allows both users and technicians to diagnose and view vehicle information, has had several features added to it recently. Chief among them for everyday Tesla owners is a health meter for your vehicle’s Cabin Filter.

Cabin Filter Health

The update displays a “Cabin Filter Health” UI in the HVAC section of Service Mode. This health readout is shown as a percentage of health, with a lower number indicating that the cabin filter needs to be replaced. However, we’ve also seen some users report they had a value over 100%. The health meter is intended to provide an approximation of the useful life of your Cabin Air filter.

Tesla likely approximates the health of the cabin filter based on the filter's age and how many hours the HVAC system has been used. It may also consider the fan speed of the HVAC system to account for higher airflow through the filter.

When to Replace

In general, Tesla recommends replacing the Cabin Air Filter every 2 years, and that the HEPA filter, for vehicles with access to Bio-Weapon Defence Mode, be replaced every 3 years, but this can vary depending on usage and the amount of debris going into the cabin.

Tesla is one of the few manufacturers, if not the only one, that runs air continuously through the cabin filter, regardless if it’s coming in from the outside or inside the vehicle when the recirculating air option is on. This helps the air inside the vehicle to become cleaner as it continues to be filtered.

How to Replace

The Cabin and HEPA Air filter replacement procedure is straightforward and could be a DIY task. Tesla provides instructions on a model-by-model basis on how to replace them, but in general, the basic steps are below.

The filter replacements can differ based on model year as well. High-voltage connections are also passing through the HVAC module, so extra caution is needed. We recommend reading your vehicle’s specific instructions before proceeding. They will advise against touching any electrical connections.

Basic Replacement Instructions

1.      Turn off Climate Control

2.      Remove the passenger-side floor mat and move the seat fully back.

3.      Use a pry tool to release the clips that hold the right-side front footwell cover to the instrument panel, and then disconnect the two electrical connectors inside.

4.      Working from top-to-bottom, use a trim tool to release the right-side panel from the center console.

5.      A single T20 screw secures the cabin filter cover, remove the screw and cover.

6.      Fold the 2 tabs securing the filter away, and then pull the upper and lower filters out.

7.      Ensure that the arrows on the new filters face towards the rear of the vehicle, and install them.

8.      Proceed through steps 6-1 in reverse to reassemble.

Once again, these steps vary by vehicle configuration, model year, and do not apply to legacy vehicles without a heat pump.

Tesla Vehicles Spotted With LiDAR: What Do They Use It For?

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently hit the news for purchasing approximately $2M in LiDAR sensors from Luminar, one of Tesla’s long-term suppliers. You’ve probably seen photos of Tesla’s Semi and various Tesla models, including the Model 3 and Model Y sporting LIDAR equipment on the roof. These cars drive around with manufacturer plates scanning streets and highways.

However, many people confuse Tesla’s purpose in purchasing LiDAR equipment with using it for FSD versus testing. So, let’s look at what LiDAR is, and why Tesla uses it on its Fleet Validation Vehicles.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detecting and Ranging – essentially using lasers to measure distances. A laser pulse is sent out, and the time it takes to return is measured – providing extremely accurate distance measurements.

Some companies working on self-driving vehicles, including Waymo and BYD, use LiDAR as part of their self-driving suites, but Tesla is one of the few stand-outs that does not. Even Rimac’s “Verne” Robotaxi – which uses self-driving technology from Mobileye, also uses LiDAR.

While LiDAR can produce extremely accurate and high-quality 3D environments, it comes with its downsides as well. Not only is LiDAR costly and requires large gear strapped to a vehicle, but it also can not be used in bad weather and can have interference issues if there are other strong light sources present.

Why Does Tesla Use LiDAR?

A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
Not a Tesla App

At Autonomy Day in 2019, Elon Musk mentioned that LiDAR isn’t the solution for self-driving cars – it's just a crutch. Thus, Tesla hasn’t used LiDAR for any production self-driving software.

Instead, Tesla uses it exactly how it's described – they use it to gather ground-truth data. This data is then used to feed Tesla’s Full Self Driving system – which helps validate its vision-only system's accuracy. LiDAR provides very accurate measurements to help ensure that FSD’s perception of space is accurate – and is only used by Tesla to ensure that its AI technology which is the brains of FSD is capable of accurately interpreting depth from just visual data.

Tesla’s vision-only system has been seen to be extremely accurate, with Vision-only Autopark being able to park in even narrower and tighter spaces faster than the previous version that relied on ultrasonic sensors.

We’ll likely continue to see Tesla purchase LiDAR systems, as well as use them for validation well into the future.

Tesla's Upcoming Robotaxi Event in August Delayed, According to Bloomberg

By Karan Singh
Sugar Design

In a report from Bloomberg, it is claimed that Tesla will be delaying its much-anticipated 8/8 Robotaxi event by two months to October 2024.

While sources other than Bloomberg haven't confirmed this report, Bloomberg has a positive track record of reporting on financial decisions. We’ll be sure to update the article if there is confirmation on X from Elon Musk or another Tesla senior official.

Tesla’s stock has dropped nearly 8.5% over the day, ending back-to-back gains over the last two weeks. It closed yesterday at $ 241 after hitting a peak of $270 earlier in the day before the news broke.

Why the Delay?

The delay – of approximately two months – has been communicated internally, but not publicly announced just yet. Bloomberg goes on to mention that the design team was told to rework certain elements of the Cybercab, necessitating the delay.

If Bloomberg’s report is correct, it sounds like Tesla’s unveil event will be largely focused on showing off the vehicle, instead of demoing how it will work. Of course, it could still be both, but given past events, Tesla has always shown off the vehicle years before it hits production.

Rimac recently showed off their version of robotaxi vehicle named Verne, and surprisingly, it could almost pass for Tesla’s own robotaxi. A lot of design cues in Rimac’s version are elements we have already seen or expect to see in Tesla’s autonomous taxi.

A recent Tesla patent revealed that Tesla is incorporating a sanitation system into their robotaxi that will be responsible for analyzing and cleaning the vehicle’s interior, although the delay itself is likely tied more to a physical feature rather than software.

Another element we know almost nothing about is how Tesla plans to charge these robotic taxis. Will they rely on the existing charge port and adapt a solution like the robotic charging arm (video below) we saw almost eight years ago, or will wireless charging or a dock finally become realized?

While the delay for Tesla’s event appears to be related to the vehicle’s design itself and not further development of FSD, Tesla is wasting no time in getting FSD working for the upcoming vehicle. Model 3 vehicles have already been spotted with camera locations that resemble a robotaxi.

Is the Delay Accurate?

We expect that this delay might actually be true – Elon Musk usually takes to X within hours of such news breaking if it's false to refute it and hasn’t done so yet.

Tesla has delayed several of their events in the past, and a delay of a couple of months seems plausible. We should hear from Musk himself soon on whether this report is accurate.

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