New features in the Tesla app with update 2021.36

By Nuno Cristovao

Tesla recently completely redesigned their iPhone and Android apps. Just a couple weeks after releasing version 4.0, Tesla released an update that included new features such as the ability to change scheduled charging, adjust your charge departure time and more.

Most of these features require your Tesla to have update 2021.36 or later. At the time the app was released, 2021.36 had yet to be available. Software update 2021.36 has now started rolling out to individuals and we now have our first look at the new features in the Tesla app.

The new Tesla app lets you adjust scheduled and departure charging options with update 2021.36

Scheduled Charging

The ability to charge your car at a given time, or to have it charged by a certain time has been available in the car for a while now, but we'll now have the ability to schedule it directly from the app.

There's a new Schedule category that will allow you to adjust departure time and scheduled time charging.

Once you tap into the Schedule category, you'll be able to pick whether you want departure time charging, or scheduled time charging.

Tesla's wording here hasn't always been clear, but departure charging lets your car pick when to start charging, and you just let it know when you want it to be completed. This has the added benefit that your battery will be warmer when you're ready to leave. It's especially useful in winter climates.

Scheduled charging is essentially the opposite of departure charging. You pick the time you'd like your vehicle to start charging and it'll continue charging until it reaches your set charge level, such as 80%.

It's interesting that Tesla puts charging options under a ‘Schedule' category instead of ‘Charging'. It leaves the door open for other scheduling options. The obvious one is the ability to schedule your climate in the car, but there could be others such as the ability to schedule Sentry Mode.

I'd personally love for Tesla to include a Nest-like scheduling option that would let you pick the days of the week and temperature when you'd like your climate turned on.

Bioweapon Defense Mode

Ability to turn on Bioweapon Defense Mode in the new Tesla app with 2021.36

If your car is equipped with Bioweapon Defense Mode, you'll now be able to turn it on directly in the app. You'll slide up a drawer in the Climate section of the app which will give you the ability to turn on Defrost or Bioweapon Defense Mode.

Adjust Charge Amps

The new Tesla app gives you the ability to adjust charge amps with 2021.36

The last improvement that comes to the app with update 2021.36 is the ability to change your charging amps while the vehicle is charging. A new button appears underneath the charge limit slider that will let you select the amps used.

The 4.0 release of the Tesla app had a similar feature set to the previous app it replaced, but it looks like Tesla has plans to continue adding new features now.

In software development there's often an MVP (Minimum viable product) that the product team is willing to release with. In this case the MVP appears to have been the features that were available in the previous app. Now that Tesla has released the new app they can focus on adding new features that they may not have had time prior to release.

Tesla Targets Sentry Mode Vampire Drain: Upcoming Update to Slash Power Use by 40%

By Kevin Armstrong
Sentry Mode Update is Coming
Sentry Mode Update is Coming

In an exchange on X, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, addressed the concerns regarding the power consumption of Tesla’s Sentry Mode. Responding to a user inquiry, Baglino confirmed the company’s commitment to reducing the feature's energy use by approximately 40% through a software update expected in Q2, which begins on April 1.

This announcement follows feedback from Tesla owners regarding the 'vampire drain' experienced when using Sentry Mode, highlighting Tesla's responsive approach to customer feedback and its dedication to continuous improvement. Another X user stated that there should be a breakdown or battery usage. This information already exists, but Baglino politely responded: The energy app provides a wealth of information about where your energy goes. He also linked to our Not a Tesla App article explaining that system.

Understanding the Drain of Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is an advanced security feature for Tesla vehicles, leveraging the car’s cameras and sensors to monitor and record surroundings for potential threats when parked. Sentry Mode has proven invaluable for vehicle security by activating various deterrents, including pulsing headlights and alarm sounds.

Despite its benefits, the feature’s energy consumption, referred to as “vampire drain,” has been a concern, with estimates suggesting a small yet consistent drain on the vehicle's battery life. By optimizing Sentry Mode's power usage, Tesla enhances the feature's efficiency and extends the usability for owners, particularly when parking for extended periods without access to charging facilities.

Battery Management: Recognizing the importance of battery preservation, Sentry Mode automatically deactivates when the battery level falls to 20%, ensuring that the vehicle remains operational for essential travel.

Activation and Customization: Owners can activate Sentry Mode via the vehicle's touchscreen or mobile app, with options to customize settings, such as disabling sounds or excluding specific locations, tailoring the security feature to individual preferences and requirements.

Tesla's forthcoming software update aims to significantly reduce Sentry Mode's power usage, making it more adaptable for various situations without impacting the car's range or battery longevity. This enhancement aligns with Tesla's commitment to continuous improvement via over-the-air updates, directly responding to customer feedback with practical solutions. Owners looking forward to this change appreciate the balance between maintaining Sentry Mode's security benefits and preserving battery life for everyday needs.

Tesla Adds 'Rose Gold' Cybertruck Wrap and Two Other New Colors

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla now offers Cybertruck wraps in five colors
Tesla now offers Cybertruck wraps in five colors

Remember when there was concern that the appeal of a Cybertruck would die down because there would be too many stainless steel beasts on the road? True story. If there was a concern, it appears to have been handled with wraps; not only Tesla’s wraps but more customized wraps are showing up on social media daily.

More Tesla Wraps

Firstly, Tesla has expanded its palette of Cybertruck wrap options, introducing three vibrant new colors. The chic Satin Rose Gold, the deep Satin Abyss Blue, and the sleek Slip Grey are joined in the lineup alongside the classic Satin Stealth Black and Satin Ceramic White. However, several Cybertruck owners are not waiting for Tesla wraps as more unique Cybertruck wraps are showing up on social media.

Priced at $6,000, while the newly introduced Satin Rose Gold and Satin Abyss Blue wraps are slightly pricier at $6,500. This differentiation in pricing reflects the unique appeal and quality of the new wrap colors.

Tesla outlines several key features and advantages of their Cybertruck color paint film, including:

  • A self-healing, urethane-based film that is significantly more durable and twice as thick as the average vinyl wrap, ensuring superior protection against scratches.

  • An environmentally friendly alternative to traditional vinyl wraps, covering all exterior stainless-steel surfaces of the Cybertruck, enhancing its aesthetic appeal and resilience.

Customized Wraps are Taking Off

Since Tesla wraps were introduced, the company has been criticized for the price point being far too high, while consumers can go to other wrap companies and get their own customized look. Even the unique wraps spotted on the Cybertruck before the delivery event are unavailable. But that is not stopping consumers.

It was after Investor Day in 2023 that Morgan Stanley's managing director, Adam Jonas, a well-known figure within the investment community and someone who has been dubbed a Tesla Bull. Jonas outlined several reasons why he believed the Cybertruck might not fulfill the grand visions held by Elon Musk and the Tesla team, describing it as potentially becoming a "financial side-show," a marker of cultural zeitgeist, and a niche product for enthusiasts.

Jonas argued that the Cybertruck, with its avant-garde design, might not align with this broader affordability mission. He believed that the unique aspects of Cybertruck would be lost and that "indescribable something," when several were on the street,

Yet, the landscape around the Cybertruck and Tesla's position within it has continued to evolve. Contrary to concerns, the burgeoning market for custom and aftermarket wraps for the Cybertruck tells a different story. This vibrant ecosystem of personalization options highlights the vehicle's position as a mode of transportation and a canvas for individual expression.

The concern that the uniqueness of the Cybertruck could diminish with its popularity overlooks the creative solutions that owners and enthusiasts have embraced. From bespoke wraps that offer myriad designs outside of Tesla's offerings to the DIY spirit that has taken hold among the Cybertruck community, it's clear that individuality remains a cornerstone of the Cybertruck experience.

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