Tesla V11 Changes Coming: May lead to best UI yet

By Nuno Cristovao

Version 11 of Tesla's software was one of the most anticipated releases over the past year.

V11 improvements are coming
V11 improvements are coming

When it finally arrived last week in the holiday update, it offered a clean interface with customizable buttons and a bunch of new features.

However, when decluttering the UI, Tesla put many options that were accessible with a single tap behind menus, causing some core features to take two or more taps.

This makes some features less obvious and takes the driver's eyes off the road for a longer period. For core car functions that you may use while driving, requiring two taps to turn a feature on isn't ideal.

Overall, v11 provided a cleaner, more modern interface that was mostly well-received, but it had its fair share of criticism.

The majority of the criticism involved two areas, removal of features from the top status bar such as the Driver's Profile button, and removal of features from the launcher bar, like seat heaters and window defrost.

These features are still available, but now require multiple taps to check their status or turn on, as opposed to just glancing at the screen or tapping a button.

All UI changes take some time to get used to them. Over the years we've built muscle memory on how to turn on and off various car features, and we almost instinctively knew where to tap with just a glance.

If we're driving and a button isn't where we expect it to be, there could be some annoyance or frustration.

Tesla has developed and added many features over the past year. It felt like it was time for the UI and menus to be reconsolidated.

I understand that not everyone needs seat heaters where they live, and maybe they don't need access to driver profiles if they're the only driver of the vehicle, but others may need quick access to these functions.

I think if you go into the situation understanding that some vehicles are driven by multiple members of the same family and that the car doesn't always select the correct profile, then it's easy to understand that hiding the active driver profile behind the Controls menu isn't intuitive.

V11 Improvements Coming

Tesla has heard everyone loud and clear. We now have multiple reports that improvements are coming.

The improvements will focus on the top status bar and the bottom launcher.

Many items were removed from the status bar, such as WiFi/cellular connection, driver profiles, Sentry Mode, Dashcam, HomeLink, and Bluetooth.

Some of these can be considered settings, such as Bluetooth and they're likely to remain in the Controls menu.

HomeLink, in my opinion has found a better spot on the bottom left of the screen in the Model 3/Y and will only show up when you're close to home.

This prevents the HomeLink menu from appearing on top of the reverse camera image when backing out of a garage, which is a nice improvement.

However, I would expect other settings to return to the status bar, with the biggest offender being Driver Profiles.

Tesla may also add back connection information, Sentry Mode, and Dashcam.

Tesla may even let you personalize the top status bar and pick exactly which options you'd like to appear, with most of them being hidden by default.

App Launcher

One of the biggest changes in v11 was the app launcher. With it came a great new feature; the ability to customize which apps appear in the launcher. Again, not everyone needs heated seats, or window defrost so this was a welcome feature for many.

However, to make room for customizable icons and provide more direct access to your preferred music choices, some functions were removed. The problem is that there is no way to add back the functions that were removed.

So although we're now able to customize the launcher, owners are not able to add back some of the features that were previously available.

Seat heaters are now two taps away, instead of one. And data that was once glanceable, such as whether the window defroster is on, now requires the driver to go into a menu.

The good news is that Tesla is listening and that changes are coming to the launcher.

In fact, because of the v11 shortcomings, we may end up with a much better product than was initially planned.

Will Fealey, the president of a Tesla Facebook group compiled a list of owner criticisms. After sending them to a couple of his contacts at Tesla, he heard back from Tesla saying that Tesla is not only listening, but the team is already working on concepts on how to improve the launcher.

According to Will, the concept will let you add new controls to the app launcher, such as seat heaters, dashcam, windshield wipers, and more.

Tesla has taken all the feedback that I gave them yesterday regarding V11 and they've sat down with the relevant teams (presumably in the US) and I'm pleased to feedback the following to you all:

Points 1-3: The team do understand that many users want to be able to adjust [demister, heated seats, profile, dash camera etc] manually, so the team are working on a concept that allows you to customise the bottom bar further with actions like this. This is getting worked on.

Point 4: The team acknowledge we definitely still need to improve British voice recognition. The team will circle back around on this topic.

Points 5-6 [MCU1 / MCU2 differences with V11]: There are nuances to different hardware variants which do impact the release of particular features. This means there will always differences on the features available based on the age/hardware of the vehicle. Tesla thanked us all for the continued feedback and they will share further details when they can.

Thank you Tesla for listening to your owners Regards,

Will Fealey

Tesla Owners UK Club President

Since Tesla is looking at the concept of adding controls to the app launcher, we may gain the ability to add numerous new control options that could be pinned to the launcher.

These new buttons in the launcher can give you direct access to certain menus like Charging or Trips or let you add a voice commands button for passenger use.

Tesla v11 UI
Tesla v11 UI

It could even give you direct access to options like the parking brake, HomeLink buttons, the ability to open the glovebox with one tap, and more.

Elon Confirms Changes Coming

Elon has also confirmed that changes to the v11 update are coming. On Twitter he has said that UI improvements are coming.

Understandably, Tesla owners would like certain features they had quick access to back as soon as possible. However, developing a proper solution that offers even greater flexibility than before will take some time.

I wouldn't expect any changes in a point release of 2021.44, but we may start to see some changes in the first major release of 2022.

A Closer Look at Tesla's Ambient Lighting Feature in the New Model 3 and Cybertruck [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3

If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.

Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.

Supported Models

Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.

The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.


Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3

The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.

You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.

While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.

It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.

Future Enhancements

With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.

Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.

Ambient Lighting in Action

While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.

Tesla Model 3 'Highland' Performance Details Discovered in European Documents

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades

Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.

Deciphering the 'T'

A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X

Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.

This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!

This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.

Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.

Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades

Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.

Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.

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