Tesla may soon support applying the brakes automatically when regen is limited
It's challenging to determine Tesla's best feature or the one that has changed driving habits the most, but regenerative braking must be high on the list for anyone who owns an electric vehicle.
After getting accustomed to the system, the brake pedal becomes obsolete.
However, that piece of metal to the left of the accelerator is quickly remembered during cold temperatures or when the battery is fully charged and regenerative braking is reduced or not available.
A feature found in Tesla's latest update (2022.16) appears to address that issue by adding an option to make the car perform the same with or without regenerative braking.
When regenerative braking is reduced and the driver lets off the accelerator pedal the car will automatically apply its regular brakes. This gives the driver a consistent driving experience whether regenerative braking is fully available or limited.
Regenerative braking is one of the most significant factors that make electric vehicles so efficient. While in motion, if the driver applies less pressure to the accelerator or lifts their foot nearly off the pedal to decelerate, most EVs will slow down like the brakes are being applied, but they are not.
This one-foot driving style saves the use of brake pads and sends a charge back to the battery, creating additional energy. Tesla believes this is such an important feature it made the strongest regenerative braking mode standard in 2020.
However, if the car is fully charged, the battery will not take more energy. This system has also been known to act differently in cold climates.
Now, thanks to the 2022.16 update, during those circumstances, specific Tesla's Model 3s and Model Ys will perform the same without the ability to engage regenerative braking.
In the release notes, Tesla stated, "Your car can now automatically apply regular brakes for consistent deceleration when regenerative braking is limited due to battery temperature or state of charge."
According to @greentheonly, this feature is only available on limited Model 3s and Model Ys with specfic hardware. It's possible that Tesla is testing out the feature on very limited hardware or specific vehicles before making it available more broadly in a future update.
Understandably, some drivers may be turned off by the car blending in the brakes without the driver specifically pressing the brake pedal, so Tesla has made this feature optional.
If drivers want to be reacquainted with their brake pedal, then they don't need to enable the new feature; for those who do: tap Controls > Pedals & Steering > Apply Brakes When Regenerative Braking Is Limited. But, again, this is only available for select Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.
There's no news on when it will be made available for more broadly.
Another change came through on the latest over-the-air update, so subtle you may not have realized it was there.
After reading this, you may want to check out the display's top left corner. There is a line that is directly above the speedometer. Maybe you've noticed it before and not given it a second glance, but the line provides some valuable information.
The line is in the center if the car is not using or gaining energy, but it turns black during acceleration and green during regenerative braking.
You're not alone if you haven't noticed it or ignored it, as Tesla has made the line thicker and easier to see. This update is also only available for Model 3 and Model Y Teslas.
Tesla’s new partnership with gas and electric company PG&E in California will give Powerwall owners the opportunity to earn money while giving energy back to the grid.
The virtual power plant (VPP) is a connection of distributed energy storage systems that work in tandem to give energy back to the grid to avoid dirty and costly peaker power plants. Essentially, when the grid is being strained, then the VPP can kick in and draw power from Powerwall owners enrolled in the program, and other distributed energy storage system owners, to use clean energy and avoid brownouts across the state.
Here are some of the advantages with this new VPP with PG&E:
Stabilize California’s Grid: The extra capacity your Powerwall provides could help avoid or reduce blackouts in a severe emergency. This way, Powerwall can keep the lights on for both you and your community.
Clean the Grid: Tesla will dispatch your Powerwall when the grid is in critical need of additional power. That is when the least efficient generators would typically come online.
Unite as a Tesla Community: Team up with other Powerwall owners who are accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy and help form the largest distributed battery in the world - potentially over 50,000 Powerwalls. As part of the VPP, your Powerwall will have an outsized positive impact on the grid over traditional demand response programs.
Maintain Your Energy Security: Powerwall will discharge during VPP events but won’t discharge below your Backup Reserve. Adjust your Backup Reserve to control your contribution while maintaining backup energy for outages.
Earn Compensation: Through the ELRP pilot, you will receive $2 for every additional kWh your Powerwall provides during an event. You don’t have to change your energy usage behavior to participate.
In 2021, Tesla piloted a test VPP program in California for Powerwall owners to voluntarily opt-in without compensation. The test VPP program would then pull energy from the Powerwalls when the grids needed it.
“Become a part of the largest distributed battery in the world and help keep California’s energy clean and reliable,” reads a statement from Tesla. “Opt-in to the Tesla Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with PG&E and your Powerwall will be dispatched when the grid needs emergency support. Through the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) pilot, you will receive $2 for every additional kWh your Powerwall delivers during an event. Adjust your Backup Reserve to set your contribution, while maintaining backup energy for outages.”
With Tesla and PG&E’s new VPP program owners will receive $2/kWh, which is quite significant. For comparison, where I live in Southern California, Tesla charges $0.58/kWh for supercharging during peak hours.
According to Electrek, “they could earn anywhere from $10 to $60 per event or more for bigger systems.”
Tesla stated that they have roughly 50,000 Powerwalls that may be eligible for this new program.
In an interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the Cybertruck design has now been finalized. Musk didn’t get into details about the design, but gave a rough timeline for production of the Cybertruck.
With the design now "locked", he estimates production will begin “the middle of next year, roughly 12-months’ish” which would put the first Cybertruck deliveries in the second half of 2023.
Musk did not say when the final design will be revealed, but recent sightings of the alpha builds give us many hints as to what to expect.
When discussing the Cybertruck design Elon said they “got too carried with the…,” before pausing, hinting that they have added a number of new features not included on the original prototype.
While it's not clear what additional features Elon was about to mention, we have an idea of what is to come.
One of the most controversial additions has been the side mirrors, which are required by law, although Musk has said that they will be easily removable by owners.
Another controversial feature of the Cybertruck is the windshield wiper. While we have only seen the large single wiper, Musk did say that the final design would be different than what has been seen on recent builds.
Tesla did patent a laser beam windshield wiper, but we'll likely see something more traditional on the Cybertruck.
Another feature we could see on the final build are doors with no handles. At the Cyber Rodeo, Elon opened the Cybertruck door by pushing a button on the side of the truck. The doors also seemingly open and lock depending on proximity to the vehicle.
TeslaFi is a service that logs your drives and charging sessions so that you can later refer back to them. We highly recommend checking them out if you use your car for business trips and would like to keep track of reimbursements, if you like to see how much you spend on charging or if you just love statistics. View their about us page and see everything they have to offer!
DIMO is building a web3, user-owned network dedicated to supporting the next generation of mobility infrastructure. As a user, you can start today by accessing the best connected vehicle experience via the DIMO Mobile App. It works for nearly any vehicle and across any OEM; users are in control of their data and their DIMO wallet is a conduit to other apps and services, saving time and money. Learn more