The top features in any Tesla

By Andrew Hansen

Tesla is as much of a software company as they are a car manufacturer. In a Tesla, you'll find some of the most exciting features in any car, ranging from video streaming like Netflix to live footage of your car while it's parked.

Below are some of the top features in almost every Tesla.

A look at Tesla Features
A look at Tesla Features

Autopilot

Tesla's Autopilot offers traffic-aware cruise control (TACC) and autosteer. With TACC Tesla vehicles will automatically speed up and slow down depending on how close the vehicle in front is.

The driver just sets the maximum speed and the following distance and the car will automatically control its speed and distance from other vehicles.

Autosteer is a combination of TACC and the ability for Teslas to remain in their lanes.

If you have standard Autopilot, then the vehicle will steer itself so that it remains in its lane. If you have the Full Self-Driving (FSD) option, then your vehicle will perform additional functions, such as change lanes, get off and on highway ramps, and respond to traffic lights and stop signs.

Tesla is testing additional functionality with their FSD Beta program in the US that allows the vehicle to drive itself on city streets with driver supervision. The vehicle can perform unprotected left turns, wait for other vehicles, go around stopped cars or pedestrians, and more. However, the feature is currently in its early stages and requires the driver to take over often.

Each Tesla is fitted with eight external cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a powerful onboard computer to provide an additional layer of safety to guide you on your journey.

Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is one of Tesla's most innovative features. It adds a unique layer of protection to the vehicles by continuously monitoring the environment around a car when it's left unattended.

When enabled, Sentry Mode enters a "standby" state, like a home alarm system. It uses the car's external cameras to detect potential threats. If it detects a minimal threat, such as someone leaning on the vehicle, Sentry Mode switches to an "alert" state. It'll flash the car's lights and displays a message on the touchscreen, warning bystanders that its cameras are recording.

When you return to the car, you'll be presented with recordings that had activity in them.

Sentry Mode is a great security feature and deterrent for prospective thieves. In addition, you can select if you want Sentry Mode to always be enabled or only enabled when you're not near certain locations like your home.

Dashcam

With the built-in Dashcam, there is no need to purchase a third-party solution. Instead, Tesla will constantly record from four different cameras around the vehicle while driving.

The videos are saved to a USB drive, making it easy to access them if needed. You can also view the videos directly in the vehicle.

Footage from the dashcam is automatically overridden after an hour unless you specifically choose to save it.

You can save the last ten minutes of footage by tapping the dashcam icon.

You can also have the car automatically save recordings for you if you're in an accident or when you honk the horn.

Connectivity

Connectivity is an essential part of all Tesla cars. There are two connection plans available. The first is the standard free plan that provides navigation, live traffic, the ability to connect to the car from your phone. Additional services are also available if you're connected to Wi-Fi or connected to your phone's hotspot.

The second plan available is Tesla's Premium Connectivity package. For $10 a month, you get access to a heap of features. These include live traffic visualizations, satellite-view maps, video streaming while in park (including Netflix, YouTube, etc), caraoke, music streaming (Spotify, Slacker, Tidal, and others), live camera access, and internet browsing.

Tesla Theater

Teslas come with a ton of entertainment options. They include video and audio streaming, games, easter eggs, and more.

Tesla vehicles are equipped with a video streaming that could be accessed while the vehicle is parked, or on a rear screen of a new Model S or Model X.

Video streaming includes Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch. Hulu, Disney Plus, and other subscription-based services are also available in some countries.

Tesla Theater is a great way to pass the time while charging on a long trip or while waiting for someone.

Music Streaming

There is also a variety of music streaming services available that you could use to listen to music while driving. They allow you to play any song through the use of playlists, searching, or even using your voice.

Tesla currently offers TuneIn, Slacker, Spotify, and TIDAL. FM radio is also available and the Model S and Model X also have SiriusXM.

Karaoke

Tesla's Caraoke feature
Tesla's Caraoke feature

There is a Tesla version of karaoke called Tesla Caraoke. You'll be able to play and sing some of the most popular karaoke songs right in your car. With Caraoke, song lyrics will appear directly on the screen without interfering with the critical information the driver needs to drive safely. In addition, song lyrics can be displayed either with or without any vocals. Unfortunately, it does not have a microphone or the ability to record your voice.

Games

There are many games built into a Tesla. They include games like Super Breakout, Cuphead, Sonic the Hedgehog, 2048, Fallout Shelter, and many more. Tesla even supports connecting a controller to the car to play some of the games.

Romance Mode

Teslas feature several easter eggs. One of them is Romance Mode; and while uou can't roast marshmallows by an open fire in your car, you can still cozy up with your loved ones by this virtual fireplace. While in Park, access Romance Mode from your Toybox and queue up the music.

Santa Mode

Tesla's Santa Mode can be entertaining during the holidays
Tesla's Santa Mode can be entertaining during the holidays

Santa Mode puts you in the Christmas spirit by transforming your on-screen visualizations into Christmas-inspired variants. Your vehicle transforms into Santa's sleigh, other cars become reindeer, and pedestrians become elves. There are a lot of little details added that make this one of the best Tesla easter eggs.

Car Wash Mode

Tesla's Car Wash Mode gives the status of several features
Tesla's Car Wash Mode gives the status of several features

Tesla has a Car Wash Mode that's in the service menu that makes taking your car to an automatic car wash easy. When this is activated, all the windows are closed, the charging port is locked, and the automatic windshield wipers, sentry mode alerts, walk-away door locks, and parking sensors are disabled.

Dog Mode

Tesla's Dog Mode maintains the cabin temperature while you're gone
Tesla's Dog Mode maintains the cabin temperature while you're gone

Tesla's Dog Mode keeps the car's air conditioner or heater on when the owner leaves their pet in the car.

This feature can be accessed through the car's climate control. Then, select "Dog" on the far-right side of the "Keep Climate On" settings by selecting the fan icon at the bottom of the 15-inch screen. As soon as you exit your Tesla, a message appears that states: "Don't worry! The heater [or air conditioner] is on, and it's XX degrees." The temperature stays where you set it for as long as you are away from the car, which is one of the benefits of having a giant battery onboard.

When the battery of the Tesla goes below 20 percent, and the owner is gone for an extended period, a push notification is sent to the owner's phone.

There is also a Camp Mode that keeps the main display on, USB ports powered and the climate on.

Valet Mode

With Valet Mode is activated, Tesla's operating system restricts the vehicle's functionality. The car's maximum speed is also limited to 70 mph, and its acceleration is reduced. Autopilot is also disabled while Valet Mode is activated.

However, that isn't all, as Valet Mode also locks the glove compartment and front trunk automatically. It also blocks certain kinds of personal information from being displayed on Tesla's display screen. For example, the "places" function is disabled, so the car owner's home address, contact information, and scheduled meetings will not appear on the screen.

Furthermore, while Valet Mode is engaged, Tesla's navigation function, Homelink access, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth settings are also disabled.

Tesla Phone App

The Tesla app is very well designed and has some great features. For example, you can sync your phone to the Tesla, allowing the phone to become your car key. The car will detect the phone and automatically unlock the doors as you approach the car. As you walk away from the vehicle, it will also lock all the doors.

Another great feature of the app is turning on the air-conditioner, so the car is nice and cool when you get into it. Those who live in cold or hot climates will know what a great feature this is.

Additionally, you can also view your vehicle's live camera feeds (not available in all countries) via the app, check on your car's location, contact Tesla service, install software updates, and much more.

How Tesla's FSD Beta Has Expanded Over Time

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023
Tesla

Tesla's Full Self Driving (FSD) technology took a giant leap forward in distributing FSD Beta to 400,000 customers in North America. It is a significant milestone for the development of autonomous driving and highlights Tesla's commitment to bringing this cutting-edge technology to the masses. A new version, v11.3 could roll out any day.

Number of Testers Over Time

Tesla made FSD Beta public a little more than two years ago, around October 2020. It was initially only made available to less than a handful of testers, but that pool grew to about 1,000 users later that year.

Since then Tesla has gradually increased the number of testers. The ramp from the initial 1,000 testers took some time, but by October 2021 Tesla had opened it up further through its Safety Score program. By January 2022, it was available to about 60,000 owners.

In March of 2022, Tesla expanded FSD Beta to Canada, gradually adding additional testers, and eventually increasing the number of testers across the U.S. and Canada to 160,000 in September.

Tesla announced this December that the number of testers had grown to 285,000 and recently said this January that it's now accessible to 400,000 Tesla owners.

FSD Beta Expansion and Milestones

Date Milestone
October, 2020 Opened to select testers
Late 2020 ~ 1,000 added
October 2021 Start of expansion through Safety Score
January 2022 Available to 60,000 testers
March 2022 Expansion to Canada
July 2022 Available to 160,000 testers
December 2022 Available to 285,000 testers
January 2023 Access given to 400,000 owners

Faster Feedback

The deployment of FSD Beta to such a large number of customers will provide an unprecedented level of testing and feedback, allowing Tesla to refine the technology and bring it to an even higher level of reliability and safety. Furthermore, with over 90 million miles driven on FSD outside of highways, the published data shows a clear improvement in safety statistics, demonstrating the potential for autonomous driving to revolutionize the way we travel.

This increased testing level will help improve the technology even further, as the system can learn from a broader range of driving scenarios and road conditions.

FSD Will Make the Roads Safer

The safety benefits of Full Self Driving technology will be a major selling point for Tesla and one of the primary reasons for its rapid growth. Using cameras and other advanced technologies, FSD can monitor the road and make real-time adjustments to ensure the vehicle operates safely and efficiently. As a result, this technology reduces the likelihood of accidents and provides passengers with a safer, more comfortable driving experience.

Overall, making FSD Beta available to 400,000 customers represents a major step forward for Tesla and the entire autonomous driving industry. It's now available to all customers who have purchased or subscribed to FSD in the U.S. and Canada. The next big expansion is expected to be in Europe sometime this year.

With its focus on safety and reliability, Tesla is leading the way toward a future where driving is fully autonomous, and accidents are a thing of the past. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more impressive advances in the coming years, bringing us closer to a world where autonomous vehicles are a common sight on our roads.

Tesla Accessory, Ctrl-Bar Adds Physical Buttons to the Model Y and Model 3

By Kevin Armstrong
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
Ctrl-Bar

Tesla's minimalistic interior design is both loved and hated. Much loathing is due to the lack of physical buttons drivers are so used to having at their fingertips to control heat, music and everything else in the cabin. The sleek look is attractive, but for some it can fall short in easy accessibility while driving.

That's where a new product comes into play: Ctrl-Bar. Created by Øyvind Husby of Oslo, Norway, Ctrl-Bar has nearly 300 backers on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo and has beat its target funding goal by more than 280 percent. The objective is to provide a tactile, programmable solution to Tesla's minimalistic interior design.

How It Works

Ctrl-Bar is a device that attaches securely to the bottom of the Model 3 and Model Y screen and offers a quick-access, tactile response that physical buttons can only achieve. The premium black glass finish blends seamlessly with the screen bezel, providing a smooth look. It connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and gets power from a hidden USB cable connected to the rear center console USB port. The app runs in the background, capturing only the data needed to run the services and prioritizing privacy. In addition, the Ctrl-Bar screen shows real-time changes, so there is no latency when changing temperatures or other functions. After less than a second, the device will send the command to your vehicle.

Ctrl-Bar Video

The Scrolls, Buttons and Extras

The Ctrl-Bar has two scroll wheels with tactile indents to control the cabin temperature, one for the driver and the passenger. In addition, four push buttons are in the middle of the wheels to provide easy access to programmable shortcuts, such as seat heaters, defrost mode, dog mode, and more. All changes made on the Ctrl-Bar are reflected on the center screen, offering a unified experience.

In addition to controlling essential functions, Ctrl-Bar also provides ambient LED lighting. The device has a series of powerful LEDs that illuminate the center console and front footwells. Users can scroll through assorted color and brightness options to find the perfect lighting for their drive. For an additional subscription, Ctrl-Bar offers speed trap warnings. The device checks for nearby fixed speed traps and visually alerts the driver when they are approaching. If the driver exceeds the speed limit, Ctrl-Bar will give an audible warning reminding them to slow down.

The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
Ctrl-Bar

Creative Company with a Track Record

Greenmission, the company behind Ctrl-Bar, has successfully launched a premium wireless charger for the Tesla Model S/X. With trusted manufacturers and software developers on board, the main obstacles to getting Ctrl-Bar into the hands of Tesla owners are developing the phone app, establishing a reliable connection, avoiding supplier issues and delays, and managing costs. Despite these challenges, Greenmission is confident they can bring Ctrl-Bar to market and provide a much-needed solution to the lack of physical buttons in Tesla vehicles.

Ctrl-Bar is an interesting device that adds some physical buttons for owners who want or need them. It matches well with the interior of the vehicle and still provides a sleek look. However, it will require your phone to have a cellular connection to successfully send commands to the vehicle, since it relies on Tesla's APIs.

Tesla drivers are always looking for ways to improve their experience, and new features will be made available through Over-The-Air updates. Furthermore, users' feedback and suggestions will be considered and worked on in future updates.

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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.