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3 Ways Tesla Is Transforming What It Means To Be A Car

Yes, Tesla cars are cool. They’re the quickest cars on the market, the safest cars on the market, and the highest tech cars on the market. It’s hard to overstate or even properly explain why they stand out and are genuinely in a class of their own. However, it’s not just that they’re quick, safe, and high tech. Tesla is starting to transform what it means to be a car.

Yes, Tesla cars are cool. They’re the quickest cars on the market, the safest cars on the market, and the highest tech cars on the market. It’s hard to overstate or even properly explain why they stand out and are genuinely in a class of their own. However, it’s not just that they’re quick, safe, and high tech. Tesla is starting to transform what it means to be a car.

Tesla Home Theater

This is a new one and it may seem innocuous. It may just seem like another fun entertainment feature in a Tesla. However, I think it’s going to prove to be more than that.

First of all, the superb sound system in a Tesla all of a sudden makes your car one of the best places to watch a movie, Netflix series, or YouTube video. For many, this could even become their favorite place to grab some popcorn and turn on a film.

Expect some new cultural habits to form. Expect people to take their cars to scenic locations in order to watch a movie with a loved one or friend (I guess we love our friends too, and should love everyone, but you know what I mean). Expect people to take longer road trips and camp out in their cars more. Expect people’s cars, or Teslas at least, to become extensions of their homes, extensions of their recreational lives, destinations rather than just vehicles that transport you from one place to another.

You’re gaining a living room — or home theater — with the coming V10 software update, not just a cooler car.

Full Self Driving Is Creeping Up — Then What?

There’s pretty vociferous debate on this topic still. Many think Elon Musk’s claims that Tesla will soon have legitimately self-driving vehicles are basically BS mixed with Kool-Aid. What I can say is, it’s a documented fact that Tesla Autopilot has improved dramatically in the past few years. Yes, you need to pay attention at all times (not a joke), but the car is handling more and more of the actual work of driving. New abilities keep coming, and the Autopilot hardware & software suite is getting better and better at smoothly operating in both normal and semi-challenging driving conditions.

At the moment, Tesla’s Autopilot features reduce a lot of the stress, irritation, and danger of driving. That is having a material impact on Tesla drivers today, leaving them (us) less fatigued and more relaxed. Autopilot already creates a different pattern of driving for many people.

However, we’re just tickling the edge of what this means. As long as you have to monitor where the car is going, you can’t really focus on other tasks. Yes, you can benefit from a more relaxed heart and mind, but you can’t sleep, work, or watch Netflix while driving. However, that’s what Elon Musk expects is coming fairly soon. With the flip of a switch (or something more modern I guess), hundreds of thousands of Tesla drivers will be able to turn off their daily focus on driving and think or do whatever they want while going from place to place. We’re not there yet, but with each Autopilot/Full Self Driving update, Tesla owners can feel 100% self-driving coming closer.

There are various ramifications that will result from this breakthrough tech. We’re not going to predict them all, but a few things are clear. First of all, people will have more free time for entertainment (enjoying the Tesla home theater), for work (if they so choose), for sleep (yay!), and for munching on some pizza and chips (oy). People will also be more willing to go on long drivers or sit in traffic, because they will no longer be “wasting” their time while doing so — they will be enjoying their time somewhat carefree instead. Expect that to mean longer commutes, land use and real estate shifts that lead to super-suburbs, and more traffic. Does it matter if you’re sitting in your car watching Spaceballs?

Cameras Everywhere

Johnna Crider had an interesting article last week about Tesla Sentry Mode catching a fistfight on camera. That may seem like a trivial matter, but wait a few years.

We’ve seen Sentry Mode help catch thieves, vandals, and free-spirited dancers. As of now, Sentry Mode is something that’s being used on a case-by-case basis for such issues. However, this may all just be the seed of what this feature leads to. What if law enforcement decides they could really benefit from all these eyes on the street and then gets permission from (or requires the cooperation of) Tesla and Tesla vehicle owners in catching any number of crimes, spying on local activities or gangs, or searching for stolen cars?

For that matter, what if Tesla owners use their Sentry Mode footage … to assist in committing crimes? (I’m not trying to plant ideas, but this is a possibility worth keeping in mind as the technology proliferates. Eyes on the street at all hours can serve nefarious purposes as well as good ones.)

I’m sure there are more possibilities that are not coming to mind, but the point is straightforward: With millions of fresh eyes on the street and footage being recorded, cars become more than just cars. They become data collection tools. Data is valuable, even powerful enough to save lives.

Stay tuned. The initial quirky and hero-on-the-street Sentry Mode highlights are just the seeds of a new era of automobiles. These are not simply transportation devices.

If you’d like to buy a Tesla and get 2,000 miles (3,000 km) of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code by October 1: After October 1, it’s presumed that you will get 1,000 miles (1,500 km) of free Supercharging by using that referral code (or someone else’s).

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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