There are many things about Tesla ownership that are different from conventional car ownership, and even different from ownership of other electric cars. However, I think one is both particularly special and also hard to convey effectively to non-owners.
Before I owned a Tesla, when I saw news about Tesla vehicle software updates, I thought they were cool and I noted the improvements to Tesla vehicles. When I co-owned a Tesla Model S for shuttle service in Poland and other people mostly drove the car, not a whole lot changed. It was cool to implement one or two of them, though, and then occasionally enjoy the new features. Now that I drive a Tesla Model 3 almost daily, the software updates are a whole other animal.
Every time you get a big new update, it’s like a Christmas present or birthday present. Sometimes they’re just really cool and fun new features. Sometimes they’re little improvements to fix small irritations (or, for some people, perhaps major irritations — depending on how irritable you are or depending on certain personal/family habits).
I just got a fairly large update, which makes my car feel fresh, new, and more fun again — which, of course, inspired this article. There were 7 improvements in this latest update, and I’ll go through them all to both keep you up to date with the features of a Tesla Model 3 and to demonstrate how much they vary.
Improved Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control
I already covered this when there was a rumor about it, since it’s a big update for Tesla drivers and Tesla itself. Elon quickly confirmed on Twitter that is was indeed coming, and today I drove with the new feature and love it so far. Now, if the car would just turn on its own, park on its own, and avoid potholes on its own!
Backup Camera Improvements
This is a neat one, too. While we benefit (and get spoiled from) a large touchscreen and wonderful backup camera feed in a Tesla, many owners still get rim rash from hidden curbs. This new feature allows you to get views of the sides of the car when backing up (note that you have to swipe up on the screen to see those camera feeds as well). You can superbly navigate the parking area and avoid rim rash. Woohoo! (If you’re still concerned, our friends at EV Annex are happy to sell you some rim protectors.)
Dashcam Viewer Improvements
The Sentry Mode feature is a great benefit for owners who have their car hit or vandalized, as it can provide video evidence of the culprit (there are plenty of crazy stories about that), but it was initially quite inconvenient to check the video recordings. Tesla recently improved the feature by letting you view the recordings on the touchscreen (instead of having to take them from the USB/portable hard drive and plug into a computer). However, one remaining downside was that they are often fairly long videos (10 mins is common for me), in which it takes a long time to find out what caused the recording. And who wants to look through minutes and minutes of nothing happening?
Tesla’s new improvement now makes it super easy to spot in the video player where the exact action happened that triggered the recording. Woohoo! Now I might have some real fun watching these.
3 Minor Ones — For Me
The three updates above are not really relevant or useful to me, so I’ve got no personal comment, but I’m sure many owners are very happy about each of them.
This is a fascinating one. I recall when someone on Twitter requested this feature in order to have more proof and video footage of a break-in. However, the wording in the update’s summary focuses on using the video footage and pics to improve Tesla’s own driving capabilities or tech. Quite interesting. I’m not exactly sure if this means Tesla employees will check the videos and photos to look for things to improve, or if they will be inserted into the neural network’s learning algorithms more indiscriminately and automatically. In any case, it’s good to see Tesla will try to use the footage to help improve safety.
This is just one round of many software updates. It is one of the larger ones I’ve had in the past 10 months of ownership, but certainly not the largest or second largest. Yet again, though, I feel like I have a fresh, new car — and you really can’t get that with any other vehicle.
Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Y, S, or X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404.
You can also get a $250 discount on Tesla solar with that code.
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