Last week, as we reported, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors sent out a cryptic tweet about ending the dreaded range anxiety some people experience when driving or even looking at electric cars. He then delivered a solution and more by officially announcing some crazy over-the-air updates for the Model S.
One of the new apps is called Range Assurance. It’s always running in the car’s background, monitoring the nearby Tesla Superchargers to see which are out of commission or are really busy. The car then warns owners before they drive out of range of a good Supercharger option, which is supposed to end the whole range anxiety thing.
Musk also made a big deal about how virtually all of the United States and Canada is covered by the current system of Superchargers (sorry northern Alaska and a big chunk of Arkansas, Texas, North Dakota, etc.). Apparently all of Europe will be covered soon, plus the high-population zones in China.
Are you planning a trip? Now there’s an app for that, called (ironically enough) Trip Planner. It provides a traveling route by figuring where you can stop to top off the old batteries, which means you won’t be stranded in the middle of the desert and wonder if you can squeeze electricity from a cactus. The app also pushes a notification to your phone once the Supercharger is done juicing it up.
The Model S is already incredibly safe, but the updates add some driver assistance features. The Automatic Emergency Braking applies the brakes when a collision is unavoidable, hopefully avoiding a crash. The blind spot warning system warns when other cars are hiding where you can’t see them. A new side collision warning warns of an impending impact, just like the front collision warning system already in use.
Last but certainly not least is the Valet Mode app, which like it sounds limits how fast the car can be driven. The glove box and frunk (front trunk) both lock automatically, and all of the owner’s personal info is secured.