Once again, Tesla is rolling out a software update (this will be the 4th since I got my Model 3) which not only adds a 5% performance improvement but also delivers a couple of nice new features.
Two new features in this update are Scheduled Departure and Automatic Navigation. Right now these two features are separate but I think have a massive opportunity to merge, or at least work together.
This is a particularly interesting feature as it helps not only drivers manage when their car draws power from the grid, but that scheduling is likely to help electricity companies deal with peak loads on the grid.
The release notes for the feature are:
Obviously electricity plans differ considerably from country to country, but as Australia struggles to manage peak load on the grid and avoid load shedding, adding a growing fleet of electric vehicles only compounds the issue.
Some vehicle manufacturers like Nissan are promoting the ability for bi-directional power (using CHAdeMO), to enable utility providers ‘manage’ the draw on the grid from vehicle charging.
With this feature, Tesla is showing there’s an opportunity for customers to simply specify when they need the car charged by and they’ll work out the right time to start, understanding the charge rate and amount of kW required. This minimises the charging cost to the customer while shifting the charging time to an off-peak timeslot, which helps the grid by avoiding charging at peak times.
This adds to the existing scheduled charging which the user sets a fixed time to start charging. With Scheduled Departure, you also get the choice of weekdays only, which will work great for anyone who commutes daily for work, but doesn’t need to travel so much on the weekend.
The other nice element to this feature is that it’ll have the cabin up to the perfect temperature by the time you need to get in. This is one of those nice features only available with an electric battery in the floor.
This feature leverages the calendar integration in the car to cross-reference appointments with the current time of day and set the navigation to route you to that appointment location. This helps solve the long-term issue of drivers not entering known locations into the Nav, which means they don’t capitalise on live traffic data and re-routing to avoid congestion.
The car also learns your routine. If you get into the vehicle on weekdays at 8am every day and drive to work on weekdays, the car can automatically enter work as the route in the navigation for your daily commute.
This is an important stepping stone as we head towards Full Self-Driving. Once the software is finished and regulatory approval is achieved, then you’ll simply need to get in your car and it’ll take you to the location in your Calendar.
Both of these new features are great additions to what Tesla already offers in Model 3, Model S and Model X and continues to raise the benchmark of functionality, along with customer expectations of what vehicles in 2019 should offer.
The software update is rolling out to customers now.
Image credit: Tesletter.