First look at Tesla’s “Drive on Sunshine” feature

First look at Tesla’s “Drive on Sunshine” feature

Tesla Full Self-Driving 10.10

Tesla is set to introduce its innovative “Drive on Sunshine” feature, which allows Tesla owners to charge their cars using surplus solar energy generated by their home solar panels. We first revealed the feature in March with a rendering of what the feature could look like based on details found in the app.

However, we now have our first official screenshots shared by Twitter user @olympusdev_. If you have Tesla Solar and possibly a Powerwall, the feature promises to bring more efficiency and economy to Tesla’s clean energy efforts.

For solar panel owners, options for utilizing excess energy generated have been limited. Typically, the surplus energy charges Powerwalls if available, and once full, the excess is sent back to the grid. However, Tesla’s “Drive on Sunshine” feature aims to provide a better solution for using this excess energy, making it more economical for Tesla owners than selling the energy back to the power company.

According to a phrase found by Olympus, the “Drive on Sunshine” feature may require a Powerwall to function, although it’s not entirely clear. The phrase “Charge on Solar paused for Powerwall Export” hints at the integration of Tesla’s energy storage system with the new feature. Further details regarding the exact role of the Powerwall in this process are yet to be disclosed.

How “Drive on Sunshine” Works

The Tesla app, which already allows users to set charging limits for their vehicles, will gain new functionality with the “Drive on Sunshine” feature. Users will have access to two sliders, one for setting the minimum charge of the vehicle that they’d like regardless of the energy generation source and another, called the “Charge on Solar” slider, for specifying the maximum charge they’d like from excess solar energy.

For instance, Tesla owners can set a minimum charge level for daily driving, such as 50%, and a solar limit of 90%. The car will charge at the time specified to reach your minimum charge goal of 50%, enough for your daily errands. If the vehicle remains plugged in during the day and excess solar energy is available, the car will automatically charge up to the 90% limit.

Charging from Multiple Solar Sites

Another exciting aspect of the “Drive on Sunshine” feature is the ability for Tesla owners to choose from multiple solar sites where they want their vehicles to charge using excess solar energy. This added flexibility allows owners to optimize their vehicle charging based on the availability of surplus solar power in different locations.

Release Date

It appears that the Drive on Sunshine feature is dev complete or nearing completion, based on the underlying source code in the latest Tesla app. It may even already be live and in testing for some employees. The feature is expected to launch soon for the general public, and it may even not require an app update for it to appear. Tesla may simply be able to adjust a configuration to turn this feature on for everyone. Keep an eye out for it in your Tesla app.

Tesla’s “Drive on Sunshine” feature marks a significant step forward in using clean energy for electric vehicle owners. By enabling Tesla owners to charge their vehicles using excess solar power, the feature ensures a more efficient and eco-friendly approach to electric vehicle charging.

As Tesla continues to push the boundaries of clean energy and electric vehicle technology, the “Drive on Sunshine” feature is yet another example of its commitment to creating a sustainable future.

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