Tesla cars are getting a massive software update

Tesla cars are getting a massive software update

The company has announced a big refresh for its vehicles, coming this spring.

Tesla owners: Your cars are (probably) getting better this spring.

Earlier this week, Tesla posted a list of software updates that are coming as part of the company’s upcoming “Spring Release.”

Some of these things we already knew about, some are completely new, and some that may come aren’t mentioned. Let’s dig in.

First important takeaway from Tesla’s unusually revealing post: these are the “highlights” from the upcoming software release, indicating that more is coming. Another one, especially painful for owners of older Teslas: a lot of these changes, while exciting, are only for newer Tesla cars, dated 2021 or later.

The official list of improvements coming to Teslas

As for what is most definitely coming, at least according to Tesla, here’s the list:

  • Visual updates, with a pretty big overhaul of the entire UI (as seen in the image above).Do note that this is only for Tesla Model 3 and Model Y cars with an AMD chip. This means that if your car is older than December 2021, it’s probably not getting this part of the update as the built-in Intel Atom chip cannot support it.
  • Music playback controls are getting larger, with quick access to Recents, Favorites, and Up Next in the media player.
  • Spotify app for Teslas is also getting better, with the ability to sync your Spotify queue across cars and devices, as well as adjust playback speed.
  • Amazon’s audiobook platform Audible is also coming as a native media app.
  • Autopilot driving visualizations will now be represented as an expandable, small map in the top right for trip guidance.
  • Auto Shift (beta), meaning your car will now automatically shift between Drive (D) and Reverse (R) based on surroundings. For example, if there’s an obstacle in front of you, the car will automatically shift into R.This is only for Model S and Model X cars dated 2021 and later.
  • Hands-Free Trunk (for Model S, X and 2021 and later, as well as the upgraded Model 3 (Highland) which launched in 2023 – if you stand still behind your trunk with your Phone Key, the trunk will open on its own.We’re eager to see more explanations on this one; for example, why isn’t Model Y mentioned at all (perhaps the upgraded (Juniper) version, reportedly coming later this year, is getting it). Also, will it also work with the key fob, or is it reserved only for the Phone Key?

  • Select countries (unnamed) are also getting previews of Sentry Mode recordings on their phone if the alarm is triggered.

This is activated by pressing and holding the notification you get on the phone.

  • Increased regenerative braking on the highway (for Model S and X dated 2021 and later).These cars will now allow for more regenerative braking at high speeds, meaning more battery life overall.
  • Rear passengers will see more info on the rear touchscreen display, including current trip details, time and temperature.

Wait, there’s more

Ok, so that’s the official word on what’s coming. Are there any more rumored or unmentioned changes? Well, yes, though they are mostly minor.

Not a Tesla App claims that the update will also bring full-screen browser support, which is particularly important if you’re going to be using it for video streaming. Navigation will start offering faster routes when they become available. You’ll be able to set up the sound of chimes to ring when you approach a speed camera. Wiper controls are getting better, with the ability to adjust wiper speed by moving the left scroll wheel up or down. Finally, Tesla owners will be able to check whether their car is compatible with some of these new features by navigating to Controls > Software > Additional Vehicle Info.

When is it all coming?

There’s no official word on that, but Not a Tesla App claims the update is already rolling out to Tesla employees. If that is so, it’s reasonable to expect this update to arrive within weeks. Technically, given that Tesla is calling it a “Spring Release,” it shouldn’t arrive later than June 20.

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