Happy Birthday Car
I took delivery of my Model 3 AWD on 25th October 2018. Here we are one year and 22,067 miles later. The car has been a lot of fun to drive and I will be keeping it for the foreseeable future
What I didn’t get a year ago (but have today)
Rather than do a blow by blow account of what I like and dislike about the car, (you can read my blog to discover what I’ve found over the last year) I thought I’d focus on what features I have today that were NOT delivered when the vehicle was new a year ago. All of these new capabilities have been delivered via over the air updates, the majority of which were free.
In the first week of ownership I got an upgrade to Version 9 firmware which included a new feature, Dashcam. Dashcam recorded what one of the forward cameras saw as you drove onto a specially prepared USB drive. A few months later Tesla added the side repeater cameras to this feature.
2. Firmware update activation via mobile app
Within a few weeks of getting my Model 3 we visited England. While in England the Tesla App notified me of a software update which I initiated. The new software was waiting for me when I returned. This would not have been possible the day of delivery but was just a few weeks later.
3. Sentry Mode
This is one of my favorite features. The car can be set to record activity close to your vehicle while it is parked. Within a few weeks of getting this feature, my Model 3 was hit by a rogue shopping cart. I used the video to obtain compensation from Whole Foods. The staff were amazed I had the video footage but were very willing to help once provided with clear evidence.
4. Blindspot monitoring
This feature shows a red line on the main display when a car was in your blindspot and you indicated the desire to change lanes.
5. Obstacle aware acceleration
My car will now reduce the acceleration if it detects I am about to drive into an object ahead.
6. Dog Mode
Dog mode is an improvement to the “Leave Climate On” feature in the car that displays on the main center screen to people outside your car you have the A/C on and what the current vehicle interior temperature is. While I don’t have a pet or need for this feature when trying it out I did discover the “Leave Climate On” feature I always had. I find the previous feature to be very handy when you pop into a store for a few minutes on a hot or cold day the car is a nice temperature when you return.
I did not buy the optional autopilot feature with my initial order. At $5,000 I felt the feature was over priced. The price after delivery was $6,000, which was increased to $7,000. It seemed Autopilot was not in my future. In February 2019 sales of the Model 3 were down markedly and Tesla needed cash. Tesla reduced the cost of Autopilot to $2,000 and removed the Enhanced Autopilot features. I ordered the new Autopilot.
8. Full Self Driving.
Full self driving was also reduced in price in February 2019. I didn’t order it at first, but when Tesla announced they planed to increase the price to pre discount levels, I chose to purchase it for $3,000. This gave access to all the autonomous features and any future features yet to be released. I gained Navigate on Autopilot and Summon. In addition the purchase of FSD ensures the version 3 of the self driving hardware will be made available at no extra cost.
9. Smart Summon
The ability to summon a car across a parking lot was added. Its somewhat of a party trick with few practical uses in its bera form. One day it should be a handy feature.
10. Entertainment – Netfilx, Youtube, Hulu and Spotify
With version 10 of Tesla firmware came a slew of new features. The entertainment features may seem incidental, however once you experience videos playing with the benefit of the cinematic sound you realize its a truly amazing experience. The video features only work when you are stopped and in park.
11. Rear camera support for Dashcam and Sentry Mode.
12. Arcade Games
Several arcade games have been added to the UI. I’m not a gamer so won’t pass judgement.
Yep. My car can make fart noises. Whoopie doo.
14. Romance Mode
The car display can be turned into a hot crackling fire animation.
15 Lane Departure Avoidance
If I start to drift out of my lane, the car will vibrate the steering wheel and nudge me back into my lane. Once you get used to this feature you realize how valuable it is, its is an antidote to driver distraction or loss of focus for a moment.
16. Feeling lucky and I’m Hungry
The navigation system will now take me to places I may not know or have visited before.
Karoke in your car. Nuf said.
18. A web browser that works.
Tesla upgraded the web browser to use Chrome and it works very well. You can even use the browser while you drive (Shhhhhh…)
19. 5% more power
Thanks to firmware improvements, the car is now 5% more powerful reducing 0-60 times from 4.5 seconds to 4.2.
20. Joe Mode
Audible alerts can be quite loud and intrusive. Joe Mode allows for you to cut the volume of alerts by half.
I can now vent my windows using a feature on the Tesla App. I can do this while I am locking the car or from anywhere in the world afterwards. The vent feature also allows me to close all 4 windows together.
22. Geo Location Mirror folding
Based on my location, I can have the car automatically fold mirrors. I do so at home, at the ATM, Maildrop at the post office.
23. CHAdeMO adapter support
For over a year after release the Model 3 could not be used at CHAdeMO rapid chargers. Now it can. I got the adapter as soon as it was available. This has extended my ability to charge my vehicle in more remote locations where Supercharger stations are rare.
24. Driving profile associated with phone keys
Rather than have to select a driver profile on the main screen profiles can now be tied to specific phone keys so the seat and steering wheel are adjusted automatically.
25. Faster Supercharging
When I bought the car the fastest it would charge was 120 kWh, now with V2 chargers I can charge up to 150 kWh and 250 kWh with a V3 supercharger, we should get V3 Superchargers in Nashville in the next few weeks 🙂
Twenty Five and counting
Yep there are a lot of new features available to me today that were not present on the day of delivery exactly one year ago. No other car maker provides so much so quickly, and the majority of it is for free. I’ll add more as I remember them. There are so many its quite a job to recall them all, especially since they have become part of the day to day driving experience.
While not new, many things have improved.
Automatic Windscreen wipers comes to mind. Initially these would fail to activate during heavy downpours or the start of gentle rain. Today the feature works very well.
Automatic high beams have also seem improvements, but Tesla still have some work to do here.
How about your car?
How many new or improved features did you get this past you in your current vehicle? Let me guess, none.