Recently I’ve had the chance to spend some time with Tesla’s Model S, in particular the P90D with Ludicrous mode.
By now, there have been loads of stories around the aptly named Ludicrous mode which will send you to 100km/h in 3 seconds flat, its electric range, Autopilot and safety features. But after using it as my daily car, there were a few awesome things the car did that made life just that little bit easier.
1. You can use your phone as the key.
Boy did this save me. One night I was meant to be going out to a friend’s birthday and I was already running late when I realised I had left the key for the Tesla in my girlfriend’s handbag who was at this point, at work. Freaking out that I was going to miss the party, I remembered an update I wrote about a while back about Tesla’s phone app — you can use your phone as a key. I opened the app and within seconds I had unlocked the car and started it. Incredibly handy and something I’ve never been able to do with any other car.
One thing to note is that it doesn’t communicate directly with the car, but rather over the internet, so you need to make sure that your parking space still has phone reception otherwise you will be stuck.
2. You can wake up with new features on your car.
One of the best parts about Tesla being a technology company more so than a car company is how well the software is integrated. As I parked the car one afternoon, an update popped up and installed overnight. When I woke up the next morning, the Model S had Tesla’s new Summon feature available meaning that the car could now park itself for me. In the past, Tesla has added features that could make the car drive itself or even make it faster.
3. Parking sensors show how far away things are from the car, down to the centimetre.
This is handier than you think. While most cars have parking sensors, they often just beep loudly when you get closer to an obstacle. While this is good, knowing exactly how close that object is makes things even better. Tesla’s parking sensors can tell you where it is right down to the centimetre, so if you’re getting into a tight spot, you have much more to work with than just those loud beeps.
4. The manual and instructions on how to use things are all embedded in the big touchscreen.
Don’t know how to use a particular feature? No worries, just dive into the settings menu and there are instructions to use there. It’s easy to find, easy to follow and is something that cars have needed since the dawn of the touchscreen.
5. Having a sim card built in opens up so any opportunities.
Included with the car is a free sim card with a 3G data connection. You don’t realise how great this is to have until you’ve experienced it. Because of that, you’re able to have music apps such as Spotify and TuneIn Radio built in with just about every song available for you to listen to without needing to fiddle around with your phone. Then there’s the use of live traffic updates, which because the Model S uses Google Maps as the basis for its navigation system, is able to show you what’s causing traffic in real time. Thankfully I didn’t have to use this feature but the sim will also let emergency services know you’re in trouble the second you have an accident.