A few months ago I put out a video about what I thought Tesla’s top 5 competitive advantages were. I still stand by that list and wouldn’t remove anything, but one advantage that a bunch of you brought up was Tesla’s software. And you’re absolutely right. I should have made my list the top 6 advantages and included that. The over the air software updates that Tesla pushes out to their fleet is like no other car company in operation today.
It’s how I shot that goofy opening sequence. I used the new Enhanced Summon feature to control the car and drive it remotely … and yes … you heard me right in the opening … you could win a long range all wheel drive, Tesla Model 3, just like mine. I’ve partnered with Prizeo to give away a brand new Tesla Model 3 and $5,000 cash in the trunk. But the best part is that this giveaway is helping to support the charity, Project Angel Food, with each donation. I’ll give some more details on that in a bit.
When I got my Model 3 last year, there was only the ability to move the car forward and backward using your phone. It was a very simple remote control to help navigate your car out of a tight spot. But since then Tesla has been making a lot of advancements on its path to full autonomous driving. And along that path Tesla keeps pushing out updates to our cars. With enhanced summon we’re no longer limited to just moving the car forward and back, but now we can tell the car where to pick us up and it takes care of the rest. And with future software updates this feature will continue to improve.
It’s kind of mind-blowing that Teslas get better over time with software updates. I’ve never owned a car before that actually gets better with time. Usually when your car gets some kind of software update it has to be upgraded at the dealership, and even then it’s not typically adding radical new features. Tesla is constantly tweaking, improving, and adding functionality … over the air.
Near the end of 2018 Tesla added a Dashcam feature to the car. All you had to do was plug in a USB drive into one of the USB ports in the front of the car, and you’d start collecting recordings from the car’s external cameras while you drive. It’s proven itself incredibly useful to owners and police when reviewing what caused an accident.1 At the beginning of 2019 we got another camera related feature with Senty Mode, which records video when motion is detected around your parked car. Again, it’s helped to capture thieves and vandals.2
They’ve also added incredible self-driving features like Navigate on Autopilot, which can guide the car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, as well as change to faster lanes.3 It was a little rough at first, but there’s been a steady cadence of updates to this feature, which has improved the reliability with each upgrade. One that’s due any day now, and might already be out by the time you see this video, is improving how quickly the car changes lanes, as well as improving the rain sensing wipers.
In another update not too long ago, Tesla was able to adjust the power, range, and charging through a software update, which accounted for a 5% power improvement. This means faster 0-60 acceleration, as well as a longer overall range. The long range AWD model ended up seeing a boost of 12 more miles at full charge.4 Again, I’ve never heard of any car company increasing fuel efficiency after you’ve bought the car. Most cars are a static purchase … frozen in time.
No other company is doing this,5 but not surprisingly, it’s looking like that’s starting to change. Ford plans to update the Mustang Mach-E in much the same way,6 but showing how difficult good software and system architecture is, it’s going to be very limited to start.7 They’re keeping critical systems air-gapped from network functions, which means only the infotainment system will be able to get over the air updates. But they’re working on future iterations where any digital system of their cars can receive updates as well. It’s great to see other manufacturers heading in that direction, but it’s going to be a long time before the big auto manufacturers can catch up on maintaining the full software stack in over the air updates. And that’s where Tesla’s Silicon Valley roots give them a commanding lead. They’ve designed their computer and software systems from the ground up. Sandy Munro, who’s an expert in the automotive industry and manufacturing, has compared Tesla’s controller designs to what you see in a fighter jet.
“If you look at this thing, this is cellphone technology. This is the technology we would see in really high-end computers, normally for the government. When you look at this, you’re looking at the same kind of technology you’d see on a flight controller for an F-35, and we kind of know a little bit about that too. We do work for the military. Everything here smacks of cellphone technology and defense technology.” -Sandy Munro8
This is just another great reason why you’d want to get a car like the Tesla Model 3. And like I mentioned at the beginning, you can enter to win a Model 3 and help out a great cause at the same time. Project Angel Food is a Los Angeles non-profit that gives nutritional meals and counseling for people with serious illnesses. These healthy meals are medically tailored by registered dietitians and chefs to meet their specific nutritional needs and medical condition. Since 1989, Project Angel Food has delivered almost 12 million meals to those in need. You can help support their mission with your donation … and earn entries to win a Tesla Model 3.
If you win, you’ll be getting the best selling electric car right now with over 300 miles of range, 0-60 in just over 4 seconds, all-glass roof, and a 15” touch screen display … where you can also play games. Another one of those fantastic over the air updates that happened recently. You’ll get to pick your color from white, black, silver, or blue. Not only will you be getting the car, but all sales tax and delivery fees are covered … and you’ll be getting $5,000 in the trunk.
To enter go to prizeo.com/tesla, donate as little as $10 to Project Angel Food and you’ll be entered to win. The more you donate, the more chances you have to win.
Of all of the recent software updates, my favorite new feature is Navigate on Autopilot, which has made longer road trips so much more relaxing. What’s your favorite feature that Tesla’s rolled out over the past year … or which ones are you most excited to use if you don’t have the car yet. Drop a comment down below.
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