Following the review of Firmware 6.1’s Trip Energy Prediction roll out I’ll be taking a deeper look at some of the other major features that came bundled with this version such as navigation routing and the reverse camera parking aid.
Range Display: Battery %
The Model S displays battery range based on a rated or ideal measurement as determined by the methodology in which the US EPA measures electric vehicle range.
This range always seems to be a hot topic of discussion amongst owners since, almost always, the actual mileage achieved is lower than what’s displayed on the car’s dash. This is especially true during the cold New England winter months when 265 miles of rated range turns out to be closer to 160 miles of actual range due to the effects of winter driving.
The grim reality is that range based on distance (mi/km) will vary depending on how you drive, the terrain you drive on and the environmental conditions during that time.
Tesla Firmware 6.1 solves this issue by giving drivers the ability to replace the display of range with the percentage of battery life remaining. Sure there’s the color-coded battery indicator but being able to see an actual value makes it much more relatable. On top of that the amount of battery remaining lines up nicely to the energy graph displayed through the Trip Energy Prediction feature.
Using this new way of measuring your range takes some getting used to but after a week of using it I kind of like it. It certainly beats using a rated range display that ends up being off by 40-50% during the winter months.
Tesla Firmware 6.1 also adds a new view for trip routing. A “Route Overview” option allows you to visualize your route using a north up view but with the ability to automatically zoom in as you approach your destination. There’s no need to manually pinch zoom anymore..
Enhanced Park Assist and Camera Guidelines
I’m lumping these two features together but also keeping in mind that Park Assist is limited to those with the parking assist package.
With this new update putting the Model S in reverse will display both front and rear parking sensors making parallel parking and backing into tight spots that much easier. You also have the ability to manually trigger Park Assist as long as the car is traveling below 5mph. This is a great addition since it provides visibility for all four corners of the Model S.
Tesla finally put the rumors of having an inadequate graphics engine, that supposedly prevented the ability to render parking lines, to rest with the addition of the reverse camera guidelines.
I never had rear camera guidelines on any of my previous cars so this feature wasn’t on my wish list and I never really understood why so many people wanted them. Now that I have them I can see how it would be hard to ever go back to a car without them.
Rear camera guidelines was the #1 requested feature for years and Tesla has delivered!
Summarizing the feature, the Model S will overlay lines on the screen to indicate the path of travel when backing up. These lines move with your steering wheel and apparently the lines will change colors to ensure maximum contrast and visibility depending on the background. Here’s a video of it in action.
Tesla outdid itself with this the release of Firmware 6.1. It introduces a solid list of big features and improvements around range, routing displays and parking assistance. Combine this with the new feature to dynamically calculate range based on terrain and driving behavior, this is one of the best updates to date.
Stay tuned as I review some of the other enhancements that came bundled with this version.