One of the key aspects of Tesla vehicles is the ability to receive over-the-air updates to add or unlock features — or occasionally have them taken away, much to a used-car buyer’s chagrin — but now the company isn’t stopping there. Owners of eligible older Model S and Model X models can, for a price, have the car’s infotainment hardware updated. Tesla also released significant over-the-air updates recently, including for the Model 3’s Track Mode, although those updates may not be enough to satisfy unhappy Chinese customers who insist they were promised more modern autonomous vehicle hardware. And if all that isn’t enough, in other news, GM unveiled its latest attempt at advanced electric vehicle battery technology, signifying at least an intent to be competitive with the biggest name in the segment.
Let’s take a closer look at this week’s Tesla news.
Tesla’s updated infotainment system will set owners back $2,500 plus applicable taxes. The automaker says the new touchscreen will be faster and more responsive, and comes with features owners of older Teslas may not have, such as video streaming. Tesla will notify owners of their eligibility; the owner will then be able to schedule an appointment to have the new hardware installed. Those who have purchased Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability will have first access and will also be given a complimentary upgrade to the Full Self-Driving Computer.
In addition to an actual Track Package that gives the Model 3 Performance new 20-inch wheels, higher-performance brake pads and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, Tesla has updated the car’s Track Mode with new features that give owners the ability to significantly customize their Model 3’s behavior, from braking to power distribution and more. Other updates outside of the track mode include enabling the Full Self-Driving Preview in more locations, improved Bluetooth behavior, increased regenerative braking for the Model S and Model X, and the addition of third-party charging stations to the in-car navigation system.
Model 3 buyers in China say they were promised Tesla’s HW3 version of Autopilot, which uses a proprietary chip and is capable of processing more information like traffic signals and street signs. Instead, they received vehicles with HW2.5, which lacks those abilities. Tesla is blaming the discrepancy on supply-chain issues and is promising to rectify the situation for aggrieved owners as soon as it can.
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GM Has New Batteries
GM revealed its latest line of electric vehicle batteries, dubbed Ultium, and said the batteries could produce 50 to 200 kilowatt-hours of energy, which gives a vehicle powered by them the potential for a range greater than 400 miles. In addition to powering its own vehicles in a variety of applications, GM also hopes to license the technology to other manufacturers.
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