Speculation that this update would somehow increase the driving range of the car’s electric drivetrain and its 85kWh lithium-ion battery pack, however, has now proven unfounded.
The update, which counts as version 6.2 of the Model S’s onboard system, introduces a new application called ‘Range Assurance’.
Rather than magically increasing the sedan’s 390-502km driving range by a few hundred extra kilometres, the app constantly monitors the status of nearby charging points and measures their proximity against the likelihood that the car might soon run out of power.
If the nearest charger is out of use, the system will re-evaluate the vehicle’s remaining drive range and map out a path to the next available charging station.
The system constantly re-calculates the distance to the destination,factoring in elevation changes, wind speed, driving speed, outside temperature, heating and air-con use, and more.
In this way, Musk told press today, it will be “impossible” to run out of range. “Unless you do so intentionally”, he added.
“The car will check that you want to go ahead with what you’re doing. You’ll need to say yes, twice.”
Musk said that the app’s existence will likely prove more of a selling point to those who do not already own a Model S.
"We actually don't think many people with a Model S suffer from range anxiety, but this is helpful for the people who don't drive a Model S. It could put their mind at ease,” he said.
A second app, Trip Planner, has also been introduced, performing a similar function by highlighting an optimal route to a given destination, based around traffic and available charging points.
A handful of smaller functional tweaks also feature in the latest update, including improved accelerator and brake feel, updated automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, and a new 250km/h top speed for the P85D model.
The latest software update is scheduled to roll out to Model S vehicles ‘over the air’ in the coming weeks.
Another update, which will leap the system to version 7.0, is due later this year. Musk promised a major overhaul for the graphics of the car’s giant in-dash display.
Perhaps more compelling, Musk said the update will also introduce more self-driving functions, revealing that a prototype has already been driving between San Francisco and Seattle with very little driver input.
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