We tend to think of electric cars as simply zero-emissions vehicles that get us from A to B, mostly over shorter distances.
We often overlook the fact that they facilitate other several other elements too.
One now being increasingly used is the ability to have software updates sent ‘over the air’. In other words, your car’s ability to do certain things, or new things, is expanded without needing to have anything done physically.
Here’s what Tesla told us earlier this week on that front: “Every single Model S, Model X and Model 3 ever built will receive new features and improvements from Software Version 9.0.”
No need to go to the garage or have bits added or replaced. Your Tesla just gets upgraded; full stop. I like their phrase that it is a reminder when owning one of those cars that it will “only get better over time”.
After the latest update, they say you’ll wake up with a car that is “smarter, safer and more intuitive” than before.
It is their most substantial update yet and means the user interface is simplified, as well as there being new elements.
Nice to know that by using the firm’s app you can start a vehicle software update without having to be in your car at all.
Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles built with Hardware 2.5 (from August 2017) now let you record and store video.
There is also a new application launcher that brings all your apps together in one place (calendar, web browser, rear-view camera, phone, charging etc). All eight external cameras from their Full Self-Driving hardware in each model are now active too.
On a lighter note, the company has added some “hidden features” to the cars’ large central display screen.
For example, some classic arcade games from Atari can be discovered when the car is in ‘Park’. Should be fun as when you find them they change the controls on the steering wheel and touchscreen to that of a games console.
On a more serious note, the firm cites the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – the US safety body – as confirming that the Model 3 (supposedly due here next year) is the safest car it has tested.
It follows the Model S and Model X in achieving the “lowest probability of injury” of any vehicle tested.
• FORD will launch a wagon version of the Mondeo with their petrol-electric hybrid system next March.
They say the wagon body style was developed exclusively for European customers. Full spec and pricing will be announced closer to sale date. As I say, the firm already has a hybrid saloon on the market.
Ford claims to be planning 16 full-electric vehicles up to 2022 as part of a 40-strong “electrified vehicles” schedule.
The 187PS hybrid powertrain combines an electric motor, a specially-developed 2-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine to drive the wheels, and a generator for regenerative charging of the 1.4 kWh lithium-ion, air-cooled, recyclable battery behind the rear seats. Transmission is continuously variable.
The company claims 4.4l/100km and emissions from 101g/km.