Classic Teslas like mine do not have the hardware that enables the autopilot features. The new software release that all cars received last Friday works for both the Classic Teslas and the ones with the autopilot hardware, which costs $2,500. This release has a few significant highlights and unfortunately a couple of lowlights for Classic Cars such as mine.
1. The look and feel has changed in several small ways. Some of the fonts and style has changed a little bit with the current fashionable flat 2-D icons. When Apple first released their 2-D icons, I missed the older ones, but I largely think this is just a current style trend that will eventually change again.
2. For long road trips, the information on the dashboard for energy usage is much clearer. Now instead of looking at a strange screen with Trip A and Trip B monitors, you are looking at the information since the last time you started the car on top, and since your last charge below. On long road trips when I was running dangerously low on energy, I would always bring up the Trip screen to get this information since last charge. The Trip A and B information is still available on the 17” screen if people plan their energy use that way.
I like this change because I can monitor how much energy I have used since my last charge very succinctly. I like the kWh usage number and I can easily mentally compare that to my 85kWh battery and compare my Wh/mi usage to the 300 Wh/mile standard. Here in the hills of California, I never average as low as 300 Wh/mile. Only on some very flat freeways can the average be maintained at that low level.
2. Tesla has finally found a solution to my curb rash! Now the rear view mirrors adjust downwards while backing up. I have only tried using this feature once but now I imagine I can parallel park much nicer even without auto-pilot. Of course, I could have done that manually in the past, but I couldn’t imagine messing with my mirrors every time before and after parallel parking. I’m really excited about this feature because for some reason I’ve never been a great parallel parker. In my entire life I just have never lived anywhere where I parked parallel with any frequency.
After visiting so many superchargers, I’m really good at backing up into tight spaces though.
3. The center of the dash has grown and changed to accommodate an area for the autopilot in the middle of the speedometer. For those without autopilot the area is a bit excessive. The car will have indication lights such as when it is braking as in the picture, but typically this information does not change much and can be a bit annoying. Owners with red cars have reported they cannot really see the red indicator lights as it blends too much with their car color on the display.
To make space for the larger center display, the battery level was moved to the left and the date, time and temperature removed from the standard dash set up. You can see the time at the far upper right of the 17” screen, and the date through the calendar app.
To appease those of us who may want to have an easier glance at the time, they added a new clock widget. The response to the clocks widget is that it is almost universally esthetically displeasing. And with all of that space, why can’t the date and day of the week also be listed?
4. Tesla added a tiny lock and unlock button on the top row of the 17” screen.
I like this improvement because it took a while to fiddle around the 17” screen to unlock the doors for someone who was trying to get into the car. They moved the outside temperature reading up here too along with a new button for bringing up the charge screen.
I think the temperature needs to go back to the dash permanently. I am a bit obsessive about the outside temperature. I adjust the inside temperature control a lot depending upon the outside temperature and whether or not it is sunny. This fall has been so warm here in California. Today is the first day of the year that even feels like fall not summer so I’ve been watching the temperature this year a bit obsessively.
The new charge button brings up the charge screen, which to me is a bit strange. I am always fiddling a bit to find the unlock charge port button more than anything else on that screen. I’d prefer that this lightning bolt just unlocked the charge port.
The release also includes a few other minor changes on the dash board that I will not mention such as a full screen control of the media player. There are also some efficiency improvements but I have not driven the car much yet to notice any differences. Newer cars also get a full four wheel tire pressure monitoring sensors that will report on each four tires. My car’s vintage is unfortunately too old. I don’t know if there are any bug fixes to the bug challenged trip planner.
All in all, I think 7.0 is an improvement even with a few trivial mistakes on the UI.