When Tesla introduced its Model S, the auto industry was disrupted in ways nobody could have predicted. The company’s direct-to-consumer sales model has upset franchised dealers while winning over free-market advocates. While we wait for the outcome of that battle, we can’t help but marvel at Tesla’s industry leadership position in zero-emission transportation technologies continuously improved through the use of over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware updates.
Certainly not the only automaker utilizing OTA updates to keep their vehicles electronically maintained, Tesla has nonetheless achieved notoriety for incorporating OTA updates in the Model S to improve vehicle performance beyond that of microprocessors and memory cache. In this case, the firmware in the Model S P85D can be upgraded over-the-air to enable faster performance without the driver/owner lifting a finger.
The P85D delivers a stunning 0-to-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds after putting the vehicle from Sport Mode into “Insane” Mode. The experience is exhilarating and borderline terrifying by some accounts. Wanna go faster? Wait for the software update that changes a code algorithm and squeezes another 0.1 second out of the 0-to-60 time.
The miniscule speed improvement isn’t the important takeaway here. Tesla is proving that mechanical improvement of vehicles through OTA updates isn’t a concept – it is real and demonstrable. The company recently delivered Firmware 6.1, which added numerous features to Model S vehicles built in the 2013 and 2014 model year, including trip energy prediction, navigated route overview and rear-view camera guidelines, among others.
The sheer amount of on-board technology in the Model S stands to continuously benefit from OTA updates and off-board product cloud development. Coupled with Tesla’s effort to perform analytics on the data generated by their vehicles, OTA updates will deliver customer-specific feature and performance enhancements that other automakers will find hard to duplicate.
We can only imagine what the minds at Tesla will be delivering in the near future via OTA updates. But for now, let’s just enjoy Insane Mode.
Source: Tesla Model S P85D to Get Even Quicker with Over-the-Air Update – Car & Driver