Tesla Autopilot 2 software has started to roll out to the fleet with the latest 8.0 updates for those lucky owners with AP 2.0 hardware, but there’s something for the rest of us in these updates too.
While many companies wait for major or minor releases to introduce new features, Tesla has a history of adding features in patch releases too. Patch release 8.0 (2.52.22) introduced 3 new features for my car.
This feature is essentially worthless and turned out to be something else entirely. While Tesla does provide a small hint of what kind of amenities are at the Supercharger, there are no details to them:
The brief list is nice, but what would be better is if you could click on the icons and they would provide more details. It’s not like Tesla doesn’t have the information, this Supercharger summary from EVTripping.com provides a lot more information and all the data is sourced from Tesla!
Overall, the feature in Tesla is not very useful, but there was a extra bit in this “feature”.
I was surprised to see the “$0.40/min idle fee” notice on the Supercharger. A short while ago, Tesla announced that they would start charging people for “idling” while plugged into a Supercharger. There were a number of issues with the original statement by Tesla and they later refined how the plan would work, but they may not be done with that yet.
Tesla’s latest public statement was that they would only charge the “idle” fees (plugged into a Supercharger, but not charging for >5 minutes) if the location was busy (>50% stalls in use). Overall, I’m in favor of the plan if it is executed correctly. Here on the East Coast, I rarely see other Teslas when I’m charging, but I understand it is a real problem out West.
These screens show something that looks like a very different plan than what they’ve said publicly. The Supercharger in the screen shot above was empty at that time. The one below was also empty:
From these screens, it appears that the current implementation of the Supercharger idle fees is to charge idle fees by location (presumably for the busier locations where a lot of congestion happens), not by how busy the charging sites are at the time you’re using them. This would be a mistake and would not match their stated plan.
Why are the idle fees listed on some chargers but not others? Time will tell how this story will play out. For the heck of it, I went to the one with the idle fees and plugged in and then stopped my charge and sat there for 20 minutes. In theory that would cost me $8.00 if the site was busy, but I was the only one there:
We’ll see if Tesla tries to charge me for that event next time I visit the service center. For a good while, I’d recommend keeping photo records of how busy the charging sites are if there’s any chance of you leaving your car past a charge complete state.
For a good while, I’d recommend keeping photo records of how busy the charging sites are when you’re using them if there’s any chance of you leaving your car past a charge complete state.
Automatic Driver Profiles
With this feature, Tesla finally implemented something my old 2007 Acura MDX has. You can now link your driver profile to one of the two key fobs that came with your Tesla. The fobs are not numbered or labeled by Tesla, so which is FOB 1 vs FOB 2 is something you’ll have to figure out and mark for yourself, but otherwise the feature works exactly as you’d expect.
If you have more than 2 profiles in the car, you can only set one profile per FOB, the others will need to manually select their profiles from the menu.
Also note that the profile doesn’t “activate” until you open the driver side door. If you unlock the car and get in the passenger seat the profile does not trigger.
In the past, the equalizer only had 3 different levels you could control, now there are 5 individual controls for better-tuned sound.
The settings worked as you’d expect and it’s nice to have a bit more control over the sound settings.
While most of the software action has been in the Autopilot world for quite a long time, it’s great to keep getting new features and software updates for my “classic” pre-autopilot Model S.
The driver profile linking to the FOBs are by far the best addition in this update. The Supercharger amenities are disappointing and the idle fees are concerning.
With these features in a patch release of 8.0 (and even more included for AP cars), it makes me wonder what goodies 8.1 will have in store for us. Any guesses? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Lee Raesly said:
I believe that the new fees only apply to cars that were purchased after January 15th,2017. All older cars are grandfathered in. Free!
That said, personally, as more Tesla’s hit the market, I think this makes a ton of sense. I only use the Superchargers when I travel longer distances away from home. I don’t want to support people who see the Supercharger network as a way to avoid daily charging costs and delay me on longer trips- which I think is what the true value of the network is. Just look at the number of gas station vs. charging stations… And imagine if it were 1915 instead…
That applies to the SC charging cost, not for the idle fees. Idle fees affect everyone.
Lee Raesly said:
Thanks for the clarification… I only charge long enough to get to the next stop when traveling really no issue for me. An even bigger challenge is when non-EV parking is allowed in SC spaces… It was awful on the Merritt Parkway on my way from DC to Boston…
The chargers on the Merritt are a mess. I avoid them at all times. Blocking by non-Tesla cars is an issue Tesla will have to get better at dealing with for sure.
Tesla Owner said:
I wasn’t surprised by the idle fees. Here in CA with a huge number of Teslas there are clearly drivers who leave their cars far too long at superchargers. San Mateo and Burbank have had serious congestion and lines. I think Tesla will be smart and only implement this where needed.
David Ahn said:
Good luck collecting on these fees, Tesla, especially if they rack up a few hundred dollars in idle fees. I say require swiping a CC terminal before charging; immediate fees will deter people more than facing a charge at a service center a few months hence.
Luckily this will probably only apply to a handful of offenders.
They say they’ll collect them at your next service appointment. I can see how that would be an uncomfortable experience for all involved. Imagine going for service 11 months after the event and having them tell you you owe money for something you don’t remember or agree with.