Tesla is adding yet another feature to its range of electric cars via an over-the-air software update, automatically disabling the passenger face vent when there is no passenger.
The added bonus of this feature, as noted by CEO and co-founder Elon Musk on Twitter on Wednesday, is that because turning off the vent when it is not needed reduces drain on the energy consumption of the vehicle, it will also result in a small increase in driving range.
Small wins, but as energy efficiency is the name of the game to extract every ounce of driving distance from electric car batteries, a win nevertheless.
The “passenger face vent” feature is part of the 2020.28.5 update which will be rolled out to all markets, however this feature is initially limited to Model Y owners (and therefore for now only for the US and Canada) according to NotaTeslaApp.
The update notes are as follows:
Your car will automatically disable the passenger face vents when no passenger is detected, lowering energy consumption in hot weather. This vent can be manually enabled by tapping where you’d like the passenger face vent to direct air within the climate control panel.
Efficiency of HVAC (heat, ventilation and air conditioning) has been a major focus for the Model Y, which is the first Tesla vehicle to use a heat pump instead of a resistive heating system, so it is no surprise that it is this vehicle that is getting the newest vent control first.
It’s yet another example of the “slow but steady” approach to improving efficiency that Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has discussed in the past, keeping Tesla well ahead in the electric vehicle game and legacy car makers on their toes as big auto names like Volkswagen seek to solve a ten year tech deficit.
While Tesla sends out yet another software update to further improve the efficiency of its range of electric cars, Volkswagen board member for e-mobility Thomas Ulbrich has said the German car maker is striving to catch up to Tesla’s ten year head start, Teslarati reports.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.