By Tony Rushin
I’ve had my Tesla Model 3 – which I named “Stela” – barely more than two months, and there have already been three software updates bringing me more functionality. I like waking up to new features in my car!
Today I’m highlighting 3 technology-enabled safety features that are available on my Model 3 (two of them weren’t there when I bought the car). All new cars – gas-powered or all-electric – are leveraging technology to put more features into cars. You don’t need to have an all-electric car to have these features, although some of the features, such as Cabin Overheat Protection, are easier to implement in an electric car that doesn’t need to turn on an engine to run the air conditioner.
Before I get to the safety features, here’s a trick that I can now do with Stela when she has been a bad girl – send her (without a driver) to the garage:
Enough shenanigans. Read on for the safety features. If you are in the market for a new car, I suggest you do your research to see what tech-enabled safety features come with the car.
Cabin Overheat Protection: This limits the interior of the car from going above 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours after you exit the car. It’s a safety feature for pet owners who worry about accidentally leaving their pet in the car or for parents who are worried about accidentally leaving their child in the car (heaven forbid). The feature was automatically enabled when it was pushed to my car, so there was nothing I needed to do (I can remove it if I want).
Valet Mode: Of course, other cars have Valet Mode, and newer cars limit access to the navigation system so the valet cannot see your home or work address (did you see “Death Wish” starring Bruce Willis?). The Model 3, using the smartphone app, makes it easy to put the car in Valet Mode. Hint: remember to take it off of Valet Mode when you pick up your car, or you won’t be able to use the nav system (like me – after a recent Braves game). Valet Mode also locks the front trunk and glovebox and hides all of the contacts linked to the car for fast, hands-free phone calls.
Speed Limit Mode: There are systems (such as AutoPi) that parents can install on the car their teenager drives to limit speed, set up a boundary, and control things like radio on/off/volume. Tesla’s Speed Limit Mode doesn’t take the place of an all-encompassing “teen leash,” but it does limit the speed and can be set and adjusted simply from the smartphone app. Adjust the maximum speed (between 50 and 90 mph), turn on the mode, and enter your 4-digit PIN. Done.
Car technology…blink and there’s more cool stuff!
I think Stela has been in “time-out” long enough; let’s call her out to take a ride: