We learned earlier this week that Tesla had a plan in the works that would end range anxiety — a fear that an electric vehicle will run out of juice before it can be plugged in to recharge — for its electric vehicles. Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new initiative to deal with range anxiety.
Over the next two weeks, Model S electric vehicles will automatically download an over-the-air (OTA) update that will install the Range Assurance app on the vehicle. Range Assurance is a background process that runs all the time and maintains a real-time communications link with Tesla’s Supercharger network. Using information gleaned from the charging network, the vehicle will be able to alert the driver when he or she is driving too far away to safely reach a Supercharger. Range Reassurance will then tell the driver how far the nearest station is from their current location and plot an optimum route to reach it.
According to Musk, "This makes it effectively impossible for a Model S driver to run out of range unintentionally.”
In other Tesla news, Musk also announced that another software update that will land in the next three months would bring autopilot functionality to newer versions of the Model S. The update will enable auto-steering (which will join an already impressive suite of automated controls and crash avoidance systems already included on the Model S), which Musk says will allow drivers to “basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything.”
With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie paving the way for Tesla to resume direct auto sales in the Garden State, there are definitely bluer skies ahead for Elon Musk.