The major jab against the electric car is a common but not exclusive one, “What if you run out of fuel?” Gas powered cars can fill up on the side of the highway with a jerrycan, a luxury the battery-powered vehicle obviously does not have; such is the notion of ‘range anxiety.’
But it might not be a term you’ll have to adopt for long, because two new smart apps for the Tesla Model S look to make it ultimately very, very difficult for drivers to unintentionally run out of charge. The apps are called ‘Range Assurance’ and ‘Trip Planner’, and if you have a Model S they could be updating over-the-air on your car right now.
Road Assurance works in the background of the Model S computer system, even when drivers aren’t using navigation, and communicates with charging stations on the Supercharger network to show a map of the most convenient locations to fuel-up, and directs you to the closest one.
But it’s beyond just a mapping app. Road Assurance will sort heavy use or inactive stations to the back of the list and even calculates gradient changes, weather, and windspeed factors that could affect your range. And it does this with no driver input at all.
Trip Planner helps drivers plan routes to their destination by integrating the best charging options on the way, again, ignoring the heavily used stations and putting you on your way in the most convenient timeframe possible.
Also included in the update are a few advanced safety features new to the Model S, including Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Side Collision Warning, Valet Mode (which restricts in-car access and driving speed), as well as refinements to the car’s audio and cruise control.