Range anxiety is a real concern among both prospective electric car buyers and existing owners. I mean, who wants to be stranded on the side of the road with a set of drained batteries?
After teasing an over-the-air software solution for Model S drivers earlier this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made good on his promise Thursday with the unveiling of two new in-vehicle applications: Range Assurance and Trip Planner.
Anytime a driver is about to travel too far from a supercharger recharging station to make it back before running out of juice, the Range Assurance app will issue a warning. According to Musk, this makes it effectively impossible for a driver to run out of range by accident.
The feature works even if you aren’t using turn-by-turn directions and will ignore busy charging stations so drivers aren’t wasting time waiting their turn in line.
As TechCrunch correctly points out, the Model S already provides drivers with an estimate of remaining range based on how much power is left in the proverbial tank. Additionally, it also tells drivers how far away they are from the nearest recharging station. The new update simply consolidates the two features.
Trip Planner, meanwhile, does pretty much what its name describes. If you plan to travel for a lengthy distance, the feature can be used to map out supercharger locations along the way and determine the best route to take to get to them. It takes into account variables like strong winds and even steep mountain passes that may have an impact range.
The new updates are currently in beta testing and should be available by the end of the month.