Tesla’s reputation often precedes it. But no matter what you think of the electric car company’s ‘unique’ CEO – with his active Twitter presence and unorthodox methods of selling electric vehicles (no ads, no dealerships, all online) – Tesla vehicles are like no other.
Of course, there are other electric cars that offer regenerative braking, one-pedal driving, instant acceleration, and fast charging. But that still doesn’t make them like Tesla.
And no car brand, from electric vehicles to gas-powered options, offers as many hidden modes and settings as Tesla.
Here’s a look at the Tesla-only features that make Tesla, well, Tesla.
1. Only one touch screen
Tesla’s newest cars are Model 3 and Model Y; both feature the same sparse interior with a single central screen that controls everything you need to do, from driving the car and radio to finding directions. No other car has such a clean layout. Even the button to open the glove box is on the one and only screen.
Available since around 2015, the Automatic pilot started out as an extra feature you could add for a hefty fee to complete your ride. The advanced driving system automatically guided, followed other vehicles, braked in slower traffic, and generally assisted with highway driving, as long as the driver kept their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
Now most of these features are included in Tesla’s basic security system. But there’s also Full Self-Driving mode, for a current upgrade price of $10,000, which claims to be hands-free driving that can stop at stop signs and traffic lights, perform automatic lane changes and optionally steer automatically on any road, even off the highway. So far only a select group of beta testers are using the full FSD package. It got off to a rocky start, with the FSD mode struggling in dense urban areas.
3. Super recharge
Tesla has its own charging network, exclusive to Tesla owners. Other electric vehicles (like Rivian and Jeep) are also beginning to develop their own networks, but none as extensive as Tesla’s. Supercharging is available in the United States and other countries where Teslas are sold: there are over 25,000 superchargers. Quick charge adds up to 200 miles in 15 minutes. It’s no longer free like it was in the early days of Tesla, you pay either by the minute or by the kilowatt using a credit card loaded into the car’s computer.
4. Free Live Updates
Other automakers are catching up, but Tesla was the first to treat its cars like cellphones. Just like you update your iPhone to the latest iOS via free over-the-air software update, Tesla’s software connects to WiFi and can update a long list of car functions. When there was a brake problem a few years ago, an OTA update even fixed that problem.
5. Access by key card
It’s like a hotel room key card, but for your car. You don’t need to take it out for it to work, but if you have it out, you can touch it on the side panel of the door to unlock the door. You can also open the car from your smartphone with the Tesla app installed.
6. Sentry Mode
Other cars have security systems, but not like Sentry mode. If someone gets too close to your Tesla for too long, the cameras start recording, a message appears on the screen that the car is recording, and classical music starts playing from the audio system. You can enable Sentry mode to ward off potential intruders or vandals.
7. Dog Mode
Just as it sounds, Dog Mode lets dogs relax in the car. Parked cars overheat and are not safe for dogs, but with this mode enabled the car is kept cool with the air system always on even with the car parked. Additionally, an on-screen message on the center console reads “My owner will be back soon” to let passers-by know your dog is safe.
8. Ludicrous and Plaid Fashion
Activating it in a Model S means you have to be prepared for lightning-fast acceleration. With Plaid activated the car can go up to 321 km/h and accelerate to 100 km/h in less than two seconds.
9. Mode of defense against biological weapons
This mode came in handy during the devastating wildfires in the western United States throughout 2020. It’s only available with Model S and X cars equipped with a HEPA filtration system that automatically turns the car into a safe breathing space.
In image, it looks like this.
More entertainment in the car! This time it’s karaoke, with lyrics to popular songs appearing on the touchscreen when parked. But since he’s in the car, he’s been renamed ” Caraoke“.