Tesla Fulminations: Why is the latest Tesla software update so horrible? (+ A Wawa update)

Wylie, my white 2022 Tesla Model Y, is basically my everyday car for going to the market, going to the doctor. Road trips over 30 miles are rare, so I don’t really spend much time behind the wheel. I also don’t feel an irrepressible need to be entertained during these short trips. So when I did a 5 day road trip last week it was an unusual occurrence. Here are a few things I learned along the way…and since then.

The touchscreen is now a hopeless mess

Image credit: Steve Hanley for Clean Technica. All rights reserved.

I only had Wylie for about a month when the last software update was released. Overnight, the touchscreen I was used to was turned upside down, remixed, and reformatted into a weird new configuration. Sometimes updates are welcome, but in this case the geniuses at Tesla seem to have gone out of their way to make insane and unintelligible changes.

Let’s start with the heated seats. They used to be displayed at the bottom of the Touchscreen, but now they’re hidden and you have to scroll through the options in the bottom bar to find them. If you set the climate controls to Auto, the car, not you, decides when to activate the heated or cooled seats. In Auto mode, the seat heating controls cannot be found. You need to turn off the Auto setting to find them. It’s more than stupid.

In what other reality would the decision to turn on the heated seats be controlled by the driver’s wish to keep the cabin temperature at a constant temperature? And why do they start at the highest setting, roasting your back as you struggle through a series of screens trying to adjust them or turn them off? It’s like a bunch of Tesla engineers sitting around after work one night while smoking a phattie and saying, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to hide the seat heating controls so people have looking for them?” In addition, the sliding cabin temperature controls hide the navigation screen, which annoys the driver.

Not funny, people. In fact, it’s ugly. And that’s just the beginning. The volume control of the audio system is fine for the driver but very difficult for the passenger to manage. Unless the car is on a slick pool table road, trying to adjust the volume from the passenger seat often invokes other functions which then have to be ignored.

Here is another complaint. Calling Superchargers along the way loads a screen that blocks the navigation screen. Even a fool like me knows that the navigation screen could easily display Supercharger locations without erasing everything else. Touching any of them could call up information that would help the driver decide where to stop. Perhaps one is closer to a local attraction like the National Velvet Painting Museum, although the Supercharger facility 15 miles down the road is the optimal charging location.

Sitting around the amethyst-infused cafeteria on the 18th floor of CleanTechnica, we hear a lot of complaints about the latest touch screen programming. Some owners now apparently get their black screen when trying to access Theater Mode, and no amount of tweaking or rebooting the computer will bring it back to life. Apparently, Tesla’s service personnel are also baffled by this behavior and don’t know how to fix it.

Having to take your eyes off the road to navigate the dizzying array of entertainment choices – which are now moving around – is the opposite of intuitive operation. It’s clunky, unfriendly and stupid.

Before buying my Model Y, I was told that Tesla always addressed owners’ concerns, but this update has been out for two months now and nothing has changed, despite a torrent of criticism. I want to set my climate controls to automatic, but I don’t want my seat heaters to activate on their own. And I don’t want my navigation screen to go dark every time I adjust something. Is it too much to ask? Apparently it’s for the wizards of Tesla. My old Irish grandma would say the people who created this most recent update were half too smart. In that case, she would be right.

A Wawa update


Image credit: Steve Hanley for Clean Technica. All rights reserved.

Last week I said mean things about wow, based on my recent experiences while charging near St. Augustine, Florida. I received an email from Lori Bruce, Wawa’s public relations manager, and she was very professional and polite, although my review was anything but kind to her company. For the record, anyone in charge of public relations who wants to know how the work should do would do well to imitate Mrs. Bruce.

Because she was so good at her job, my wife and I visited the brand new Wawa store here in Fort Pierce. It doesn’t have Superchargers (or other EV chargers, unfortunately), but it certainly has a great selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches, plus plenty of vegetarian selections for those who know life never ends. not just about burgers. The store was scrupulously clean and the staff were busy preparing food to order for customers.


Image credit: Steve Hanley for CleanTechnica. All rights reserved.

I can’t explain why the stores I visited last week didn’t seem to have the same fresh produce options, but anyway, I now have the Wawa app on my iPhone and I’m using it. Will definitely use on future road trips. Lori Bruce, you are a true professional and Wawa is lucky to have you for its public relations department. Good game!

EPA range and real world range

The current Model Y has a range of 326 miles according to the EPA. Most of you know that this number means that if you start with a 100% state of charge, your battery will be at 0% SOC 326 miles later. Few people drive their electric car until it stops and few charge their batteries to 100%. Also, the distance you can travel depends a lot on speed, terrain, and temperature.

I also learned recently that it takes a long time to charge from 80% to 100%. In actual driving, it is often faster to plug in to 10% and charge to 70% than to plug in to 30% and charge to 100%. Tesla drivers are quickly learning that it may actually be faster to make two shorter stops to recharge than one long one. It’s something you don’t read a lot. You learn from experience.

You also learn that 20-30 minutes is the normal time for a charging event. Does it take longer than filling a gas tank? Yes it is. But the benefits of being relaxed and refreshed when you arrive at your destination outweigh the few extra minutes you spend getting there in an electric vehicle. Rushing through life isn’t always the best – or safest – way to savor the experience.

Charge and fill times are a false equivalence. Driving an electric car is different in many ways from driving a conventional car. You always arrive at your destination knowing that you haven’t left a miasma of fine particles, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other poisons in your wake. Take-out? Drive an electric car, preferably a Tesla. Be happy!


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