Now that you’ve got your new Tesla, it’s time to get the most out of its range, technology, and driving experience. These top 10 Tesla New Owner Driving Optimization trips can transform your car into a mobility and comfort powerhouse. So get started on them today!
1. Energy Usage Monitoring:
As a new Tesla owner, you should know that efficient driving starts with understanding your Tesla's energy consumption. Thankfully, Tesla offers several energy usage metrics to help you do that.
a. Monitor real-time energy consumption:
To kick-start your energy-conscious driving, keep a vigilant eye on real-time energy consumption during trips. You can use the Energy app to understand the current drive's energy usage.
This will help you identify high consumption patterns on the colored chart, providing a breakdown of categories to pinpoint areas for improvement.
b. Review historical energy data:
Apart from real-time energy data, you also have the option to delve into the historical data to gain insights into how various driving styles impact efficiency over time.
To do this, access the Energy app’s ‘Since last charged’ feature to visualize the actual vs predicted energy consumption.
You can also switch between Drive and Park modes to understand how much energy is consumed while driving and while the vehicle is parked.
c. Adjust driving habits:
Once you have all the data in front of you, use it to further your Tesla’s battery range by adjusting your driving habits.
Some top energy-saving habits include:
- Avoid rapid acceleration by activating the “Chill Mode” from Controls > Pedals & Steering > Acceleration to achieve smoother and energy-efficient driving. You can also leverage Speed Assist to maintain control over acceleration and speed
- Also, instead of frequent braking, simply modulate the accelerator pedal and let regenerative braking do the work for you.
By conscientiously monitoring and adapting, you not only enhance your electric driving experience but also contribute to sustainable and eco-friendly transportation.
2. Understand Range Estimation
Various factors impact your Tesla’s range. Knowing these can help you extend your vehicle’s range and get the most out of your charge. Broadly if you consider a few factors that impact the range the most, you’ll be good to go. These are:
a. Environmental factors:
- Cold weather causes higher tire and air drag.
- Stop and Go driving at traffic signals causes the climate system to run longer in a parked vehicle
- Windy, rainy, or snowy weather adds to the tire and air drag
b. Driving Styles:
- Uphill drive requires greater energy
- Short trips require the battery to heat and cool too quickly, causing greater battery drain
- High-speed driving causes more energy consumption
c. Charging Routine:
- Avoid letting the battery go below 20% charge for extended periods, as available range drops when the battery icon goes yellow
- Set your battery’s charging limit to the recommended level based on the battery chemistry for optimal performance. The Tesla app itself will recommend the best for your car.
By knowing these factors, you can easily incorporate them into your driving and maximize the vehicle’s range. For example, you may plan your trips to replace multiple short trips with a single long trip or add chagrin stops on your way to ensure the battery is not too drained out.
3. Navigation and Trip Planning
While range extension is one benefit of Tesla optimization, time-saving is another. And it comes in especially handy when you want to navigate or plan a trip. Here are some extremely helpful and time-saving navigation tips for new Tesla owners:
a. Plan your trip using the Tesla app:
If you are going on a road trip, you don’t need to head out and figure your way out on the fly. You can take time, plan a route, and then send the planned map to your Tesla.
The app will suggest you multiple routes, and you can choose the shortest one, with charging and other stops, so you know exactly how long it will take you to reach your destination.
Or you can use the Trip Planner that will do the groundwork for you, and then you can streamline the suggested route to suit.
b. Use Online Routing:
While you have a route set, there might be heavier than usual traffic on that route on the day you travel. Therefore, it’s ideal to have the Online Routing feature turned on from Controls > Navigation > Online Routing. It will analyze the traffic conditions and reroute you to an alternate route to facilitate timely arrival at your destination.
c. Set favorite destinations:
You can add home, work, and your frequently visited destinations in your Favorites, so that every time you have to go to that destination, you need not set up navigation. Simply access the destination from favorites in your navigation search bar.
d. Enable Auto Navigation:
If you sync your calendar with your Tesla, it understands where you have to be within 2 hours. It suggests you that destination, without you having to select it from the navigation search. This not only saves you time in setting up the navigation, but it also reminds you where you have to be, in case you have forgotten about an important appointment.
To enable auto navigation, go to Controls > Navigation > Automatic Navigation
Once you start using these navigation techniques, you will realize how much time and effort the Tesla technology saves you.
4. Customize Driver Profiles:
Owning a Tesla is like having a personal assistant who knows how you like to drive. Among the myriad of options available, the ability to tailor your driving environment through individualized profiles stands out. Here’s how you can best utilize these features to create a personalized and efficient driving experience.
a. Set up individual driver profiles:
By setting your driving profiles, you allow Tesla to automatically adjust the seat, mirrors, and climate. This ensures no matter who is driving, they don’t need to adjust these driving settings every time. Also, if you change your settings while driving, the screen prompts you to save these adjustments.
You can also associate the Easy Entry setting with your driver profile which moves the steering wheel and the driver's seat for you to easily enter or exit the vehicle.
b. Add your phone as a key:
You can use your phone to automatically unlock and lock your Tesla. First, you must use your key card to authenticate your phone as your key, and then when you are near your car, it will automatically detect your phone’s Bluetooth signal and unlock when you pull the handle.
When you walk away, it will lock if you have the Walk-Away Door Lock feature turned on
You should also keep the physical key handy as a backup in case of a dead phone battery.
c. Link a driver profile to a specific key:
You can also assign a key to a driver profile, so when you approach the car with that key, the linked driver profile gets auto-selected and the seats and mirrors and all other adjustments are made for you.
To assign a key, from your desired driver profile, touch Controls > Locks > Keys and then assign a key.
By making full use of your driver profiles, you can make your Tesla driving experience a breeze.
5. Optimize Climate Control Settings
From pre-conditioning your Tesla to judiciously managing the cabin overheating, optimizing climate control settings helps you enhance your Tesla-driving experience and get the maximum range. Here are some of the most effective climate control optimizations:
a. Pre-heat or pre-cool your Tesla through the app:
While it's still plugged in, you can remotely precondition your Tesla from the app. As the car is plugged in, it won't drain the battery and the preconditioning will also make the car comfortable to drive in.
To activate climate control from the Tesla app you simply need to tap the ‘fan’ icon on the home screen or select ‘Climate’ to adjust the temperature.
In the cold weather, you can even defrost the car from the app’s ‘Climate’ option. This melts snow, ice, and frost on the windshield, windows, and mirrors and also warms the high-voltage Battery as needed.
b. Experiment with Cabin Overheat Protection:
If you experience very hot summers, you can maintain cabin temperature using the Cabin Overheat Protection settings.
To activate the Overheat Protection, go to Controls > Safety > Cabin Overheat Protection.
However, using this functionality does drain out your battery. Cabin Overheat Protection runs for 12 hours or until the battery reaches the 20% mark. Therefore, optimizing the settings is a great way of extending your range.
You can set a cut-off temperature above which the car automatically switches on the air-conditioning, instead of going with the default setting of 40° C
Otherwise, you can even set it on the fan or completely disable it from your Tesla app.
c. Utilize the seat and steering wheel heaters:
Seat and steering wheel heaters are more energy-efficient than the cabin heater. Therefore, utilizing these instead of the cabin heater can give you a better range.
These minor tweaks add up. Once you figure out your most optimum climate settings, you will be surprised to know that you can get a comfortable Tesla driving experience without taking a toll on the car battery.
6. Optimize Infotainment Features
Tesla offers a ton of settings through the touchscreen, therefore, as a new owner, you should optimize them to get your most used settings on your fingertips.
- For example, add your most frequently used icons and apps in the quick-access dock, such as the rearview camera
- Set your display on the automode so that when the sun goes down, it automatically switches on the night mode
- Depending upon your preferences, turn up or down the navigation guidance volume. This won’t affect your phone or media player volume.
- Exclude certain locations, such as home and work from Sentry Mode surveillance to save on energy consumption
- Use Tesla voice commands to easily control your settings. You can even choose the language for voice commands from Controls > Display > Voice Recognition Language. Voice commands allow you to navigate, interact with apps, tweak climate and much more.
- Streamline the media sources by hiding the sources you never use. This way, your app tray will remain clutter-free, and you can easily access the sources you want to. You can also access the ‘recent’ and ‘favorite’ sections to quickly access your favorite media.
- Get the Premium Connectivity Package if you wish to make the most of voice commands, get live traffic visualization, satellite view in maps and navigation, stream videos and music, and much more. If you have standard connectivity, you only get Bluetooth, FM radio, Sirius XM, and USB playback, but if you get Premium connectivity, you get in-car video and music streaming using various apps such as Netflix and Apple CarPlay, provided you have the app subscriptions.
Optimizing the infotainment system based on what you use it for ensures that you drive safe, get maximum range, and simultaneously have an enjoyable Tesla driving experience.
7. Experiment with Driving Modes
Depending upon your Tesla model, you can experiment with the driving modes to get the most out of them.
a. Use Chill Mode for better range:
Chill Mode is available on all Tesla Models and it limits acceleration so that you receive a smooth driving experience and not drain your battery. On the far extreme end, Model S comes with the Ludicrous+ mode that increases peak torque by approximately 60 percent, immediately heats up the Battery to its ideal operating temperature, and ensures 100% of available power access. However, Ludicrous+ also consumes more energy.
b. Adjust steering settings:
Apart from the acceleration, you can also adjust the feel and sensitivity of the steering system from three available modes - Comfort, Standard, and Sport.
These settings can be accessed from Controls > Pedals & Steering > Steering Mode.
Comfort mode requires the minimum steering effort while the Sport mode requires the maximum effort and standard is in between and recommended by Tesla in most driving conditions.
8. Get Familiar with the Tesla App
As a forerunner of technology, Tesla offers a lot of features in the Tesla App that can make your life much simpler, such as the preconditioning and vehicle access features we discussed earlier. Using the app, you can:
- Remotely control climate setting, lock or unlock your car, access charging information, open or close the charge port, and even open the frunk.
- Flash your car lights or honk the horn to easily locate your car in a crowded parking lot. Otherwise, you may even use the Smart Summon option to let your Tesla find you, but you need to equip your vehicle with it.
- Schedule service appointments and receive notifications about your Tesla’s status. Otherwise, if you are stuck somewhere, you can also access the Roadside Assistance from the app.
To access your Tesla with your phone, you need to allow access to the car from Controls > Safety > Allow Mobile Accessand turn on your phone’s Bluetooth.
Using the app to its fullest potential helps you stay safe and makes the driving experience much more comfortable.
9. Scheduled Charging and Departure
You can customize your Tesla’s charging based on when you want to depart and when it costs you the lowest to charge, and other similar factors.
You can access these settings from Controls > Charging > Switch to Scheduled Charging/Scheduled Departure
a. Scheduled Charging:
Scheduled charging is one of the best features of owning a Tesla. If you set up a time for charging and plug the vehicle any time within 6 hours from the scheduled time, your vehicle will immediately start charging. However, if 6 hours have passed since your scheduled time, the vehicle will wait for the next scheduled time. In that case, you may manually set it on charge.
This feature helps you take advantage of the cheaper Off-Peak electricity rates as you can charge during off-peak hours & save on electricity costs.
Also, this feature is useful even if your grid doesn’t offer subsidized off-peak charges. If you set the Off-Peak Hours to the same time as your departure time, the battery will estimate how much time it requires to charge and be ready for departure just in time, without requiring any rewarming up.
b. Scheduled Departure:
However, it is better to set up the scheduled departure in some cases so that your car is charged and preconditioned by the departure time.
And the best part is that all these settings are also available in the Tesla app, so you don’t need to constantly head to the vehicle to make these changes.
10. Regular Maintenance Checks
While EVs don’t require as much maintenance as ICE vehicles, there still are some regular and some periodical maintenance requirements.
a. Daily checks:
- Battery charge level
- Tire condition and pressure
- All exterior lights, horn, turn signals, and wipers and washers are working.
- Any unexpected indicator lights or vehicle alerts
- Brake operation, including the parking brake.
- Seat belt operation
- Abnormal fluid deposits underneath the car that indicate a leak other than a small pool of water
- Immediately remove any corrosive substance around the exterior, such as bird droppings, tree resin, tar spots, etc.
b. Monthly checks:
- Windshield washer fluid level
- Air conditioning system’s operation
- Clean Autopilot cameras weekly or during dry weather.
c. Periodical checks:
- Brake Fluid: Ideally you check brake fluid health every 4 years and replace, if necessary, but extreme usage such as towing or mountain descents require more frequent checks. Do not top up Brake Fluid.
- Clean and lubricate brake calipers: You must get this done every 12,500 miles if the roads in your area are salted during winters
- A/C desiccant bag replacement: Models 3, Y, & X require replacement in 4 years but Model S requires it in 3 years.
- Cabin air filters: Models 3, Y, & X require replacement in 2 years while Model S requires it in 3 years.
- HEPA and Carbon filters: Models S, Y, & X require replacement in 3 years.
- Schedule tire rotation and balance: Models 3, Y, & S require tire rotation every 6250 miles while Model X can go on to 10000 miles before needing a tire rotation. However, you must schedule it if the tread depth is 1.5mm or greater even if you haven’t driven the required miles.
Also note: Tesla battery coolant does not need replacement for the life of your vehicle under most circumstances.
With these optimization tips, you can save time and energy, extend your battery’s range, and also experience the best of Tesla technology each time you drive your new car.