Tesla has launched a new feature aimed at giving Model S and Model X drivers a smoother ride.
Courtesy of the latest Tesla software update (Opens in a new tab)Now, both models can look for potholes and other road imperfections to generate “rough roadmap data” and adjust the suspension accordingly.
Rather than adjusting ride height in response to specific punctures, though, Tesla says region-wide data collected by other Tesla cars will inform the regions where its Model S and Model X electric vehicles (EVs) automatically make these suspension changes.
In other words, Tesla applies a holistic approach to vehicle suspension settings by mapping high-risk road networks and giving drivers the option to enable modified driving automatically.
CEO Elon Musk first hinted at the idea in 2020, in response to a tweet asking about Tesla’s “micro-map” capabilities:
Is it possible for Tesla to be able to create an “accurate map” of every road with all the details (stop sign, pot holes, etc) that can be used by other Teslas when driving on the same road?February 3, 2020
Tesla drivers hoping to take advantage of the new feature can go to Controls > Suspension > Adaptive Suspension Damping and select the Comfort or Auto setting in their Model S or Model X – although a recent software update must have been installed for the option to appear.
Model 3 and Model Y owners won’t be able to take advantage of the new feature, due to the lack of adaptive suspension on these vehicles.
Does Ford do it better?
With human drivers often unable to respond in time to potholes and other hard-to-detect road imperfections, Tesla’s latest feature is a welcome one. However, this new system also relies on data collected by other Teslas to function effectively.
For example, if your Tesla is the first to hit a rogue pothole on a smooth country road, your ride height won’t automatically adjust until you encounter that pothole a second time (or so Tesla’s limited formulation of this feature suggests).
Ford, on the other hand, has implemented ownership pit detection system (Opens in a new tab) In its latest Ford Focus, it senses a wheel falling into a ditch and adjusts the suspension in real time.
The system monitors the vehicle’s suspension, chassis, steering and brake inputs and adjusts the ride height every millisecond to mitigate the impact of potholes as soon as they appear.
Granted, Ford’s suspension solution is limited to the continuously controlled damping package (the Tesla equivalent is available to all Model S and Model X owners), but it’s worth remembering that the Musk EV brand isn’t exactly a leader in this particular regard.
For more information on the latest electric vehicles, check out details of the all-electric DeLorean DMC, our analysis of the impressive new range track record of the Mercedes EQXX and our thoughts on the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV.