Tesla has launched a new feature that aims to give Model S and Model X drivers a much smoother ride.
Courtesy of Latest Tesla Software Update (opens in a new tab)both models can now scan for potholes and other road defects to generate “rough road map data” and adjust the suspension accordingly.
Rather than adjusting ride height in response to specific potholes, Tesla says regional data collected by other Tesla cars will inform where its Model S and Model X electric vehicles (EVs) perform. automatically these suspension changes.
In other words, Tesla takes a holistic approach to car suspension settings by mapping high-risk road networks and giving drivers the option to activate automatically adjusted driving.
Company CEO Elon Musk first hinted at the idea in 2020, responding affirmatively to a tweet asking about the potential for a Tesla “micro board”:
Is it possible that Tesla can create a “micro map” of each road with all the details (stop sign, potholes, etc.) that can be used by other Teslas when driving on the same road ?February 3, 2020
Tesla drivers hoping to benefit from 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 vehicle – although the latest software update will need to be installed. for the option to appear.
Model 3 and Model Y owners will not be able to take advantage of the new feature, due to the lack of adaptive suspension in these vehicles.
Does Ford do better?
Since human drivers are often unable to react in time to potholes and other hard-to-spot road defects, Tesla’s latest feature is a welcome one. However, this new system also depends on data collected by other Teslas to work effectively.
If, for example, your Tesla vehicle is the first to encounter a rogue pothole on an otherwise smooth country road, your ride height will not be automatically adjusted until you encounter that pothole. a second time (or so Tesla’s limited formulation of function suggests).
Ford, on the other hand, has implemented a proprietary pothole detection system (opens in a new tab) in its latest Ford Focus model which detects when a wheel falls into a pothole and adjusts the suspension in real time.
The system monitors the car’s suspension, body, steering and braking inputs, adjusting ride height every two milliseconds to lessen the impact of potholes as they appear.
Admittedly, Ford’s suspension solution is limited to the Focus’ optional (and expensive) Continuous Control Damping Package (where Tesla’s equivalent is available to all Model S and Model X owners), but it worth remembering that Musk’s EV brand isn’t exactly a pioneer in this particular regard.
For more on the latest EVs, check out our breakdown of the all-electric DeLorean DMC, our analysis of the stunning new Mercedes EQXX range record, and our thoughts on Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 5 SUV.