Tesla just rolled out a big upgrade to help battle range anxiety

tesla model 3
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Tesla is making some big moves to help solve your range anxiety. 

The Tesla energy app runs on every single one of the automaker’s cars, offering various statistics about your car’s energy usage over time. The latest update adds some helpful features to the mix, with range as the focus. 

Not only can your Tesla now show you its power consumption compared to initial predictions, the car will also be able to offer tips on how to maximize your electric car's driving range.

Advertised range figures come from testing in, essentially, laboratory conditions, with none of the variables drivers come across out on the road. Not only does driving in less-than perfect situations cause energy consumption to rise, every part of your car draws power from the same source.

Things like driving speed, cargo weight and road conditions will impact how much power is needed to make the wheels turn. On top of that, features like the heater, A/C and whatever other electrics are connected to your car will help to drain the battery. All of which lowers your overall driving range.

Because there’s no crash course in electric car ownership before you buy, this is something budding EV drivers may not be completely aware of. I was in that position once, and it proved to be a very rude awakening. Cue a bunch of research on how to preserve range over long distances.

Teslas have some of the best range on the electric car market, certainly more than a (relatively) cheap used Nissan Leaf. But they still can’t compare to the driving distance afforded by a tank of diesel or gasoline. The more distance you can get out of the battery, the more comfortable your trips will be — especially if you have limited access to high speed Superchargers.

By displaying range-preserving tips inside the car, Tesla is tackling both problems head-on. The first is putting tips on maximizing range where the driver can see them, and offering advice on how to avoid wasting power — like turning the heating down a few degrees or opting for heated seats instead.

tesla updated energy app screen in cars

(Image credit: Tesla)

These tips also appear to be personalized. So these aren’t generic tips like you’d find in a video game loading speed, this is advice that is relevant to you and your driving style. So if you have a habit of speeding, your Tesla’s computer will be able to calculate how much range you could have gained, had you kept to the speed limit like a good law-abiding citizen.

By itself, seeing your own power consumption against what the car initially predicted is more of a curiosity than a useful tool. Unless, of course, your driving efficiency is so terrible there’s a huge disconnect between the two. But even then it offers little more than a wake-up call about how much better you could be.

But the Tesla energy screen will now show you where the energy is being expended, which is infinitely more useful. How many battery percentage points have been lost to climate control, changes in elevation, conditioning the battery for optimal performance and so on.

tesla updated energy app screen in cars

(Image credit: Tesla)

This feature also applies to the parked car, showing how many miles you’ve lost to the car’s Sentry Mode, screen usage, the Summon feature and more. All of which works together to help you figure out where your power is going and whether there’s anything you can do to stop it.

It’s a feature that I wish every carmaker would start offering on their own vehicles. Not just the ones selling electric cars, either. Imagine if your combustion engine car could tell you which features are causing your gas tank to empty out faster than it should, and what you can do about it. You wouldn’t just be reducing the time between trips to the gas station, you’d also be saving money as a result.

But combustion engines aren’t as connected as electric cars are, and it’s pretty unlikely that’ll happen. Especially as more automakers switch sides and start producing their own EVs. However, they’ve got no excuse where all-electric models are concerned.

Once again Tesla has to be the one to show them what’s possible. It would be nice if the rest of the industry could be a little more proactive with the whole “innovation” thing.

Read next: Tesla could relaunch its referral program, with these rewards up for grabs.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.