Tesla has released a new feature that aims to give Model S and Model X drivers a much smoother ride.
Courtesy of the most recent Tesla software update (opens in new tab)both models can now look 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 region-wide data collected by other Tesla cars will inform the areas where its Model S and Model X electric vehicles (EVs) automatically make these changes. of suspension.
In other words, Tesla is taking a comprehensive approach to cars’ suspension settings, mapping high-risk road networks and giving drivers the option to enable an automatically tuned ride.
The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, first suggested the idea in 2020, responding in the affirmative to a tweet asking about the potential of a Tesla “micromap”:
Is it possible that Tesla is able to create a “micromap” of each road with all the details (stop sign, potholes, etc.) that can be used by other Teslas when driving down the same road?February 3, 2020
Tesla drivers who want 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 on these vehicles.
Is Ford doing it better?
Since human drivers are often unable to react in time to potholes and other hard-to-detect road defects, Tesla’s latest feature is a welcome one. This new system, however, also relies on data collected by other Teslas to function effectively.
If, for example, your Tesla vehicle is the first to run into a bumpy pothole on a smooth country road, your ride height will not automatically adjust until you encounter that pothole a second time (or so, Tesla’s limited wording in the resource suggests).
Ford, on the other hand, implemented a Hole detection system (opens in new tab) in its latest model Ford Focus, which detects when a wheel is falling into a pothole and adjusts the suspension in real time.
The system monitors the car’s suspension, bodywork, steering and braking inputs, adjusting ride height every two milliseconds to mitigate the impact of potholes as they appear.
It’s true that Ford’s suspension solution is limited to the Focus’s optional (and expensive) Continuous Controlled Damping package (where the Tesla equivalent is available to all Model S and Model X owners), but it’s worth remembering that the brand Musk’s EV isn’t exactly a trailblazer in this particular.
For more on the latest electric vehicles, check out our all-electric DeLorean DMC breakdown, our review of the new Mercedes EQXX range record, and our thoughts on Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 5 SUV.