While most of the over-the-air software updates Tesla Motor has remotely delivered to customers’ cars are aimed at boosting performance, the latest one it’s released was conceived to help drivers take it easy.
The new update is called Chill Mode, and it lets the driver of a Model S or Model X choose a more relaxed drive setting that limits output from the electric motors. Accessible through the car’s infotainment touchscreen, the new setting is “ideal for smoother driving and a gentler ride for passengers.”
Because we know what you’re thinking, yes, Chill Mode is, in effect, the opposite of the various and wacky performance-boosting settings Tesla has brought to market in past years, including Insane, Ludicrous, Ludicrous-plus and Plaid modes, the last of which is what Motor Trend engaged when it made a zero-to-96 km/h (zero-to-60 mph) pull of just 2.28 seconds in a Model S.
Tesla doesn’t say exactly how much power is accessible in Chill Mode, but it is said to limit zero-to-96 km/h acceleration to a leisurely 7.2 seconds, something we expect will prompt any number of strange owner complaints as Insane mode did last year. (More than 100 Tesla drivers said the setting didn’t make their cars fast enough).
The Chill Mode update also adds an exit mode to Tesla cars that automatically moves the steering wheel and front seat to aid driver ingress and egress.
Tesla has used its remote updating system for humanitarian purposes too, such as when it gave its cars extra range to help Florida-based owners flee Hurricane Irma earlier this year.