Tesla CEO Elon Musk is making good on his promise to "end range anxiety" for Model S owners today with an over-the-air software update that packs in two new features: Smart trip planning for plotting routes along its charger network, and alerts for when you're getting out of charger range. The trip planning feature is even intelligent enough to know if a charging station is full or out of service. While many were expecting Tesla to give the Model S better mileage, Musk explains that these new features are more about squashing the perception of range anxiety. Many Tesla owners told him they don't feel any range anxiety at all -- these updates are more meant for potential Tesla shoppers who might by worried about being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Sure, it's not as exciting as magically getting more range, but getting people to move past their range anxiety will be important to all electric car companies over the next few years.
Musk also announced that the Model S line will be getting an automatic steering mode, which he calls "autopilot," in three to four months.
The Model S lineup currently offers traveling ranges between 208 and 270 miles, based on the EPA's mileage standard. Tesla has also updated its original Roadster with a huge range bump thanks to some new hardware, and it also unveiled a "Torque Sleep" mode that made dual-motor Model S cars more efficient. The electric car company has also aggressively rolled out its Supercharger stations across the US, Europe, and China. Musk says it plans to cover all of North America and Europe with charging stations by the end of the year, as well as most populous areas in China (don't bet on seeing anything in the Gobi desert).