Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] handles pretty much every step of the sales and service process differently.

In addition to that, it’s also conceived its Model S and Model X vehicles with a different approach to firmware, software, and updates—allowing periodic “over the air” upgrades to the entire vehicle’s control software.

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Such upgrades can open up new features or improve performance; but it’s becoming quite clear that this flexibility holds some advantages with respect to vehicle diagnostics.

The buyer of a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Tesla Model S had to bring his vehicle in for a warranty repair on the passenger door handle—and his careful observations of the repair itself were revealing.

Tesla Model S service apps [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model S service apps [CleanTechnica]

The tech servicing the vehicle had to make a firmware update on the Model S before going ahead with the repair. And then he tapped in with an HP laptop running a proprietary application called Toolbox—where techs can run specialized diagnostic applications, and tap into information from and about the car that’s not otherwise seen on the user interface.

One particularly interesting diagnostic piece is the thermal flow tab, where heating and cooling are carefully managed between components that generate or consume heat.

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Tesla Model S thermal management screen [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model S thermal management screen [CleanTechnica]

“From the images, it is all the more evident that the Model S is wired up more like a smartphone with sensors everywhere, firmware for each piece of hardware, and tons of minor revisions of updates happening all the time, transparent to the driver,” says the owner, Kyle Field, in his CleanTechnica post.

You'll want to check out all the screens in that post. Between these sophisticated diagnostic screens, as well as the “hidden menus” that others have noted, there’s a lot of flexibility in this sophisticated wholly networked vehicle—and a lot to geek out about.


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