Tesla update brings 12 fun features to its EVs – including a 'screaming goat' lock sound

Tesla Infotainment
(Image credit: Tesla)

Rumors have been swirling around Tesla’s 2023 Holiday Update for the last few weeks, with friendly hackers on X (formerly Twitter) revealing a host of Waze-like features that were tipped to feature in the latest OTA software overhaul.

As is tradition, Tesla's festive software update typically includes a few novelty gifts, and this year’s rollout is no different. The company has now confirmed no fewer than 12 updates that should keep Musk’s EV customers happy.

Although it doesn’t look like real-time routing functionality, such as "avoid construction on route", has been added this time, Tesla owners will at least be able to make their vehicle sound like a goat when locking it. Here are all of those 12 updates coming to Tesla's EVs (some of which may be limited by the model you own)...

1. Custom Lock Sounds

The update brings with it the ability to choose a custom sound that emits upon locking the vehicle – should your vehicle be fitted with an external speaker (not all are). 

Bored of the typical “beep, beep”? Well, Tesla offers things like an old school horn, a round of applause and the sound of a screaming goat. It’s probably funny once, but then deeply embarrassing thereafter. But hey, this is the car that you can also make fart, so what do you expect?

2. New Arcade features

There have been a number of updates to Tesla's in-car Arcade offerings, which is by far the best gaming experience currently found in any vehicle. 

Tesla says the update unlocks new vehicles and tracks in Beach Buggy Racing, Polytopia and Vampire Survivors both get new modes and PS4, PS5 and Xbox controllers now offer rumble effect when paired via Bluetooth.

3. Party in the back

Tesla Infotainment

(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla vehicles equipped with a rear screen can now also play games from the Tesla Arcade. 

A post by Tesla on X, formerly Twitter, runs with the headline "LAN Party on Wheels", which implies multiplayer functionality, with front occupants able to do battle against the zombie apocalypse with those sitting in the back. That's one way to kill a journey (sorry).

4. Drowning out the kids

On the subject of rear screens, Tesla has also ensured rear passengers can now use wireless Bluetooth headphones when watching shows or playing games on the rear screen. 

This is an absolute boon for parents, who previously had to put up with the soundtrack of whatever was pumping out of the display. Probably Blippi.

5. Apple Podcasts

A pretty simple one, but Tesla’s infotainment now hosts the Apple Podcasts app, so users can seamlessly pick up from where they left off on any Apple device.

6. Speed cameras on route

Tesla Infotainment

(Image credit: Tesla)

As predicted, Tesla is adding some 'Waze-like' features to its in-car navigation, including the ability to show speed cameras and red stop lights on route. 

Weirdly, the graphics selected even look like those from Waze. However, it hasn’t been confirmed whether this update includes mobile speed cameras or simply those that are fixed, nor does it state the regions this will roll out to.

7. Trip-planning from your smartphone

It’s surprising it has taken Tesla so long to offer this feature, seeing as many of those long-in-the-tooth 'legacy' carmakers have provided the ability to plan a route within a smartphone app and send this directly to the vehicle’s infotainment screen. The Kia EV6 can do it, and now Tesla owners can, too.

8. Automatic 911 Calls

Again, this feels very much like an update for North America, as it is still unclear whether this will work in other markets. But should you be unfortunate enough to have an accident that triggers the airbags, your Tesla will now automatically connect you to the 911 emergency services.

9. Sentry Mode gets expanded views

Perfect for catching the person who slams a shopping trolly into your parked Tesla, Sentry Mode streams footage from the numerous on-board cameras to its smartphone app when the vehicle is parked. 

Thanks to this update, owners now have access to the left and right pillar cameras to bring the total angle coverage to seven.

10. Park assist goes hi-fi

Tesla Infotainment

(Image credit: Tesla)

Following the software update, Tesla’s Park Assist can now create a 3D construction of the vehicle’s surroundings and then show that on the infotainment display, making it easier to park in busy environments. 

11. Let there be light

To our knowledge, Tesla is the only vehicle that allows you to program a custom light show, upload it onto a USB drive and then have the car flash its headlights, taillights and indicators in a rhythmical display of technological prowess.

This update brings with it a pre-programmed light show that flashes to the tune of The Arrival by Irving Victoria. Why? Because. 

12. Charging location filters

Searching for those rapid Supercharger stations just got easier with this update. Owners can now filter between two charging speeds. 

Three lightning bolts signifies locations that offer speeds of 70kW or more, while the single lightning bolt signifies stations with outlets packing 70kW or less.

Analysis: Tesla is the GOAT of software updates

Tesla Infotainment

(Image credit: Tesla)

Say what you like about Tesla as company, berate its vehicle's panel gaps and bemoan its CEO for his online outbursts, but it is very difficult to fault it where OTA updates are concerned. These 'patches' leave traditional automakers in the dust with their abilities to add ever-more fun and often very useful features.

Again, the Holiday Update looks set to bring with it a bunch of features that will make even older Teslas easier to use. We included 12 key updates above, but the software download brings with it much more, including an automatic blind spot camera, the ability to shuffle play in Tidal and the addition of search in the onboard digital owner's manual.

These might sound like small changes to some, but when compared to the likes of VW, Ford and many more, it’s a night-and-day difference. To put it in perspective, Tesla tends to release an update most months, whereas VW's ID series is now almost five years old and we are on ID software 3.0.

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Leon Poultney

Leon has been navigating a world where automotive and tech collide for almost 20 years, reporting on everything from in-car entertainment to robotised manufacturing plants. Currently, EVs are the focus of his attentions, but give it a few years and it will be electric vertical take-off and landing craft. Outside of work hours, he can be found tinkering with distinctly analogue motorcycles, because electric motors are no replacement for an old Honda inline four.