The Tesla Model S Plaid was designed to make a fast getaway.
Not only because it is the quickest production car ever made, but thanks to its unique, predictive gear selector system.
When you enter the $129,990 car and buckle your seatbelt, the vehicle is programmed to decide which way they you to go and automatically choose Drive or Reverse, which engages when you press the brake pedal.
If, say, you’re parked head-first in a garage, it will shift into Reverse and indicate that on the instrument cluster. All you need to get going is to hit the accelerator and get rolling.
If you want to go in the opposite direction from it picks, the primary way to make a manual input is via a virtual slider on the edge of the touchscreen display. Up for Drive, down for Reverse. There’s also a Park icon, but Park is automatically engaged when you come to a stop and unbuckle your seatbelt.
Omar Sultan, who was one of the 25 owners who picked up their cars at last week’s delivery event, has posted a video to social demonstrating how it works in the real world, Teslarati reported.
The feature is called Auto Shift Out of Park and, like Tesla’s Full Self-Driving, is currently listed as a Beta developmental program in the vehicle’s infotainment system when you activate it. Elon Musk said it can learn where you often use Drive or Reverse and mark those locations for its future reference.
“It will just keep minimizing the amount of input you need to do until the car just reads your mind,” Musk said.
Along with the predictive system and touchscreen, the Model S has a third way to select gears. It’s an (almost) old-fashioned row of PRND touch pads located on the center console below the wireless smartphone charging dock. The pads are normally not illuminated, but will turn on if the touchscreen has a malfunction or if the driver clicks both of the scroll wheels on the car’s steering “yoke” simultaneously, according to the Model S owner’s manual.