This article covers a few specific Model S settings whose behaviour is different than many users would naturally expect.  The vast majority of the Tesla UI and settings are very intuitive so this is not a very long list!

Commute advice

The car has a feature called “Commute Advice” which advises you if there is a delay on your regular commute to/from work.


  • only operates if you have programmed “home” and “work” locations in the satnav
  • only provides guidance if you are travelling to work in the morning, or to home, in the evening
  • only operates if the satnav system is NOT activated (!!)
  • will only advise you if the delay it detects is longer than a certain amount of time (configurable in settings).

The setting which determines how large a delay is required before Commute Advice will intervene does not apply to traffic-based rerouting in normal navigation (which will automatically re-route you whenever it thinks it can shorten your journey, and is not configurable).

Smart Preconditioning

Smart Preconditioning will attempt to learn your regular commuting pattern (again, only if you have configured Home and Work locations in the satnav) and will pre-heat (or pre-cool in a warm climate) the cabin before you set off.

It does not pre-warm/cool the battery pack and it does not require the car to be connected to mains power.

It will not activate if the charge level of the battery is low.

Dolby Sound Processing

The UHF sound system includes a “Dolby Surround” mode.  This is not a true 5.1 or 7.1 Dolby system and the car does not appear to be able to reproduce multichannel audio sources properly (they are always downmixed to stereo before being processed and replayed).

Energy vs Miles units

In the Settings -> Units menu there is an option to show distances and charge rates using either “Energy” or “Distance” units (and if using Distance, whether to use Typical or Rated miles).

When set to “Energy” mode the battery charge level is shown as a percentage (in the mobile app, instrument cluster, and centre console) and when the car is actively charging the rate of charge is shown in kW. 

The kW value displayed is the instantaneous charge rate, so for example at a supercharger (where charging starts out very fast but then slows down) this value is initially very high and then reduces.

When set to Distance mode the battery charge level is shown as a number of miles, and when the car is actively charging the rate of charge is shown in miles per hour. The miles per hour charge rate is calculated as the average charge rate over the entire charge session, which is different to when Energy units are used. 

This can be extremely misleading, since it means that at a supercharger you can be fooled into thinking that the car is still charging quickly when in fact it has slowed almost to a trickle.

Typical vs Rated Miles

If you choose “Distance” units you can additionally choose to use Typical or Rated miles.  This simply determines the number of miles range that the car associates with a 100% charge level.  In the UK with an 85kWh battery a fully charged car has 245 typical miles of range, or 310 rated miles of range.

The remaining range shown in the instrument cluster as you are driving is not in any way influenced by your driving style – it simply tells you how far you could travel with your current level of battery charge, if you were driving in a style that matches the one used to calculate the Typical or Rated ranges.

Achieving anything close to the Rated miles range in a Model S is extremely difficult and unlikely to be realistic for most drivers.

Selecting energy units is strongly recommended.