More than 30 people have died this year after being left in hot cars. That’s a very serious problem, to use a bit of understatement. There’s been a kind-of sort-of solution from the Toyota Prius before, but Tesla may have finally found a way to stop it.
The Prius used solar panels on the roof to power fans that would re-circulate air in the car, but that wasn’t exactly sweet, cool, frosty air conditioning. With Tesla’s latest 8.0 software update, the fully electric car aims to do just that.
Tesla’s calling it “Cabin Overheat Protection,” and it’s specifically designed to protect kids and pets. The system will automatically turn on the vents and air conditioning system to keep the car below 105 degrees, and with a fully charged battery it could theoretically do that for up to a year, although right now it’s being limited to a 12-hour period after the driver leaves the car.
But 105 degrees is actually very, very, extremely hot. Possibly even life-threateningly hot, especially if a living creature doesn’t have access to water. So Tesla is essentially saying that the Cabin Overheat Protection system is just a stopgap measure, as the next iteration should fix that issue, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter:
So if you want your car to stay precisely between 65 and 67 degrees, it will do that. And being able to set a minimum temperature is also important in colder climates, where it can get downright chilly.
Other manufacturers have suggested enabling alerts and chimes and notifications when a kid is left in the back seat, but this might just be the best solution yet.
Once the next version launches, that is.