On Wednesday, Tesla announced the release of a new feature specifically aimed at keeping your pets (and windows) safe during extreme weather. Dubbed “Dog Mode,” the feature keeps the climate control functioning after the driver exists the vehicle so that any pets inside stay at a safe temperature.
Owners can enter the climate control context menu on their cars and choose "Dog" to enable the feature. Once activated, the acceptable temperature limits are set and the work is done. If the vehicle's battery dips under 20 percent while Dog Mode is active, owners are alerted on their smartphones to take action.
Unlike a traditional gas-powered car that makes noise as it idles, an electric car doesn't produce an audible growl when switched on because it uses stored powered in its high-voltage batteries to perform essential functions instead of actively combusting gas. When drivers leave their pets in the car for a short period of time during bouts of extreme weather, it can be difficult for passers by to tell if the vehicle is actually keeping the animals at a comfortable temperature with no noise to indicate that a vehicle is actively heating or cooling the cabin.
Because of this, Tesla made sure to display the internal temperature of the vehicle on the large center display of the vehicle. Though Tesla only shows the Model 3's display as an example, we would imagine that the Model S and Model X share similar imagery on their portrait-oriented center displays.
The idea for Dog Mode actually stemmed from a tweet sent to Tesla CEO Elon Musk asking if a feature could be enabled to display a message nearly identical to that rolled out into production. Another tweet suggests displaying the internal temperature as well. This isn't the first time that a suggestion on Twitter has turned into a vehicle feature, and we certainly hope it isn't the last. Such is a value-add with any vehicle that can utilize over-the-air update functionality.
In 2016, Tesla released a preliminary version of this feature called "Cabin Overheat Protection" that was aimed at keeping kids safe in the car. Dog Mode seems to build on this model and looks to put an emphasis on telling those who might notice your pets in the car not to smash your windows to rescue them, because they're already more comfortable that whatever temperature it is outside.