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I’ve heard Tesla owners refer to Easter eggs contained within their cars – What does that mean?

One of the things that has set Tesla apart from other manufacturers, and created a notoriously devoted fanbase of owners, is the ‘Easter eggs’ found within its cars. So what are they? Sadly Elon Musk doesn’t send you a chocolate egg each year – although that would be nice – but no, it’s the term given to unexpected bonus items hidden within the software. The term is apt, as you have to hunt for them, wait for Tesla to spill the beans via social media or visit a website listing the most well-known.

It all began so simply. The first Tesla Easter egg discovered was a photograph of the Model S development team, found by long pressing the right corner of the ‘About your Tesla’ menu, and has since been deleted. Fun additions to the software have become more elaborate since then, so here are some of the best.

Santa Mode

Arguably one of the best Easter eggs for families with young children or grandchildren, this software update for the Model S, 3, X and Y turns the on-screen depiction of the car into Santa’s sleigh, there’s snow on the road and other traffic become reindeer. There’s more too: using the indicators is accompanied by jingling bells and the reindeer blink red. It’s activated with the “Ho Ho Ho” voice command.

Whoopee cushion

One of the easiest to find, and tweeted by Musk, Model X, S and 3 owners can delight themselves by activating a ‘whoopee cushion’ on each of the car’s seats, playing out of the nearest speaker by selecting the icon from the ‘Easter egg’ menu.

Lotus Esprit submarine

Lots of Tesla Easter eggs are rooted in pop culture, including this one. Elon is a big fan of the Esprit Submarine from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, to the extent he purchased the car from the movie in 2013. A long press of the ‘T’ icon and inputting ‘007’ into the text box turns the Model S or X into the Esprit submarine on the screen and raises or lowers the air suspension. 

Back to the Future

This movie reference takes place in the Tesla mobile app, and can be tricky to initiate. That’s because it only works when the car has exactly 121 miles of range remaining. The next bit is easier, because pressing the battery icon in the app initiates the movie references, changing the car’s name to ‘OUTATIME’ and replacing ‘Charging Scheduled’ with ‘Time Circuits On’. Most importantly, 121 miles changes to 1.21 gigawatts, which was the amount of energy needed for Michael J Fox to travel back in time in the famous movie. Unfortunately, this Easter egg has been removed from the latest updates to the app.

The ModelXmas Show

Perhaps the most elaborate yet, ModelXmas really shows off what the Model X can do, turning the car into a dancing jukebox that plays ‘Wizards in Winter’ by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at a high volume. The car’s Falcon Wing rear doors, powered front doors and mirrors open and close in time to the music, while the exterior lighting provides an impressive light display. 

There are lots of Easter eggs, and the list is only growing. Others include turning the charging port illumination into a rainbow sequence, accessing a sketchpad on the touchscreen, and turning the car into a Mars Rover travelling on a space map. While a few makers put physical Easter eggs in their cars – you can find a Willys jeep motif dotted throughout most recent Jeep models – none come close to the quantity or depth of Tesla’s efforts in this department.

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