Easter Eggs? Yeah, Tesla Has Been Hiding a Bunch

Tesla Model S dash

Never mind that sneaky bunny. The Easter egg—the term for secret design elements, entertaining features, or even surprise functional items—has hatched a life of its own in popular culture. And while it might have started in the world of video games and software, it’s not tremendously surprising that Silicon Valley–based automaker Tesla, with its exclusive software and over-the-air updates, has loaded its vehicles up with quite a few.

CEO Elon Musk today teased, via Twitter, that a feature would be coming soon allowing access to “discovered Tesla Easter eggs”—a virtual Easter basket of sorts. He’s also implying, of course, that there are other as yet undiscovered eggs.

Elon Musk Easter egg tweet

The most recent of such hidden (discovered) treasures is a sketch pad, revealed last week via a tweet from Musk, as version 8.1 of Tesla’s software  started to roll out to vehicles. Three taps to the top portion of the screen accesses the sketch pad as a new application tile—and the app allows users to submit their art to Tesla.

This past year, Tesla also packaged a holiday show for Model X owners that, after password input, brought not just dazzling lights but a “dance” of that model’s gullwing doors. For Model S owners with the air suspension package, it packaged a nod to James Bond, in which entering “007” would conjure an onscreen likeness of the car that CEO Elon Musk bought, the Lotus Esprit submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me—and the car would adjust its ride height according to your selected “dive depth.”

Not all the Tesla Easter eggs are superficial amusement. Some consider the Ludicrous Plus mode accessible in P100D versions to be one, as it requires an elaborate sequence of steps to enable (and then warns against “accelerated” [pun likely intended] wear to the motor, gearbox, and battery).

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It’s not just Tesla, of course. Subtle branding aside, automakers are finding ever more whimsy in some of the minor points—by hiding secret Easter-egg design cues where you might not expect them. We found more than 30 of them in the Jeep Renegade, for instance; Hyundai hid a Blue Max video game in its Veloster; and Volvo snuck a spider graphic into the back of the XC90. Grownups like finding hidden gems, too.


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