Last updated 07-Feb-2023
You may be looking at buying a Tesla and are confused with many of the terms and abbreviations that are being thrown around on the internet. If you've SuC your BEV using CCS on your MS and pulled 140 kw while using your MCU2 to find out which AP HW and that all makes perfect sense then you probably don't need this list, but for others, it might just help!
Elsewhere we'll even decode the Tesla codes for you such as "SC01" to tell you what version of supercharging you gave.
Three Phase which is a form of AC electricity supply in some countries that enables faster AC charging.
Battery cell size measuring 46mm x 80mm. This is the battery Tesla are trying to bring to cars from 2022 with early production appearing in Texas.
Alternating current, a form of electricity supply. Can also be Air conditioning also the preferred term for this is HVAC. Our guide to charging provides explains charging in more detail.
Automatic Emergency Braking, a safety feature where the car will start to brake automatically if it thinks an accident is inevitable.
Autopilot and used either with respect to the autopilot system in general or to describe the basic features for the first level capability
Autopilot on early cars using the Mobileye system. For the details on the different types of autopilot and what they offer see guide to feature differences by hardware version
Also called HW2 and the first iteration of the Tesla autopilot hardware
Also called HW2.5 and the second iteration of the Tesla autopilot hardware
Also called HW3 and the third iteration of the Tesla autopilot hardware, now called Full Self driving computer
All wheel drive and indicative of the car having both front and rear motors
Battery electric vehicle
Battery management system, the system that looks after the health of the battery. See our guide on BMS Calibration to help the car display the correct range, especially on the Model 3 and Model Y
Cruise control although in Tesla speak you will usually see TACC
Combined charging system and a form of DC charging. For more information on the various options, see our guide to charging a Tesla.
An alternative DC charging system fo CCS and not falling out of fashion in many countries in europe
An industrial type socket that the UMC can connect to for faster AC charging
Certified Pre Owned. Tesla prefer not to use this term for used cars they sell, but as an industry wide definition of cars sold by the manufacturer many still use it, including us.
A mode that allows the car to move forward slowly when the brake is released
Come to Me and a part of advanced smart summon
When at the end of a model name signifies the car has dual motors
Sometimes called just DA and the collective term for Driver Assistance systems
Direct Current and the faster method of charging the car and as used by superchargers
Daytime running lights, these are the headlight accent which appears even in daylight.
Enhanced or Extended autopilot and an option Tesla introduced that sits between the basic autopilot and full self driving. It can also mean Early Access Programme for selected owners who have access to software before being more widely released.
embedded Multi Media Card and the memory used in the MCU which is causes so many issues with the MCU1. There is much more on eMMC failure here.
US Environment Protection Agency and one of the bodies that dictate the way range is measured
Extended service agreement
Electric vehicle, see also BEV for Battery Electric Vehicle.
The electonic key fob for opening the car
Full Self Driving and the highest set of autopilot capabilities although still not genuine self driving at the moment and may never get beyond advanced driver asist with the current cars
Full Self Driving beta pilot, also known as the FSD City Streets Beta running in the US and Canada.
In Tesla speak is Falcon Wing Doors. In wider use also means Front wheel drive
Giga Factory, the name given to most of Tesla plants where batteries are produced
Global Positioning System and used by the satnav to know where the car is
A method of scavaging heat from parts of the car to heat the cabin which is more efficient that using a resistive heater. Tesla use an Octovalve to sleect various permutations to vary the heating mix across the cars components. Our guide to tell what features a car has will help you establish if a particular car has a heatpump.
A high grade air filter removing pollen bacteria etc
High Power Wall charger
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning
The first version of Teslas autopilot hardware between ~Oct16 and Jul17. The term HW1 is not used but is the Mobileye system
The second version of Tesla autopilot hardware between ~Jul17 and ~Apr19
The third version of Teslas autopilot hardware and also referred to as Full Self Driving computer from ~Apr19
Internal Compustion Engine and a term given to petrol and diesel cars
When a parking or charging space is blocked by an internal combustion car(ICE)
Infinion motor and a type of electric motor used on some cars
AC power charging connection standard, more commonly referenced in the American markets with Europe and other countries using the term Type 2
Kilo(1000) Watts and a measure of instantaneous power and essentially equal to the voltage x current
Kilo(1000) Watts for an hour and a measure of stored or consumed energy
Ludicrous and a feature on most performance models of the Model S and X. The cars are limited as much by the battery output as the motors and the ludicrous update effectively increased the max current the battery was allowed to deliver thereby increasing power.
Different types of charging equipment and speed, roughly translate to L1 - portable/UMC charging, L2 - high power/dedicated charge point and L3 - DC charging. Can also refer to self driving levels which goes on to Level 5.
Lane Departure Warning, a safety feature to notify the driver if the car has drifted out of lane.
Lithium (L), Iron (F) and Phosphate (P), or LiFePO4, battery as used in some Model 3 SR+ and some Model 3 RWD cars.
Derived from the words Light and a technique for measuring the accurate relative position of objects using a laser light. It is a sensor used in many self driving systems but not adopted by Tesla.
Long Range and a model variant, When applied to the MS or MX is roughly equivalent to the the 100 model.
Long Range model variant that had a few changes to extend the range
Model 3 Long Range
Model 3 Performance
Mobile Charger, see UMC or Univeral Mobile Charger for a full description.
Generic name for the Media Control Unit or the large central screen in the cars
Media Control Unit version 1 and used in early MS and MX until ~Mar18. Has a reliability issue over time (see eMMC)
Media Control Unit version 2 and used in later MS and MX from ~Mar18 and a variant in Model 3
Media Control Unit version 3 containing AMD Ryzen's chip. While there are some small differences, this is the version used in the 2021 refresh of the Model S and Model X and in Model 3 and Model Y from 2022.
Machine Learning, a statistical technique to train a computer to perform a task by using thousands of examples.
Mid Range cars sitting between Standard Range and Long Range.
Model Y Long Range
Model Y Performance
New European Driving Cycle and the European equivalent of the EPA range calculation
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association which is the largest US association of electrical equipment
AC charge point allowing a maximum 50 amps of power, 40 amps with a constant load.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and are commonly quoted in relation to safety statistics
Neural Network - a variation of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence that is used as part of Autopilot, Auto high beam and auto windscreen wipers
Navigate on Autopilot. A feature that is part of EAP and FSD.
The valve that forms the basis of the Tesla Heat pump on the Model 3 and Model Y
Over the air and the way software updates are usually delivered
At the beginning of a model name an indication the car is a performance model
Old style naming convention for the MS and MX. The leading P if present indicated a performance model, the xx indicated the approx battery size, and the trailing D if present indicated if it was dual motor (all wheel drive). Some early MS were P85+ where the + indicated a higher level of performance to a P85.
Also written P3D- and a P3D without some of the performance features such as larger wheels
Pin to drive which is a security feature enabling you to add a pin code to your car
A shorthand way of writing a Model 3 Performance
Pay as you go, a form of payment which reflects what you actually use, e.g. paid supercharging
Plug in Hybrid Electric vehicle and a car with both battery and petrol motors
The MS and MX replacement for the Ludicrous performance models with extra power and tri motor setup
The name given to the planned top spec Model S although dropped before reaching production.
Permanent Magnet and a style of motor design
Pay Per Use, or Pay as you go, a form of payment which reflects what you actually use, e.g. paid supercharging
Can mean either Premium Upgrade pack or Performance upgrade pack depending on context.
Derived from the words RAdio Detection And Ranging. Technique for measuring position of objects using radio waves. It is a sensor which was fitted to many Tealas. Tesla have now moved to a vision system which does not require it.
Regenerative braking, the term used to describe the harvesting of kinetic energy when slowing down a car, and returning it to the battery for future use.
A BMW term for an EV with a petrol Range EXtender which can charge the battery while the car is in use. The size of the petrol tank meant it could more or less double its range albeit party fueled by petrol.
Rear wheel drive and when applied to a Tesla means it only has a single motors
Service Advisors, people who work at service centres.
Formally known as the Society of Automotive Engineers and the body that has defined the 6 levels of driving automation.
Driver assist features which control only 1 operation, usually speed. Cars just with active cruise control are level 1.
Driver assist features which can control more than 1 operation, for example speed regulation and lane keep. The key difference between Level 2 and Level 3 is not the feature count, it is the accountability for the driving. Tesla systems still require the driver to be accountable even if the car operates all the controls and are therefore level 2.
The first meaningful level of self driving also known as Eyes Off. For the first time the car is responsbile for driving with an orderly hand back to the driver when required which can happen at any time.
The first useful level of self driving where the car is responsbile for driving and sometomes known as Mind Off. The driver does not need to be paying attention for a defined and understood perdiod of time but the car is unlikely to be able to complete the whole journey and a driver is still required to take over under some conditions.
The highest level of self driving autonomy and where the steering wheel is optional. The car is capable of all forms of driving and is entirely responsble.
Smart Air Suspension or Standard Air suspension and different to the Adaptive air suspension on MS and MX cars from 2020
State of Charge - what percentage the battery is charged to.
Standard Range and a model variant. When applied to MS and MX is roughly equivalenet to the 75 model.
Standard Range plus and a model variant
Super Charging which is rapid DC charging at a Tesla supercharger location you see in various locations.
A version 2 supercharger, usually installed in pairs and where cars share a peak output of approx 150kw.
A version 3 supercharger, the latest form of supercharger with a peak delivery of 250kw for cars capable of taking that much. In some regions such as Europe, V3 sueprchargers are only CCS and earlier Model S and Model X will need the CCS upgrade to be able to use them. On these cars, charging is no faster than than on the V2 superchargers.
Traffic Aware Cruise Control and the system that controls the speed of the car on autopilot
Tyre pressure Monitoring system, each wheel has a sensor that detects the tyre pressure and reports to the car what it is enabling notification of low pressure or a flat.
Tesla stock/share symbol
Tesla Vision, the collective term for Tesla technology that only uses cameras and no other sensors. This initially started with the removal of the rain sensor for windscreen wiping, but has now extended to the removal of the radar and the parking sensors.
AC charging port used in Europe and many other countries.
Universal Mobile Connector in its generic form. This is the portable charger you can just plug into a domestic socket using a suitable interchangeable connector and charge your car. This is however the slowest way to charge the car.
The first version of the UMC and in Europe it supported 3 phase charging
The second generation of the UMC and in Europe it only supports single phase charging
Ultrasonic Sensors. These are the parking sensors you typically see in the front and rear bumper/fender of cars which help detect the distance from an object when parking. Tesla stopped equipping cars with these in late 2022 and promise Tesla Vision will replicate the capability.
Vehicle Identification Number and the unique car number which Tesla uses to identify the car
The number of watt hours it takes to drive one kilometer and a measure of efficiency and typically ranges from 160 to 270
The number of watt hours it takes to drive one mile and a measure of efficiency and typically ranges from 240 to 400
The phrase we posted above roughly translates to:
If you've rapid Direct Current Supercharging your Battery electric vehicle using the CCS charge plug standard on your Tesla Model S and pulled an instantaneous 140 kilo watts of electricity while using your Media control unit version 2 (ie big screen in the car) to find out which Autopilot hardware you have installed....
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