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Tesla works to slash Sentry Mode power usage by ~40%, and why that’s bigger than you think Leave a comment


Tesla is working on a software update to slash Sentry Mode power usage by ~40% – reducing “vampire drain” on parked vehicles.

It might sound like a small update that’s bigger than you think.

Electric vehicles lose some power when parked. It’s often been referred to as “vampire drain”.

There are several factors that can contribute to vampire drain, like battery temperature control, pining connectivity features, etc.

With Tesla vehicles, there’s an optional feature that can contribute significantly: Sentry Mode.

Sentry Mode uses the cameras all around Tesla vehicles, which are primarily there for Tesla’s driver-assist features and promised self-driving, to monitor suspicious activities, record, and remote view what’s happening around your vehicle.

The feature has been used to counter the epidemic of people keying Tesla cars a few years ago.

Sentry Mode does consume a good amount of power – contributing to the vampire drain. With Sentry Mode on, some Tesla owners reported a vampire drain of 7.2 kWh in a day. That’s roughly 10% of the battery capacity of long range Model 3 or Model Y.

Now, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s SVP of powertrain and energy engineering, revealed that Tesla is working on an update that will reduce Sentry Mode power consumption by as much 40%:

The update is reportedly planned for the second quarter (April through June).

Baglino didn’t elaborate how Tesla plans to achieve the reduction in power consumption.

Electrek’s Take

This might sound like a small update, but it could be big if successful. It shows just how much impact Tesla can now have at its current scale.

There are over 5 million Tesla vehicles around the world. Let’s say that 1 million of them used Sentry Mode for about 24 hours per week. It means 7 GWh of energy used for Sentry Mode a week.

If you can cut that by 40%, you just saved 2.8 GWh of power. That’s massive. You saved all the carbon production from that energy generation and at a rate of $0.15 per kWh, you also saved $420,000 per week.

Of course, I am guessing when it comes to Sentry Mode usage rate, but you can get an idea of how much value Tesla can create from making its fleet more efficient at the current scale.

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