Tesla Model 3 Heated Rear Seats Now Activated Via OTA Update

Tesla Model 3 rear seats


It has appeared all along that the Tesla Model 3 was manufactured with the hardware for heated rear seats, and now there’s proof.

The Tesla Model 3 entered the market in very small batches, the first of which went to employees for the purpose of reporting any early issues. These first cars were delivered missing many features due to the need for updates. As the Model 3 has rolled out to a wider audience, Tesla has been gradually sending over-the-air software updates to bring feature availability to all vehicles.

READ ALSO: Tesla Model 3 OTA Update Improves Security Of Keys

Tesla Model 3 rear seats

Tesla Model 3 rear seats (Image Credit: Turo)

The most recent update (version 8.1) finally activates the Model 3’s heated back seats. According to Teslarati, and gleaned from several reports on social media, the update also addresses the phone key system, touchscreen icon orientation, and Automatic Emergency Braking. As first reported by Teslarati, Raghuram Kamath shared screenshots with update details on Facebook:

Keep passengers warm with heated back seats

When the weather is cold, treat your backseat passengers to the luxury of warm seats. Tap the fan icon to access climate controls, then tap the Seats tab. Then, choose the seat you want heated and adjust the heat to your passenger’s liking.

Unlocking with a phone key

For added security, we’ve updated how your Model 3 unlocks doors and trunk. Now, when you’re next to the vehicle with a connected phone key, the doors unlock when you pull the handles, and the trunk unlocks when you push the trunk switch.

Automatic Emergency Braking speed increase

The maximum speed at which Automatic Emergency Braking is available has increased from 50 mph to 90 mph. Automatic Emergency Braking is enabled by default. You can temporarily disable it by tapping the Controls icon on the bottom left corner of the touchscreen, and then tap Autopilot > Settings > Automatic Emergency Braking > OFF setting. The feature is re-enabled on your next drive.

Rearranged touchscreen controls

Thanks to customer feedback, we’ve rearranged the touchscreen icons that what you use most often is even easier to reach. The Media Player and Phone icons are now located on the left of the touchscreen.

Blue Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Many updates to Tesla vehicles occur as part of an open dialogue that CEO Elon Musk has with owners on Twitter. In the past, Musk has gone so far as to ask what can be improved. He also spends a great deal of time communicating via the social network and acknowledges people’s reasonable update requests.

Obviously, the heated seats had to have the hardware installed in advance in order for an update to suffice, but this isn’t the case with many OTA improvements.

It wasn’t long ago that an update added an easy entry and exit feature for the Tesla Model S and X, which was one of several suggestions that owners provided to Musk in a long string of Twitter replies back in December.

RELATED: Tesla OTA Update To Add Easy-Exit Steering Wheel Function

What’s next? Do you have any ideas for updates to Tesla’s fleet that could possibly be initiated via the OTA feature?

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Follow the link below to see the specific screenshots referred to above.

Source: Teslarati, Model3OwnersClub

Categories: Tesla

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42 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Heated Rear Seats Now Activated Via OTA Update"

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All EV’s need heated seats – and having the steering wheel heated is also important.

All EV’s also need direct heating windshield defrosters – only the e-Golf has this, as far as I know. This can save a lot of range, in the winter.

By the way – please give us the ability to edit our posts; as long as you are improving the web site.


Heated window is a great idea, as if you want to run without cabin heat you often can’t because it means fogging.

The issue is cost, in many winter areas windshields get broken a lot. How much extra does it cost to replace a heated window? If it is $200 extra, that is like 2000 kwh of electricity, at say 4 kwh average heater use it is 500 hours of not using my heater. If I average 30 mph that is 15000 miles, or maybe 5 winters worth.

My guess is it comes back to if you like the feature or not, maybe won’t pay for itself but having extra range can be nice, etc.


My eGolf windshield was $700…covered by insurance, fortunately.


While I agree with the editing function those direct heated windshields don’t look right. I prefer them to be just solid glass.

Although having it as an option wouldn’t be a bad idea for those that actually want it.


You get used to them quite fast and then you won’t even notice the elements.


“All EV’s also need direct heating windshield defrosters – only the e-Golf has this, as far as I know.”

I thought Mercedes Benz B-class Electric also has that feature.

David Cary

FWIW – I would edit your statement. All small battery EVs need heated windshields.

The range hit on a Tesla for running the heat is modest. The real range killer is increased drag in the winter.

And the other issue is average speed. You need range when your average speed is 70. At that speed, the time needed to heat is smaller. And then if you are supercharging, there is some free waste heat.

Brian D

Wait, the backseat passenger has to ask the driver “turn up my seats a little please”. Then 15 minutes later “I’m getting too hot, can you turn them back down please”.

The cost cutting in this interior is too much.


No, it is the hipster spartan look /sarcasm

Exactly, there is a fine line between doing it for a clean style and being cheap.


How much could a couple of rear seat heater buttons cost? I mean the Bolt and its rather cheap-ass interior even has seat heater on/off buttons for rear passengers for crying out loud!


Exactly, maybe some complexity adding wires (which they are trying to reduce), but can’t be more than a few dollars per car. They could go right by the rear USB ports (which they already had to run wires for).


Hey bro too bad no one has ever found out if the rear seat heaters on the bolt even work as they are so uncomfortable that no one has been able to sit in them long enough to see if their butt actually gets warm.


That’s why a center console, for the rear passengers, is necessary!
Back seat kids “Dad, I’m cold”
Dad “OK I’ll take my eyes off the road whilst I find the correct section of screen to press”
Kids “Daaaad, my bottoms burning”
Dad “OK I’ll take my eyes off the road whilst I find the correct “.. crash


The section of the screen never changes. There isn’t anything to “find”.


That sounds like GENIUS design. As if the driver won’t be distracted enough, having people yell from the back to turn on/off the seat heaters every few minutes will surely help.


Hey bro now I understand why gm left off so many features off the bolt as they were worried about distractions. I mean who needs a garage door opener when you could possibly be distracted by pushing a button and god forbid putting active cruise control and having to move a lever that would be sure to cause a 16 car pile up.

Thank heavens the reason that gm in their infinite wisdom left the bolt so increable lacking was to save people from being distracted. I do understand though that with a car as small as the bolt there is just not a lot of mass between the passengers and the outside world so even the smallest distraction could ultimately end up crushing the bolt like a tin can.


“Wait, the backseat passenger has to ask the driver ‘turn up my seats a little please’.”

Not a very likely scenario. If there are people in the back seat, then most likely there is also a passenger in the “shotgun” front seat. That passenger can adjust controls on the screen; no need for the driver to do so.

Not impossible of course, but when is the last time you had to ride in the back seat of a car when there was not a passenger “riding shotgun”?

David Cary
I would guess that not a lot of kids are posting on this forum so you won’t get any affirmative answers. I am in a family of 3. The miles with just a back seat passenger number as many as those with all 3. Now – the other issue is car seats. Those of course don’t get the effect of the heat. So children under 8 don’t get much benefit and for me that is the vast majority of the back seat passengers. Which really comes down to back seat heaters are not really all that important. Our Leaf has them and our Tesla does not. If you have 3 or 4 adults in the car, it is hot. It would have to be pretty cold out to not be. And then you are running the heat to keep the windshield clean. As someone with 5 years with a car with rear seat heaters – much ado about nothing. Just a surprising luxury for the 3 times we have turned them on. Funny about people complaining about the cost thing. The wires and elements surely cost 100 times the button cost. Yet they had it in there and didn’t list… Read more »
I take my 10 year old to school each morning on my way to work with him in the backseat and no one else in front. Over the last couole years we have made hundreds of trips this. He is 4’10” last I checked so no need for a booster, but at his height and weight he is safest in the backseat so that is where he rides typically. There have been a couple trips he has ridden up front though when on short trips with his younger brother plus their friends along. The car has seat heaters in front and none in back and is one of the things he likes about riding in front on rare occasions. Heated rear seats would be nice for us, and the feature would be nicer if each person can control their own without asking someone else. Try out driving for Uber or Lyft for a month to get a new driver promo. You will take many trips with riders in back and no one in front. Or if you do not want to, try observing rideshare passengers at a busy pickup location like an airport. You will see many leave the front… Read more »
Magnus H

Tesla is taking the software engineering approach to cars? I’m not sure it’s only beneficial.


PSA: you will still need leg warmers….


And/or thigh warmers if someone taller than 5’9″ or so sits in the rear seats due to the lack of thigh support/contact with the seats.


That’s what I was getting at!


For folks who are under the delusion that passengers have lots of thigh support in rear seats of midsize passenger sedans, here is what somebody 6 foot 4 looks like sitting in the back seat of a BMW 3-Series:


And here is someone 6 foot 7 in the TM3:


Lesson? Don’t expect thigh support for long trips in the back seat of ANY mid-size sedan unless you are short. There is a reason why tall SUV’s have become so popular over sedans. Sedans just don’t have the same room inside as SUV’s. That’s just cold hard reality.


I like OTA updates but at the same time there is no reason that a software update should have been necesssary to make these work. They should have been sold with them working from the beginning.


If Tesla had waited until everything they planned the car to eventually be equipped with was working, tested, and fully de-bugged, then we would still be waiting for Tesla to start selling the Model 3.

Just who would that benefit? Oh, yeah — the laggard legacy auto makers who still are not making compelling plug-in EVs.

Personally, I think it’s a very clever production and marketing strategy: start selling the car even before they have all the software fully developed and debugged, which allowed Tesla to concentrate on the important things before production started, leaving the less important things until later.

Those who want to wait for everything to be fully developed still have the option of doing so. Even first-day reservation holders can choose to delay converting their reservation to an order.


In the software industry, the term for this approach is called the “Agile Software Methodology” which is all the rage in software development these days, made popular by the “Scrum” Agile movement in the Silicon Valley.

I would be shocked if a Silicon Valley car company would use old school waterfall development methodologies instead of modern Agile methodologies.


Murrysville EV

Too late for me. I cancelled my reservation last night.

For any other mfr, functioning rear seat heaters wouldn’t make the news. Tesla doesn’t realize that many Model 3 buyers will NOT be first adopters who are willing to tolerate such shenanigans.

I was a Day 1 reservation holder (sight unseen), so you can all thank me for bumping you up in line.

I’ll be giving my $1000 to another mfr. I’ve had enough of the bait-and-switch pricing, quality issues, endless production delays, and that stupid, unsafe center display.


I hate video displays in cars. I just need to see the road, my speed, and my battery level. Everything else is a distraction.


Are you honestly cancelling because of this?

I also reserved first day. I do not recall anything about rear seat heaters at the point I reserved. I would not necessatily have expected them. The first I heard about them was this article actually. While I would prefer traditional buttons or dials this is for a feature that I was not necesssily even expecting. There are much more important characterstics to a car than this detail.

scott franco

“Obviously, the heated seats had to have the hardware installed in advance in order for an update to suffice”

Naww, Tesla got its energy to matter reassembly system working a couple versions back…


Why would Tesla need to do OTA for rear seat heating? Just to prove that OTA is useful? Why would they install the necessary heaters and wiring but not make the heaters accessible in the first place?


My guess: rear heated seats are rarely used and the non-PUP version of the car won’t even have them, so Tesla decided from the start to not dedicate any home screen real estate for them, but instead to tuck them into a dedicated menu. That menu was a low priority and was only finished recently, after more important issues were fixed, such as the wipers UI.


“the non-PUP version of the car won’t even have them”

That is possible. We still don’t have final specs for the non-premium interior. They may or may not have heated rear seats.


Love it! Can’t wait for the update!
I have always thought the Model 3 is built without the rear seat heater, this is a very pleasant surprise!
(The car is already better than my expectation to begin with.)


I actually suspect this is just a stop-gap measure until they OTA enable voice controls for rear seat passengers to control it themselves.


I prefer basic button contols. The more things have to be controlled by voice the more annoying it can get. I have never seen it function flawlessly from a car manufacturer, google, apple, or amazon. Even when it works it is annoying at times. You need to wait for pauses in conversation. You need to turn down music. Or, if people are enjoying silence (like when a young child is napping) you interupt that.

I do not have a strong accent and am not hearing impaired, but if I did it would suck worse.

It can be a flawed UX approach.

I tend to agree with all of your comments about the current restrictions of voice controls. But none the less I expect autonomous driverless Uber-like car services to be heavily dependent on voice and phone app inputs from passengers. Any car designed for this duty will end up being built the same way. Voice control is the direction of the industry and of technology in general (think Alexa and Siri) and despite the drawbacks you rightfully identify, analog switches and dumb displays are on the way out. They are being replaced by smart touch control screens and voice controls. Like voice controlled TV remotes (Xfinity X1) and voice controlled smart home thermostats (Nest and EcoBee). And the Model 3 definitely has been designed to operate as an autonomous driverless Uber-like car service in the future. Even if currently they are a bit ahead of that curve. With that said, there will just be more and more cars built like this over time, not less. I’m sure this will face resistance, like fuel injection once faced resistance from people who believed in Carbs, but to quote Back to the Future: “Guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet…but your kids are… Read more »

Expanding on my previous thoughts, I almost expect Tesla to implement something like seat heat temp preferences that will self-learn what rear seat temps you like when you call a Model 3 for an autonomous ride to work.

Why would you need to bother with trivial thinks like determining what level heat is applied to your backside by choosing from 3 positions on a rocker switch manually, when your phone can store your preferences? Let the car take those preferences, and based upon your historic voice commands and interior/exterior temps and time of day, let the car predict your desired heat level.

Allow it to learn and predict your preferences for your autonomous commute, along with your preferred HVAC levels. And your preferred following distances, preferred driving routes, your preferred speeds, your preferred pick-up and drop-off exact locations and times, etc.


I agree that is the direction things are headed.

Voice alone not so bad if there is a decent apps. Often those have issues too. Current rideshare apps are a goid example. They work good enough for just enough cases to be acceptable. Minimal Viable Product.


When I travel for work I am typically witg one other coworker and we will share lyft/uber rides. There is big variation in how well the passenger areas are krpt up. I do not know in advance which seat each if us will pick for sure becsuse sometimes one seat area is nastiet than another even on Uber Black. Drivers taking a couple rides in a row do not have a chance to clean up in between rided. Once drivers are replaced by fully autonomous cars it will get worse.


I don’t know how good Tesla’s voice recognition is, but I’ve been driving a 2010 Ford vehicle, and that Sync is awesome!!! Way ahead of its time! It actually works, and works very well, much better than anything I have heard from other people who own vehicles from other automakers that have voice-activated features (Subaru, Cadillac, and a few others).