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New Model 3 [matrix] Headlights - adjust for LHD countries?

drewpost

Member
Aug 12, 2017
501
402
Surrey, United Kingdom
With my 2019 model 3, common advice was that the headlight beam was “flat” and didn’t need adjusting when driving on the right side of the road. I drove on the Continent with this car on a few trips in the “before times” and never had much of an issue and without any sort of adjustments.

With my 2021 MIC car, I have the new headlamps with the matrix square shape style patterns. These aren’t flat and have noticeable humps with a higher and wider hump bias on the UK passenger side which, here in the UK provides great illumination of the side of the road however on the continent, it’s going to be right in the eyeline of oncoming traffic.

There’s no option to “shorten” the width or height of those humps as far as I can tell, even in the normal adjust headlights menu.

Have any of you with the new lights had a legal occasion to drive in a LHD country with your new headlamp’ed RHD model 3? How did it go?
 
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Arran

Member
Feb 4, 2020
166
112
Southampton
With my 2019 model 3, common advice was that the headlight beam was “flat” and didn’t need adjusting when driving on the right side of the road. I drove on the Continent with this car on a few trips in the “before times” and never had much of an issue and without any sort of adjustments.

With my 2021 MIC car, I have the new headlamps with the matrix square shape style patterns. These aren’t flat and have noticeable humps with a higher and wider hump bias on the UK passenger side which, here in the UK provides great illumination of the side of the road however on the continent, it’s going to be right in the eyeline of oncoming traffic.

There’s no option to “shorten” the width or height of those humps as far as I can tell, even in the normal adjust headlights menu.

Have any of you with the new lights had a legal occasion to drive in a LHD country with your new headlamp’ed RHD model 3? How did it go?
I was told by the SC when getting some issues fixed on my 2021 M3 that they new headlights 'Auto Adjust' depending on locality. In-fact he empathised it as one of the new features to the new set of headlights on the 2021 models.

However, I doubt we'll know until late summer to see ourselves.
 

drewpost

Member
Aug 12, 2017
501
402
Surrey, United Kingdom
I was told by the SC when getting some issues fixed on my 2021 M3 that they new headlights 'Auto Adjust' depending on locality. In-fact he empathised it as one of the new features to the new set of headlights on the 2021 models.

However, I doubt we'll know until late summer to see ourselves.
Interesting. I’ve never seen that documented anywhere. We have a trip booked in mid July to Brittany which is looking cautiously optimistic (we’re all jabbed, it’s a secluded beach house so low risk). I was just hoping to find out before I got there!

fingers crossed we get a software update that enables more “matrix” like dynamic capabilities before then too!
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
438
296
Surrey, UK
Interesting. I’ve never seen that documented anywhere. We have a trip booked in mid July to Brittany which is looking cautiously optimistic (we’re all jabbed, it’s a secluded beach house so low risk). I was just hoping to find out before I got there!

fingers crossed we get a software update that enables more “matrix” like dynamic capabilities before then too!
It would be interesting to get feedback from someone who does manage to hop over to the continent. You’d like to think this would be perfectly manageable by the car, bearing in mind the nature of the new headlights, but, you know, Tesla.
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Mar 16, 2018
1,161
712
UK
Historically Tesla headlights have been symetrical with no curb lift and extra brghtness to see pedestrians which has meant there has been no need to convert for driving on the continent. The current M3 manual says more of less the same

"NOTE: Headlights do not require adjustments when temporarily driving into a region where the traffic direction is different (for example, driving in right-hand traffic region, and then driving into a region with lefthand traffic)"

It is amazing what information you can find in the instruction manual :)

I dread to think whaty will happen with matrix headlight features when they can;t master auto full beam at the moment
 
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Hurricane

Member
Jan 30, 2020
62
73
UK
I can’t find any evidence that the 2021 M3 has matrix headlights. Adaptive headlights very probably, but they are not in the same league as true matrix headlights.
 
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Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
438
296
Surrey, UK
I can’t find any evidence that the 2021 M3 has matrix headlights. Adaptive headlights very probably, but they are not in the same league as true matrix headlights.
The lights seem to be formed of individual LEDs in a matrix, rather than individual or grouped bulbs. They’re not particularly smart, at the moment, but they do seem to be a “matrix”. Whether or not they are programmable to do anything smart like other brands do with matrix headlights, who knows. Even if they are programmable, will Tesla be able to actually do something decent with them?
 
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Irata

Member
Oct 16, 2020
400
234
UK
They are not a flat beam pattern on the 2021 model. Shine the headlights on a wall and it's obviously not flat and configured per region.

I am dubious about them auto adjusting, imagine a GPS glitch and suddenly the car changes beam pattern.

Unfortunately quoting the manual to law enforcement won't help much.

I guess it's back to some stickers on the headlights and trial and error, until Tesla provide a more formal answer.
 

mikehj

Member
Jun 26, 2019
39
37
Edinburgh, UK
I've been thinking about this too as I was considering bringing a LHD Model 3 to the UK quite often and selling the RHD one I have here just now to save having two cars. However, this is one of the things stopping me. With many cars you can "get away with it" - in older cars I used to sometimes lower the beams a bit for example and many of the recent cars I've had have an option in the menu to change the side of road you're driving on. All considered in 20 years of travelling back and forward both ways from the UK to continent in RHD and LHD cars I've never been bothered by a single policeman or anybody about headlight adjustment by simply being considerate and avoiding dazzling people the best I can. However, looking at the beam on the 2021 M3 that's going to seriously dazzle oncoming traffic and have half the world flashing their lights constantly thinking you've got the full beam on! Stickers are going to do nothing for that kind of light as there isn't a lens on the outer cover.

I did wonder about auto adjustment too and that would be the smart solution but I'd be seriously surprised if Tesla thought of this as where else in the world apart from the UK and Ireland is there a chance of a RHD car going to a LHD country? It's a tiny consideration on a global scale. However, there are a few things that auto adjust on the M3 - TuneIn Radio for example recently started imposing the UK copyright restrictions so all my favourite foreign radio stations are blocked despite the LTE connection having a Netherland IP address. I also tested it on a WiFi network with a VPN and the Model 3 still knew it was in the UK so there is maybe something smart going on.
 

SpareHeadOne

Member
Oct 27, 2020
305
185
UK
I am dubious about them auto adjusting, imagine a GPS glitch and suddenly the car changes beam pattern.

I think you're worrying about a very specific edge case that's unlikely to happen, if there's a GPS problem you will see it in the maps, but cars don't tend rely on a constant signal anyway because there are lots of situations where signal can be lost so they combine GPS with data from other sensors (such as wheel speed). If you're driving in France and the car suddenly thinks you're in the UK then you've had a failure of multiple systems, which is not impossible but pretty unlikely.

Adjusting the lights based on navigation data has been around for a long time, my 2003 XJ had that ability; the only gotcha was that if the vehicle was moved while parked (e.g. Eurostar or ferry), then it might have to be driven a few miles before the navigation system sorted its life out so there's a possible problem if you arrive when it's dark but then again the Tesla updates its location in the background anyway.
 

15Peter20

Member
Oct 26, 2020
462
2,477
Norfolk
I must have read the manual ten times whilst waiting for my car to be delivered, that and YouTube videos.

Still forgot it all the moment I picked it up......
 
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Neilman

Member
Mar 27, 2020
282
167
Southampton, UK
I must have read the manual ten times whilst waiting for my car to be delivered, that and YouTube videos.

Still forgot it all the moment I picked it up......

Similar to my experience - all the YouTube videos, Tesla videos and reading the manual - all went out the window when I went on my test drive - all I could remember was very basic stuff but not how to turn off the radio!
 

Irata

Member
Oct 16, 2020
400
234
UK
I think you're worrying about a very specific edge case that's unlikely to happen, if there's a GPS problem you will see it in the maps, but cars don't tend rely on a constant signal anyway because there are lots of situations where signal can be lost so they combine GPS with data from other sensors (such as wheel speed). If you're driving in France and the car suddenly thinks you're in the UK then you've had a failure of multiple systems, which is not impossible but pretty unlikely.

Adjusting the lights based on navigation data has been around for a long time, my 2003 XJ had that ability; the only gotcha was that if the vehicle was moved while parked (e.g. Eurostar or ferry), then it might have to be driven a few miles before the navigation system sorted its life out so there's a possible problem if you arrive when it's dark but then again the Tesla updates its location in the background anyway.

The funny thing is .. I have had numerous GPS failures on cars, antenna, electrical, software.. more trouble than anything else over the years. It's far from an edge case for me.
 

mikehj

Member
Jun 26, 2019
39
37
Edinburgh, UK
The funny thing is .. I have had numerous GPS failures on cars, antenna, electrical, software.. more trouble than anything else over the years. It's far from an edge case for me.
That's rather unfortunate. In the case of the Tesla I'd think IF the GPS failed it would be almost unusable anyway so if the lights started pointing the wrong direction it would probably the least of the concerns. Anyway, let's hope the Tesla is more lucky for you in this regard!
 
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SpareHeadOne

Member
Oct 27, 2020
305
185
UK
The funny thing is .. I have had numerous GPS failures on cars, antenna, electrical, software.. more trouble than anything else over the years. It's far from an edge case for me.
Ah, I know that kind of luck, I went through a period where every car I owned had repeated problems with the air conditioning/climate system. The worst one would decide it was 48°C outside and blow freezing air on you in the middle of winter and decide it was -5 in summer and blow really hot air on you, but not all of the time - it became a little game to see if we could get through a journey without being frozen or baked.
 

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