The Coolest Easter Eggs in a Tesla

The EV maker has coded several secret goodies into its vehicles.

Three Teslas in red blue and white chargingTesla

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Automotive Easter eggs are unexpected vehicle features that many owners can take great joy in discovering (and sharing with others). Generally speaking, these hidden quirks serve no other purpose than to make you smile, and Tesla has sprinkled a few of them into its vehicles. Here are five (almost) secret treasures to spot in Tesla's EVs.

The Rainbow Road

Interior of Tesla with infotainment screenTesla

With Autopilot engaged, rapidly tap the drive stalk down four times. On the gauge cluster or infotainment screen (model depending), the pictured digital pathway becomes a rainbow road — an homage to a popular racetrack in the video game Mario Kart. Accompanying the cycling hues is an audio track from a well-known 2000 "Saturday Night Live" skit featuring actor Christopher Walken as a music producer who insists the Blue Oyster Cult song "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" needs "more cowbell."

If you'd like the rainbow road to show up every time you engage Autopilot (without the stalk taps), there's a way. While parked or in Autopilot, go to the Toybox menu, scroll to Always Rainbow, and choose the appropriate setting.

Mars Mode

If you're so inclined, you can change your Tesla's navigation screen so that instead of showing your car moving along Earth-based roads, it'll virtually put your vehicle (now depicted as a Mars Exploration Rover) on the uncharted surface of Mars — a place Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a definite interest in.

Model X Light Show

Tesla Model X with gullwing doors raisedTesla

There are a couple of Christmas-themed Easter eggs. All Tesla models have a Santa mode, for instance, where the digital car on the vehicle's screen turns into a reindeer-drawn sleigh controlled by Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.

But only Model X owners have tickets to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. With the windows down and the vehicle parked (probably not in actual North Pole temperatures and in a dark spot for the best effect), press and hold the Tesla T badge on the infotainment screen for five seconds. Enter the code ModelXMas, press OK, and give passersby a real show as your Model X springs — winters? — to life.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter" starts playing while the headlights and turn signals flash in time to the music. The doors — both Falcon Wing and front — get in on the action, opening and closing without assistance, and the side mirrors flap with the doors in the finale.

The James Bond Lotus Esprit

In the film "The Spy Who Loved Me," intelligence officer James Bond, also known as 007, drives off a pier in a white Lotus Esprit, which then turns into a sort of submarine. Musk bought the automotive movie prop for nearly a million back in 2013. He told shareholders in 2019 that he has a design for a similar submersible car that might one day be a showpiece.

In the meantime, the Tesla leader had his software engineers drop a Bond Esprit-based Easter egg into models with an air suspension. To see it, press and hold the Tesla T badge on the screen for five seconds and enter the code — what else? — 007. Then go check out the suspension tab in the control menu. Instead of showing your Tesla, there's a floating white Lotus Esprit with four depth choices (measured in leagues) in place of the usual ride heights.

Joe Mode

Backseat of a TeslaTesla

As you may have gathered from the other Easter eggs on this list, Tesla isn't afraid to make some noise. The company is generous with its bells and alerts (not to mention fart sounds). Apparently, though, Autopilot's chimes kept waking up the child of a Tesla owner named Joe, who sought help from the company. The automaker listened, creating Joe mode, in which noises for things like the turn signals are hushed.

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Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin has covered the new- and used-car industry since 2001 from a consumer perspective. His work is published in major national and regional print and online sources.