Tesla Model S Easter Egg Turns Your Car Into James Bond’s Water-Going Lotus Esprit

As Ernie Cline’s excellent retro-themed Ready Player One reminds us, Easter eggs — intentional inside jokes or hidden messages hidden inside a work of art, a computer program or perhaps a book — are just as enjoyable as those made from cocoa, sugar, butter and milk. Sometimes, they’re found shortly after creation as was the case with Warren Robinett’s hidden Easter egg in the 1979 Atari game Adventure.  Sometimes, they can lie dormant for years or even decades, as demonstrated by the 2004 discovery of Bradley Reid-Seith’s name hidden in the 1978 computer cam Video Whizzball. 

Of course, Robinett’s Adventure Easter egg is well-known, as are all of these well-known treasures. But it turns out that if you look hard enough, you can find Easter eggs in some pretty unusual places.

Even inside a Tesla Model S.

Want to have James Bond's aqua car? Just enter the secret code in your Tesla Model S

Want to have James Bond’s aqua car? Just enter the secret code in your Tesla Model S

As Jalopnik reported on Thursday last week, the $100,000 electric sports sedan pays homage to those early game programmers and CEO Elon Musk’s love of James Bond with a carefully-coded Easter egg hidden in the Tesla Service menu of all cars with the version 5.9 operating software or newer. What’s even cooler is that it was added nearly a year ago, and has only just been discovered.

Now it has, the Internet has been flooded with whoops of joy from Tesla Model S owners discovering the Easter egg for the very first time. Were we to be at the wheel of a Tesla right now, we’d probably try too.

Underwater Car

The Easter egg itself is seen (when activated) in the suspension setting window in Tesla’s main control panel. Usually, the top left portion of the window controls how high or low the active suspension system is at any given time, as well as setting the speed at which the automatic lowering system activates. To the right, there’s a helpful representation of the car, showing the suspension rising and falling as the user changes it.

When the Easter egg is activated — we’ll explain how in a second — that suspension setting window changes to display a depth gauge in leagues, while the picture of the Tesla Model S is replaced with James Bond’s underwater Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. 

To find the egg, all an owner has to do is press and hold the large Tesla ‘T’ at the top of their car’s touch screen display until a screen pops up asking for the technician’s code. Enter ‘007’ — James Bond’s codename — and the transformation occurs.

It’s obviously a nod to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who purchased one of the prop underwater Lotus Esprits used in that 1977 film back in October 2013 for a cool $866,000. Having been put in a storage locker after it was used for promotional purposes back in the late 70s, the car was lost presumed destroyed after we assume someone stopped paying the storage locker fee.

Here's what the standard settings screen looks like.

Here’s what the standard settings screen looks like.

By 1989, the locker and its contents were put up for auction. Initially not even understanding what the car was, the locker’s new buyer held on to the car until someone from the Ian Flemming Foundation tracked him down and convinced him to put the car up for auction.

That very same 2013 auction which Musk won.

Once activated, the Easter egg appears to remain while the car is on, with Tesla owners telling us the only way to revert back to the original suspension setting screen is to do a full power down of the car — accessed through the E-Brake & Power Off control screen.

Just enter James Bond's codename into the service screen...

Just enter James Bond’s codename into the service screen…

Now everyone knows about it, expect Tesla Model S owners all around the world to bring 007’s underwater car to the party.

Do you have a Tesla Model S? Have you tried the aqua car Easter egg? And do you think there will be other Easter eggs in future software updates?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Chris Stanley

    Funny that the depth is selectable down to 20,000 leagues, a clear reference to the Jules Verne book. The only issue is that ‘20,000 leagues’ referred to the distance traveled underwater, not the depth. A league is about 4km so clearly if you went 20,000 leagues down you’d go right through the earth and off into space. lol.

    • vdiv

      Clearly they should have used the metric system to avoid drowning/crushing the occupants 😉

      • Chris Stanley

        Exactly! ;o)