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Tesla Update To Address 'Range Anxiety'

CNBC's Phil LeBeau reports on comments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in its conference call on ending range anxiety, and the auto steering feature.
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As Tesla Motors detailed a software update aimed at reducing battery concerns in its Model S, CEO Elon Musk on Thursday announced an "auto steering" feature that should be ready in "about three months."

"We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything," Musk said.

With the technology, drivers would not have to control the steering wheel, acceleration or braking when the car is on a highway. The announcement came during a press conference in which Musk detailed a separate update that includes a "range assurance" application and a trip planner.

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The software will warn Model S drivers before they drive out of charging range and plan routes with charging stations, making it "basically impossible" to run out of battery before reaching a station, he added.

The Model S will also get automatic emergency braking and side collision warnings with the new update.

Shares in the electric car maker were down more than 1 percent on Thursday.

Tesla has attempted to alleviate concerns that trips would take cars out of charging range. It is among the challenges the company has faced after posting a quarterly loss last month as it struggled to keep up with its production target.

Musk hinted at the software update in a tweet on Sunday, saying the company would "end" range anxiety, or concerns about reaching a charging station before battery runs out:

Read More: Musk: I don't tweet to inflate Tesla shares

He noted on Thursday that Tesla's charging network has "grown dramatically." Musk added that nearly all of North America will be in Tesla charging range within the next 12 months.

Musk said that Tesla is a software company as well as hardware company, and software updates will become an integral part of owning a Tesla vehicle.