Tesla Model S: Review of entertainment and apps

By Posted 3 Oct 2011, 15:32

With not long to go until the launch of the Tesla Model S (which is to also get a performance version) we thought that we should take a look at some of the other aspects of the car, such as entertainment and apps. The two things that you will notice first when looking at the interior is the two screens; you have the 12.3-inch LCD in front of the steering wheel and also a 17-inch one that takes pride of place on the center console.

The smaller of the two will display information such as speed, fuel consumption, and how much power the electric motor has until a recharge is needed. We have seen that more cars are now going with a touchscreen interface, and although this is great for you tech minded drivers, we cannot help but feel that Tesla Motors has not used some of the technology that is available.

The screen serves as the main hub for the car, but we do not understand why they have gone the way of infrared and not projected capacitive technology? That being said, it’s a start and much better than having standard buttons. However, one has to wonder if having more technology like this will drain the batteries down than going with a more conventional interior?

Forbes got to spend a little bit of time with the Model S, and did point out one reason why Tesla Motors went for that kind of screen and not one used by the iPad, and that is because you can interact with the screen even with gloves on, which is a real bonus – especially if you want to keep the heat down in the car to prolong the range.

Reading the specs of the system, it’s as if we are looking at the hardware of a tablet or smartphone. You can expect an Nvidia Tegra 2; although this could be bumped to the Tegra 3 by the time the electric vehicle sees its release. By using a powerful chip this will give developers an easier task when developing apps for the system. The only issue that we see with these apps is that they will not be designed for Android, as it is believed that Linux will be used instead.

With so much interest surround the Model S, you would have thought that the carmaker would have gone down a more popular route, such as Android or iOS. The reason we say this is because consumers would have had a far greater choice when it came to apps, although not too certain how much need there is for a huge array of apps?

Having said that, some of the apps that you can expect to see are perfect for those into entertainment, such as the Slacker radio app and text-to-voice apps. However, there are many more third-party apps coming, we just do not know what at the moment.

What apps would you like to see used in the Tesla Model S?