Can the Model 3 become a hotspot just like other cars can do that have onstar? If not, does anyone know if this will be a future capability?

EVRider | July 19, 2018

No, and maybe (or maybe not).

Chris35 | July 19, 2018

Damn. For such a high tech car, the lack of satellite radio and a hotspot seems short sighted to me.

EVRider | July 19, 2018

Tesla doesn’t want you using their bandwidth to watch movies on your iPad (for example). Maybe once they start charging for Premium Connectivity they’ll add hotspot support (but maybe not). The lack of XM is more about where to put the antenna than technology; Model S doesn’t support XM either unless you have the sunroof.

Chris35 | July 19, 2018

I would gladly pay $20 for the hotspot, just like I do with onstar.

andy.connor.e | July 19, 2018

Why do you need your car to be a hotspot if your phone can be a hotspot

jjgunn | July 19, 2018

No using free LTE paid for by Tesla. Hopefully they open it up once people are paying for their own LTE.

I love XM on my Model X

andy.connor.e | July 19, 2018

You get 1 year of free high speed LTE with Model 3.

Still dont understand why you'd need your car to be your hotspot when your phone, which is now your car key, can provide that for you.

CST | July 19, 2018

Yeah, but I pay for that data by the gig. Tesla's is free for me.

andy.connor.e | July 19, 2018


For 1 year

CST | July 19, 2018

I bought early enough - not the case for me :)

andy.connor.e | July 19, 2018

Dam nice haha

rxlawdude | July 19, 2018

I'm pretty sure the LTE service paid for by Tesla is throttled to a few Mb/s.

gm_xeon | July 19, 2018

I'd be surprised if Tesla's WiFi radio could not operate in ad-hoc mode, but I bet they have a deal with the ISP to not use it for anything but Tesla internet traffic.

Chris35 | July 19, 2018

It's my understanding that the 1 year of LTE isn't for external devices, it's used for data the car needs, like downloading updates, traffic information, streaming audio, etc. Is that correct?

As for using my phone as a hotspot, I can't and the reception would never be as good as onstar.

EVRider | July 19, 2018

@Chris35: You keep mentioning OnStar, so I want to make sure you know Teslas don't have that. Teslas use LTE (or 3G on some older cars) for internet connectivity while you're driving, so if reception is bad for your phone it might be bad for the car too (I believe Tesla uses AT&T). The only real advantage of making the car a WiFi hotspot is to avoid data charges on your phone.

Chris35 | July 19, 2018

Yes, I’m aware and was just using it as an example. | July 20, 2018

Wow - $20/month ($240/yr) for a Onstar hotspot seems expensive. I can get an unlimited data hotspot on my phone for $10/month (or free if I pay for a more expensive plan). I suppose Tesla could offer an super-premium plan at an extra $240/year for a hotspot, but seems like a lot of effort for a feature anyone can get on their phone already.

andy.connor.e | July 20, 2018

Why do you need hotspot in your car?

Just curious never really thought about it. | July 20, 2018

So everyone in the car can be watching a different movie while driving. Hopefully the driver is not one of them.

andy.connor.e | July 20, 2018

Thats funny but its a serious question. But if thats a serious answer, then 'alrighty then'.

nicktrash | July 20, 2018

If we're going to be streaming, frankly I don't really know why XM wouldn't just work with Tesla and have it be an app that a user would have to sign in to and then have their login present their selections and allow streaming. Could be Tesla did a deal with Tunein and another that prohibits that, but since one can always use an XM app and use bluetooth streaming-lets just take it one step farther.

andy.connor.e | July 20, 2018

Me thinks if your phone can do it, theres no reason to put the hardware in every single car. Everyone has a phone. Data on the otherhand is the only bottleneck.

SteveWin1 | July 20, 2018

Kind of agree w/ everyone. I've got unlimited data on my phone, which can act as a hotspot. If anything, I'd rather have the ability to use my phone as a hotspot for the Tesla, rather than the other way around. I'm already paying for unlimited data on my phone. Wouldn't make sense to add another data plan...

Chris35 | July 20, 2018

The car has much better reception than my phone.

Kary993 | July 1, 2019

my phone has much better reception that the car...I just use my phone as a hotspot for the car if necessary.

rxlawdude | July 1, 2019


OscarJ | November 21, 2019

I would also prefer to use my phone as a hotspot for the car the other way around. In Germany I have unlimitted data for Spotify and video like YT and Netflix. So why pay double. The problem is also, that Tesla doesn't offer the premium internet for the SR+ and I would like to see traffic information in my map. Now I have to look on my phone all the time.

EVRider | November 21, 2019

@OscarJ: Once Tesla starts letting people pay for Premium Connectivity, you should be able to buy it for your SR+. Nobody can buy it yet.

SpaceCowboy | December 24, 2019

I know I’m in the minority here but I’ve owned a BlackVue dash cam for years (Since my MS in 2015 - now in my M3 since 2018) and it requires a hotspot in order to send real-time notifications and auto-upload clips to the cloud when an event happens (like someone breaking into my car). I’ve gone through three MiFi devices from Verizon because they’re just not built to be on all the time. Unfortunately, there’s not a hotspot solution available for Tesla that you can make “always on”. If Tesla provided hotspot capability, I would be thrilled. And for those thinking of replying regarding the newer built-in dash cam and sentry mode features, I’m aware, use them and love them. But, and this is a big deal, are not cloud connected. It doesn’t do any good to have it if the USB is stolen or damaged during an accident.

The point is Tesla is lagging here in an area they shouldn’t be. There are use cases for needing a hot spot when you’re away from your car without your phone. I even tried using a cellular-enabled iPad mini for a bit. It worked until the car shut off. Ugh.

peter.barkas | December 24, 2019

I had a hotspot in my BMW and usually it had much better reception than my phone because it was connected to the car aerial, it is one of the few things that I miss now that I have swapped to a M3.

bjrosen | December 24, 2019

I'd be happy to pay them $20/month for a hotspot, that's what I paid OnStar for an unlimited plan.

BretaNet00 | April 30, 2020

Right, premium cars should have hotpot functionality (especially with such a weak browser).
Elon said it could happen long ago. It's just a matter of keeping up with the other premium auto brands...

fazman | April 30, 2020

If you really want a hotspot in the year 2020, why not use your own phone as a hotspot? Or go get an actual hotspot thru Google Fi? I would say built in “hotspots” on a car are very gimmicky... the tech evolves so fast that its better to have your own stand alone solution to keep the car from getting obsolete in about 12 months. I’m pretty sure a 5G hotspot would be nice thing to have in any car, but all cars prior to 2021 are not going to have it.

As for the future... anything is possible, who knows Elon might get his own wireless ISP setup in outer space and beam down internet to each car for $1/mo in the future...

dinojenifer2018 | May 10, 2020

In Germany I have unlimitted information for Spotify and video like YT and Netflix. So why pay twofold. The issue is additionally, that Tesla doesn't offer the top notch web for the SR+ and I might want to see traffic data in my guide