Model S Media/Phone integration

Model S Media/Phone integration

I am a Model S reservation holder and just attended an event where we could view the Beta model. My wife and I are very excited with the car and look forward to the middle of next year when we take delivery.

We are left with a few questions/hopes for the car that maybe someone hear can address.

1. I hope the interior of the car is still being finalized and can be made more accommodating to one's specific needs. We don't have 5 kids so the rear facing seats are just not of interest. I would rather have a more functional rear trunk space. I would also love to be able to fold the 2nd row of seats down (ideally split seats) to make room for skis, sails, tools, or whatever long/bulky things one might put in a car. (And no I don't want an SUV.) There is a lot of interior volume in this car and I want to make use of it in several ways.

2. The seats were very comfortable, but I hope that they will be more form fitting. I can imagine making corners in this car and sliding around on those seats. (I didn't get to test drive, so maybe this is not the concern I think it is.)

3. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we were shown the bells and whistles of the 17" display with its phone contacts, media storage, internet access, etc. etc.:
A. I don't need to read the New York Times while driving or even when at a stop light.
B. The last thing I want is yet one more place that I have to sync my contacts and music and podcasts.
C. The presentation suggested the car would have a built in 3g/4g phone and data connection. Again, I don't want to have to pay for and manage yet another phone connection.
D. It was implied that I might have to pay extra for turn by turn navigation. Reduce the size of this screen, save the power and give me turn by turn nav. as standard.

It seems to me that making the car a deluxe blue tooth device for my iPhone/Android/blah blah smartphone is a better way to go. Let me make calls on my phone through the car's speakers/mic. Let me play music and podcasts from my phone's playlists through the car's speakers. Maybe even let my phone's gps and google maps talk to the car and take me where I want to go (with turn by turn navigation) through the car's display.

Beyond eliminating the need to sync another device and pay for another data connection in the car, it seems to me that we might better keep step with mobile technology if we rely on my $400 smartphone for the mobile phone/data technology and the $60,000 car for transportation. I can change my phone when 4g becomes 5g and I don't want to have to come for service at the Tesla center for that.

I can't believe I am the first to have these thoughts, but I have not found much reference to these specific issues on the forums. I hope (and sort of expect) that Tesla has cool solutions in mind for these issues.

Can't wait to hear more.

EdG | 6 November 2011

I don't think anyone's going to get a smaller screen. There are enough issues mentioned in this forum about how people don't like the way the screen is integrated into the dash, but smaller screen, no. If you've seen Elon boast about the screen and how the battery size of the car makes it so the screen can be super bright (as contrasts with a typical laptop use), you would be convinced of this.

I definitely hear you on the "yet another $30 per month" cellular charge. If you don't do that, you will probably be able to use the internet, and, therefore, navigation system, by tethering from your phone. If you do this, you won't be able to control your car remotely. I think of it as $360 per year of ICE maintenance moved over to a new technology, but I was hoping to use that money in a calculation to show myself and others how this $90000+ Signature is saving me $300 per year. ;)

I, too, would like all but the front row of seats to be able to fold away or be removed for those few times I have to move a lot of stuff. Here's hoping that the interior design is getting a nice big look-see and snazzy redesign. (I haven't been in one, I'm just getting the feeling from others.)

I guess if you don't want to read the NY Times while you're driving, you'll have to watch web TV or instead. (Joking!) Skype app?

Kallisman | 6 November 2011

1. Don't worry about flexibility of seats. This is from the model s features page: "MORE STORAGE
The unique architecture of Model S creates unprecedented storage space. Model S can transport a mountain bike, a surfboard, and a flat screen TV – all at once. With no need for an engine up front, Model S features an additional 8.1 cubic-foot compartment under the hood. With the seats folded flat, Model S boasts over 66 cubic feet of storage." The rear facing seats are optional.

2. From the pics I've seen the seats don't look like they have much support on the sides. Maybe they will offer optional sports seats like competition does. Pure speculation atm.

3. A. You shouldn't read the NYT while driving, but internet browser can come in handy in many situations. Ex. looking up an address or phone number in online phone book, entertainment while u are waiting in the car for someone/something, checking your e-mail... You can do this on a smart phone too, but isn't it better to use that big screen?

B. I'm pretty sure that if u set it up correctly in the first place, it will sync automatically every time its connected.

C. You might be able to get a twin SIM card for your car, or it can connect through your phone. The best is to have a separate connection for the car, since u get remote control ability, but I don't believe it's a requirement to use the car.

D. Turn by turn navigation with google maps is included as long as u have connection to internet, but you can get an optional navigation on DVD if u prefer. I heard that in an interview with some Tesla representative.

The car can have better antennas for phone and gps than it's possible to get in a small device tucked away in a pocket or other shielded place.

Mycroft | 6 November 2011

Non-Internet connected NAV will be standard with the Signature Edition, but an added option for the regular version.

The back seats fold down in a 70/30 configuration. So you can fold down two of the seats, leaving one for a passenger if desired. There's about 53" of room side to side inside and about 61" from the back of the front seats to the back of the car. So you can easily store anything 4'x5'.

There will almost assuredly be a roof rack option even with the pano roof.

If you have wi-fi at home, then the car should connect to that when it's in the garage, giving you remote control of it and allowing it to retrieve updates over the Internet. At least while it's in the garage.

You will be able to connect your phone via bluetooth for calls and playing music. So no, you won't have to sync your music to the car if you don't want to.

EdG | 6 November 2011

Glad my WiFi antenna is just above the garage!

It'll be interesting, if there's no unlimited data plan for the car, to see how to use the limited plan for times when the phone is not there, but opt for the phone connection data when it is there. And still use the car's antenna for good connection speeds when the phone is hardly connected, but not use too much of the month's allocation..

I can only hope, as was mentioned by others, that the ISP won't have any problem giving us unlimited data.

Mycroft | 6 November 2011

An "unlimited" plan would be quite spendy. As long as you don't watch videos, most plans are plenty for surfing and music streaming. As EdG said earlier, expect to pay $30/month if you want the car to be connected 24x7.

If you're planning on tethering your phone to the car to save money. Keep in mind that most carriers require an additional fee of $15 or more per month to enable tethering and you're still restricted in the amount of data you can use.

So given those choices, I'll most likely pay the $30/month for constant Internet connection.

David70 | 6 November 2011

Thanks for the rear area info Mycroft. That tells me that we can overnight in an RV park while charging. Sleeping room for two (I'm only 6', but probably closer to 5'10" at my current age).

Mycroft | 6 November 2011

Yeah, and since you can leave the climate controls running all night, it'll be better than a tent or an ICE vehicle!

Volker.Berlin | 6 November 2011

Non-Internet connected NAV will be standard with the Signature Edition, but an added option for the regular version. (Mycroft)

It has been said that even the Internet connected nav will use some enhanced caching, so that it may actually be a viable option.

Towman26 | 6 November 2011

I to have no reason for the rear facing seats. We are going to get our reservation this week. As for the phone I think the bluetooth would be a much better option like we have in our Mecedes S550, once the phone rings you just talk to the car & all is good! Although I think the MB seats are more compfortable, since I havent seen the S yet but all the pictures look good. They need to bring one down to the Florida store so we can actually see it. Hint Hint.

michiganmodels | 6 November 2011

@Towman26 - Please share your reservation number upon receipt. We're keeping a tally on the "Model S Tally" thread.

Mycroft | 6 November 2011

"As for the phone I think the bluetooth would be a much better option like we have in our Mecedes S550, once the phone rings you just talk to the car & all is good!"

Exactly the way the Model S will work.

jkirkebo | 9 November 2011

The Leaf works the same way. Also it is very easy to stream audio from the phone to the car stereo, the skip buttons on the steering wheel even works with Spotify on the phone.

sarge7359 | 9 November 2011

Most bluetooth integration is stereo. I'm a bit miffed my current car only does phone integration, but I've found other ways.

I am looking forward to the full integration with Model S tho!

ChristianG | 10 November 2011

internet connection via a phone might be a cool thing in big countries when you live in the middle of it. Here most mobile plans are ok priced when used in the country. As soon you go to another country it's unpayable... like 5$ per MB and things like that.