Feature request: analog speedometer

Feature request: analog speedometer

I find analog (needle) speedometers much easier to read than a digital display (especially when accelerating/decelerating quickly), and I imagine it wouldn't be difficult to add one as an option in a software upgrade. Do most people prefer digital?

markr7 | 21 octobre 2017

No to analog, Yes to Digital!!!

ReD eXiLe ms us | 21 octobre 2017


I don't want your...
I don't need your...
All I got is a photograph...
It's not enough!"

carlk | 21 octobre 2017

Ford fist (?) put digital speedometer in 88 Taurus and the debate has never stopped for the last thirty years. The way things go you can tell people do prefer digital. Even Porsche has digital speed display for many years now. Porsche being Porsche it still has to keep the analog gauge but the scale is becoming so tight it's worse than useless.

carlk | 21 octobre 2017

Yes pre-AP Tesla do have both digital and analog speed display. Here again no one reads the analog it's just there for show.

stevegs | 21 octobre 2017

I think the analog speedometer is in that option package that someone mentioned containing the 8-track player and CB radio....

noleaf4me | 21 octobre 2017

I'm sure there are plenty of aps out there that can display an analog speedometer using GPS. Not sure how feasible that will be for you though - as I assume you may still have a Motorola flip phone.

RichardKJ | 21 octobre 2017

One reason no one reads the analog speed on pre AP cars is that the numbers are illegible. They're dark grey on a darker grey background. When I first got my car (software 5.9) the numbers were very easy to see.

bj | 21 octobre 2017

Yeah, analog speedo, but with Roman numerals on it. Toss in a sundial on the dash.

sbeggs | 21 octobre 2017

Yes, that would be in the Retro Package...

Garyeop | 21 octobre 2017

Warning, my thoughts are a repeat so feel free to skip this.

I love looking at my samsung gear s3 and just flipping the watch face. The data is the same. The place on my wrist is the same. But the experience is completely different with each one. We should have Tesla display skins. One for the color blind. One for the deaf. One for the lifetime Marine. One for Elon's gf with his face and floating hearts. The speed, air movement, etc. are data communication. The look should be open to design.

Tesla2018 | 21 octobre 2017

I had a Ford Probe with a digital dash and it took me a while to get used to it. Then I went back to a car with a dial guage and had no problem. Hoeever I bougjt a second car and often get confused since one car has tick marks at 10 mph intervals and the other is at 20. So in the one car that I dont drive daily, if the needle is between marks at 40 and 60 I get confused and think I am doing 45. And whats worse is the tach on the one car is a dial that has differing scales. 0 3000 taking up only about the same area as from the 6 oclock to 8 o'clock position on a watch and from 3000 to 10000 rpm takes ftom the 8 o'clock to the 5o'clock postion.
I like digital more since it gives a more precise reading.

Tâm | 21 octobre 2017

I have had both analog and digital speedometer cars and I prefer digital one.

It's nice that Tesla included an analog one in 2012 but it was a nice work of art for me to admire but not for my practical use.

KP in NPT | 21 octobre 2017

A needle hovering between tiny lines is easier to read than a big number clearly displaying your exact speed? This has to be a joke.

Syruspicarus2016 | 21 octobre 2017

Just place a quality and simple HUD (or that 3D, hologram based system that Tesla told the RED poster about).
A test drive review posted at has criticized that need to take attention from the road to look at the center screen.

johnmann | 22 octobre 2017

I’m holding out hope for a binary speed indicator.

greg | 22 octobre 2017

I kind of prefer analogue to digital, [or would like both], as they do/show different sorts of things.

My current car is digital only speedo, but I find it (a) reads a little too high relative to the real speed as most do and (b) hopeless at showing your rate of speed change/trends as its an instant reading of your speed. Versus how fast the needle is rising or falling on an analogue one helps gauge your rate of change, which is important when coming into a lower speed area to know if you will be under the limit prior to crossing the speed change point..

And thats why they serve two different purposes.

And hence why I'd prefer both, so I can pick the use case from whatever speedo that I want to use at any given time.

Having only an analogue speedo dial on our 2 cars cost me a speeding ticket and some points on my license, a few years back.

See a while back we had two Honda Integras, both had analogue speedos.

[we don't now as the one I had drove got rear ended and written off as too damaged to repair not too long after the events of this story occurred].

The Honda I usually drove had a max speedo speed of about 180 km per hour.
[not that that particular car could EVER hope to get to that speed - safely or otherwise].

Like all things with cars they oversell the "it can go fast" message by marking the speedos top speed much higher than the car can actually get to.

The other [a newer, little more sporty one] had a top speed on the the speedo of about 240 km per hour, marked out on the same "diameter" speedo as my car. [again not that that car could ever hope to get to that top speed either].

I used to drive my car almost always, and so I used to set my driving speed pretty accurately by using the angle the speedo needle was around the dial [i.e. what "o'Clock" it was] , so when it was at a particular angle I knew I was at the correct speed, even if the actual speed value the needle pointed at was a little hard to read.

So far so good.

Then one day I had to take the other Honda to have its regular service, as the service place was near my work so I got the job of taking it in anytime a car needed a service,
I was running a little late, and this car had a bigger 2 litre engine in it than my usual one, so it accelerated faster. And this is the one with the higher km per hour number on the speedo.

So I left home and drove the car towards the car dealer a few miles away.

And I unconsciously did the usual trick and accelerated it to then drove it at the "right speed" - right where the needle was "at the right angle". as it as for the other car.

I had no cars in front of me, so no need to match speed to them, so I just drove on as I normally would.

Next minute a cop drives past the other way, throws on his siren, pulls a u turn and stops me.

He said I was 10 km per hour over the limit. He asked me at the time, if there was a reason why I was speeding.
I couldn't explain why I was speeding, and yet it seemed very odd to me that I was, as I was sure in my own mind I wasn't speeding.

Anyway, that nagged at me all day, and after I got the car back from the service and drove it home I then compared the two speedo dials in my usual car and the one I was driving that day when I got stopped.

And you know what - where my normal cars "legal speed limit" speedo needle would sit on the car, That was EXACTLY in the same angle/position on the "faster" car - when it was running 10 or so km per hour over the limit.
So thats why I felt I wasn't speeding. I had used the angle of the needle and got caught out.

Cops usually give a tolerance on speeding, but this one obviously needed to make his quota for the day, and thought he'd make a good start with me.

And while I could have written a letter asking for the fine to be dropped due to this error.
It probably wouldn't have made any difference. As after all you're supposed to know exactly what speed you're going in whatever car you're driving.

So, there you go, thats a pitfall of just having one kind of speedo readout on a car dashboard.

And yes, while a digital speedo would have supposedly made that error clearer. Its perhaps not as clear as you might at first think, as a digital readout of the legal limit of "50" km per hour [30 mph] and "60" km per hour [where he ticketed me at], could at first glance appear quite similar, given how alike a digital 5 and a digital 6 apear.
This easily allowing a digital only speedo to catch you out too.

So thats why I prefer to have both kinds. As they permit a positive reinforcement of each others data in a subtle but effective way.

noleaf4me | 22 octobre 2017

Or you could just use autopilot and forget about everything ;-)

ReD eXiLe ms us | 22 octobre 2017

The cops I know say you shouldn't worry about the 'marginal' speeding tickets you get. Instead, remember all the times you were speeding and were not caught.

I did like that in my Honda its nominal operation was when all needles were pointed straight up -- tachometer, speedometer, and fuel gauge.

todd | 22 octobre 2017

Thanks to the majority who gave reasonable answers to an reasonable question. For the rest who thought ridicule was in order, note that the Mercedes C-Class, Audi 4 series, and BMW 3 series all have analog displays that you can change to digital if you prefer. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 22 octobre 2017

todd: Keep in mind that any replies to your post keep the subject on the front page long enough for the discussion to be read and responded to as you prefer. You can simply choose to [IGNORE] any replies you feel may introduce ridicule to the subject matter. DEF LEPPARD had just come on the radio in my car when I replied at first. I love those guys.

johnmann | 22 octobre 2017

I have a liking for all things analog - watches, music, gauges - but do see the value of digital for some applications. Analog gauges give you an instant sense of whether something is what it should be. For instance if a temperature gauge says 190 do you know immediately if that’s okay? Maybe, maybe not. But if the temperature gauge is well into the red or pegged all the way to the right there is no doubt that something is wrong. You could argue that a digital speedometer is more accurate than an analog one that only has ticks every five or ten miles, but speedometers are only accurate to a couple miles per hour (or km/h as the case may be) so it’s a false sense of accuracy.

Yodrak. | 22 octobre 2017

"Do most people prefer digital?"

I don't really care. The speedometer in my wife's car is analog. To be sure I was answering correctly I had to run out to the garage, turn on my own car and look - it's digital.

I don't really care to know my rate or acceleration or deceleration, either. I find it's most often dictated by traffic conditions anyway.

edhchoe | 22 octobre 2017

Digital is easy to get used to.
Let's keep the cost down and keep it minimal.

Dac | 22 octobre 2017

Almost all my cars to date had analog speedometers. While I don’t mind them. For some reason when I see an analog speedo it immediately makes me feel like the car is resisting change. to put it more bluntly. To me it makes me feel like it’s an outdated car. Can anyone give me a “practical” reason for analog vs digital besides.. it looks “good”. I think people are just use to analog and don’t like change. That’s just my opinion. Am I in the minority here?

Yodrak. | 22 octobre 2017

I agree with you, I don't know if we are in the minority.

"I think people are just use to analog and don’t like change. That’s just my opinion. Am I in the minority here?"

With so many people worried about looking away from the road ahead to see what speed they're going, digital is certainly quicker to read whether the display is behind the steering wheel or next to it.

bj | 22 octobre 2017

@sbeggs - "Retro Package". Now there's an idea:

- Front hand crank to start the car
- Carriage style wheels, with solid rubber tyres
- Leaf spring suspension
- Soil bag

The possibilities are endless!

Rutrow | 22 octobre 2017

todd must be a pilot who knows the value of a VSI (vertical speed indicator). It gives your rate of climb or sink at a glance. Although less accurate in hilly country, you're energy graph will give you an indication of acceleration vs deceleration, quite similar to a VSI.

topher | 22 octobre 2017

"Let's keep the cost down and keep it minimal"

Both are just pixels on a screen. cost doesn't enter into it.

Thank you kindly.

vp09 | 22 octobre 2017

I bought an S90D in May of last year and another one in June. The first one had the analog speedometer for a few days then it switched to digital. I llked the analog more, and I wish I could push the right scroll wheel and select it.

dsvick | 23 octobre 2017

"analog speedometer for a few days then it switched to digital"

On a model S the first one wasn't actually analog either, it was just a digital representation of an analog dial.

andy.connor.e | 23 octobre 2017

I find it easier to look at a needle, than to read a number. Is this really still being talked about?

mos6507 | 23 octobre 2017

Analog gives you more of a sense of movement as the dial rotates clockwise and counterclockwise. I agree if it's implemented on a screen that it's not an either-or thing, just a UI, like an analog vs. digital clock in Windows.

JayInJapan | 23 octobre 2017

I used to think that analog dials were the cat’s pajamas.

Sandy’s 3 | 23 octobre 2017

There’s a reason that the engine instrument displays in modern jet cockpits use a combination of analog and digital displays. It’s much easier to glance at a bank of instruments and monitor needle relative positions than it is read and process the digital readouts.

https: //

Yodrak. | 23 octobre 2017

If analog is easier to read and process then why is there a mix of analog and digital displays? Why not all analog?

"It’s much easier to glance at a bank of instruments and monitor needle relative positions than it is read and process the digital readouts."

topher | 23 octobre 2017

"If analog is easier to read and process then why is there a mix of analog and digital displays? Why not all analog?"

Because, presumably, some information is not best comprehended by relative needle position. There isn't one form of information display that works for all information. For more, consult Tufte.

Thank you kindly.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 23 octobre 2017

Ah, the old Lotus 1-2-3 argument rears its ugly head. Pie charts, bar graphs, or line charts? Whichever keeps the Boss happy.

carlk | 23 octobre 2017

"I find it easier to look at a needle, than to read a number."

I find it easier to omit the first step and just read a number.

Frank99 | 23 octobre 2017

I agree with FLHX13 - some displays are better with an analog readout, where a glance shows the low to high range and where the "expected" value is mid-range.
In his cockpit example, I can imagine displays of hydraulic pressure, flap position, engine power - a digital display would require the pilot to read each display, remember what the acceptable range of each measurement was, and evaluate the reading against the range. For 50 readouts, that's a prohibitive load on the pilot. 50 analog readings with needles all pointed straight up could be scanned in a second or two, looking only for a needle out of range. The pilot then only needs to respond to the abnormal reading. Of course, the immediate limitation of showing the pilot 50 readouts is what happens when a dozen of them start showing bad readings.
Speed, to me, doesn't fall into that "analog" world. There's no "expected value" that can be located with the needle pointing straight up - speed limits are highly variable. I also don't normally need to see the rate of change of my speed - if it's high, I probably shouldn't be watching the speedo anyway. For me, a digital speedo is the right answer, because at a glance I can acquire a number that I can compare with the number on the sign I'm passing. My fuel gauge, however, is definitely an analog reading - I don't care how many gallons are in the tank (half-full differs by 5 gallons across the three cars I might drive), but in all of them a needle showing half full tells me that as long as I'm driving less than 100 miles I'm good to go.

Yodrak. | 23 octobre 2017

Thanks for this. When I responded to FLHX13's post I hadn't thought of the range situation, but I agree with your reasoning that a speedometer does not fit such a situation.

"some displays are better with an analog readout, where a glance shows the low to high range and where the "expected" value is mid-range.

"Speed, to me, doesn't fall into that "analog" world. There's no "expected value" that can be located with the needle pointing straight up - speed limits are highly variable."

mre | 28 septembre 2019

It's all just software. Give the user the option to select the display they like. Tesla could do a lot of interesting things with different "skins". I have multiple clock faces on my two Echo Spots to choose from and enjoy the capability to easily switch them. I use the digital in the bedroom but like the analog with sweep second hand by my chair in the den. Maybe a round speedometer with odometer would be interesting or perhaps an old Ford style with a needle that swings across the screen would be fun.

It is amusing to read all the arguments, insults, and sarcasm but really all that is irrelevant. The beauty of a software based machine is the ability to change it easily and for the end user to customize it to suit their tastes.

Baba Yaga | 27 janvier 2020

All of the arguments on this forum are correct, because different people process visual information differently.

Numeric thinkers who can remember numbers easily—and who can recognize and make meaning out of numerals instantly—might prefer a digital speedometer. But as a visual artist, spatial relationships communicate quantity much more easily and quickly to me. Many visual artist-types have what’s called dyscalculia—similar to dyslexia, but with numerals. Dycalculics have a different way of processing information, and the same way of thinking that gives us the ability to sculpt a portrait in three dimensions or draw a comic book character in action poses challenges us when processing abstract symbols. Many of us read a glyph—a letter or a numeral—as a SHAPE before we read it as a SIGN. Because numerals are signs for something abstract that cannot easily be imagined as a concrete image, concrete thinkers such as myself cannot quickly get meaning from a numeral.

However, for me, interpreting the angle of a needle on a dial—a graphic representation of quantity—is instantaneous.

For me, driving with a number to read next to me is actually less safe—both for myself, and for the drivers around me. I can get a more rapid sense of just how fast I’m driving by noticing the relative speed of the sign posts passing me compared to the trees and mountains in the background, if that gives you any idea what it’s like to translate a numeral into a meaningful expression of quantity for a dyscalculic! That numeral there, such as “76,” requires a translation in my head: first into auditory information—hearing it in my imagination—and then into a visual representation, such as a bar or a dial—which takes a split second to imagine, and distracts me from seeing the road as I’m imagining it.

So it really depends on the type of thinker the driver is, and how the driver processes visual information, as to which speedometer is “better.” I am ardently hoping that Tesla will include an option for an analogue speedometer for us concrete thinkers. With the choice of having an analogue dial, so that I can quickly understand how fast I’m driving a Model 3, I’m more likely to purchase and safely drive the car. Thank you!

hokiegir1 | 28 janvier 2020

@Baby Yaga - I don't disagree with what you've said, but does the fact that an image of the speed limit sign is also in the same field of view -- so you would have 2 numbers that are supposed to match (speed to posted limit) close to each other visually -- make a difference in your opinion?

derotam | 28 janvier 2020

...visualizing an analog dial picture as a speed limit sign vs the digital number that all speed limit signs are now... that's just wrong...SMH

syclone | 28 janvier 2020

I think it should be included with a rumble seat option.

vmulla | 28 janvier 2020

Just recall the reason stated for not having a binnacle display - you hardly ever need to look at the speedometer when the car is doing most of the driving, there is no need for it. With that in mind, does it really matter if it is analog or digital?

bjrosen | 28 janvier 2020

An analog readout would use up too much of the screen real estate, in order to read an analog display it has to be fairly large. Digital speedometers are just a couple of digits, the font size that Tesla is using is easy to read and it doesn't waste a lot of space.

andy.connor.e | 28 janvier 2020

Buttons and dials are more expensive to implement than being able to put all that information on a single screen.

Bighorn | 28 janvier 2020

The early Model S has essentially an analog speedo and it’s the only component I consistently ignore or am even unaware of. All the interest lay in the power meter and the digital speed figure.

calvin940 | 28 janvier 2020

No. Let's not move backwards, Please. Thanks.