Elon confirms 4G in all cars

Elon confirms 4G in all cars

Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere, but at 48:40 into the 2012 Shareholder Meeting Elon says "...bit of course all cars come with 4G connectivity"

Hopefully that puts the "is it 3G or 4G" debate to bed.

bredell | 9 juni 2012

I wish they didn't include it. Instead, they should provide plenty of USB connectors and software drivers. That way each owner could buy whatever USB dongle is appropriate in his/her area. It would also make the 3G/4G easily upgradeable. During the lifetime of the car the mobile data standards will probably change a number of times.

There should be a small compartment somewhere in the car with lots of USB 3.0 connectors where we can plug in our wireless mobile dongles, WiFi dongles, hard disk drives, digital TV receivers and whatever we want. Running them would be a job for the main computer and software plugins.

BYT | 9 juni 2012

Elon made it very clear that he wants to be able to maintain software updates on the card remotely and so he's not going to leave it up to chance that you don't attach a dongle to your car in order to keep it updated.

BYT | 9 juni 2012


Sudre_ | 9 juni 2012

If he wants to remotely monitor my car then who is going to pay for that 4G. Not me. The car can call home when it logs into my home wireless or work wireless (which does connect in the parking garage). I typically drive a car 15 to 20 minutes a day at most. It's not worth a $30 data package just so Tesla can check on my battery usage inside that 20 minute driving window.

So my actual take is all cars come with the capability of 4g if you purchase that service.
Have to ask one of the SIG owners who recently sign contracts if they are required to purchase a 4G data plan for the car or does it just come with it or is it optional.

Here is a thought. My company gets a discount because of the large number of phones they have service plans on and they offer those deals to the spouses and families of the employees. (One large company family plan if you will) I wonder if that is how Tesla is setting this up and after X numbers of years you are on your own.

Volker.Berlin | 9 juni 2012

Have you ever considered that Tesla might be using something like Amazon's "Whispernet"? That would be a way to have the car phone home without burdening additional cost on the owners.

Ohms.Law | 9 juni 2012

All I've read here is from people complaining that this beautiful car might only have 3G. Now 4G is announced and no one seems happy.

Well, I am.

Ohms.Law | 9 juni 2012

Oh, and thanks nickjhowe for finding it. I listened to the annual meeting but missed it.

jerry3 | 9 juni 2012


Hang them with a new rope and you'll still hear them complaining :-)

stevenmaifert | 9 juni 2012

A little off topic - Has there been any discussion about I.T. security for the Model S? Whether we have 3G or 4G, the last thing we need is some kid in Shanghai "updating" the software for the drive inverter while we are trying to pass a semi on a crowded 2 lane highway :)

jerry3 | 9 juni 2012

My expectation would be that the software couldn't be updated unless the Tesla was plugged in. Updates would be done over WiFi only (and probably fixed to a MAC address or at least a particular ip-address) not 4G (that could use all of your data plan in one update). The 4G connectivity should be just to get metrics.

This would be similar to upgrading your iPhone. You can't make calls during the upgrade.

dborn | 9 juni 2012

I am happy with the current set up. However, the hard drive, on board memory, connectivity area, really should all be easily accessible so that they can be easily upgradable by the end user as a plug in following opening a compartment door. High capacity flash drives are going to come down in price and this is one way to "future proof" a vehicle one is planning to keep long term. For myself, it will be my last vehicle purchase and I hope will last me into my 90's and beyond!!!

ddruz | 9 juni 2012

+1 Ohms.Law

Teoatawki | 9 juni 2012

+1 Ohms.Law

cybercop | 10 juni 2012

Given my moniker, you might imagine that I specifically asked about the computer security, and you would be correct. The Tesla rep (DC) was of course told to tell you it is safe and I would expect it has been addressed in some fashion, but it is still not clear exactly how they are securing various systems (which may be for the best at this stage).

nickjhowe | 10 juni 2012

@Ohms.Law You are welcome.

jkirkebo | 11 juni 2012

I do not want updates on WiFi alone. I have no wifi-coverage anywhere I normally park and don't want the hassle of setting up an access point specifically for the car. So updates on 3G too please. My plan has a 6GB per month limit and I never use more than half of it. I might actually get rid of my ADSL alltogether and only use 3G at home.

BYT | 11 juni 2012

You get 6GB per month? Man, I want your plan! :D Sadly, I don't think anyone offers that in my area, unless I go with Sprint which is true unlimited, problem is their signals around here are very unlimited! :(

dahtye | 11 juni 2012

4G was confirmed to me by a Tesla Information Rep in Menlo Park about a week and a half ago (June 1, I believe). She also mentioned that we could use our smart phone data plan "hot spot" for linking the car to the web while driving (i.e. when not in a local wi-fi hot spot, we could use our phones' wi-fi hot spot and 3G/4G capability). This would, of course, require the "hot spot" data plan that most carriers charge separately. The upside here is the incremental monthly cost of this hot spot is less than purchasing a "4G hot spot dongle". The downside is that the car won't be able to connect to the web while on the road unless a phone is equiped with "hot spot" (i.e. if the wife drives the Tesla and she doesn't have hot spot capability in her phone).

Personally, I'm thinking about purchaing a hot spot device and not using my phone as a hot spot. I would normally keep it with my S, but when I'm not using it and driving one of my other 2 cars, I would move it whichever car I'm driving so my family can have internet connectivity in all our cars (just one at a time).

My logic is that if I have to pay $50 to $80 per month for additional 4G capability, I don't want it to be "stuck" on the Model S - I want to use it in any car that I'm in. Also, expanding my cell phone service to hot spot requires that I be in the car - if I'm traveling on business, my family will be without, so it's more flexible to have a stand alone hot spot in my case.

murraypetera | 11 juni 2012

If the car needs a data plan to function normally as every other car with a GPS does without data, this would be a serious let down.

I do not want to pay for data plan for my car this is just silly. Wifi Hotspot so I can use the display to search for data ok.. but typical gas, hotel, food, attractions, etc. should be in the GPS with no wifi needed. Traffic should also not require data.

If Tesla wants to put 4G in the car so they can provide updates, etc. Ok. But dont charge me for it.

I also do not want them saving data about where or how I drive this is only a liability and provides no benefit for the cost.

Epley | 11 juni 2012

No mention of data plans with the MVPA (purchase agreement). My guess is they are still working on this...

Scwins | 11 juni 2012

I specifically asked the rep in Los Angeles about all this. He told me, at the time, it was likely first that customers would need to opt-in to have their car monitored wirelessly which suggested that there would be some free connectivity to the car for Tesla's use. btw- if you don't opt-in then they cannot warn you about battery issues or low charges (think bricking).
I had a very in depth discussion about the bricking issue and although it still remains a possibility in the S, it is unlikely because of safe guards they have added. Monitoring is one of them, though not new to TM car owners.

The rep also said TM isn't likely to provide owners with free connectivity. No shock there. You will have to purchase some type of plan to get a connection, but there would be a way for TM to monitor (opt-in) the car without you having to bug a plan.

Questions remain though. What about Apps that require connectivity. What about something like google maps? That too right.
I already have Sirius/XM and I have the app with the digital connection and was planning to pipe that through my app to the car, avoiding the need for connectivity, but alas I know that owners will need connectivity for other things in all likelihood.

This is yet another issue that TM just happens to be skating by on without letting its customers know what the options are. With cars arriving, shouldn't all owners be informed?

Perhaps we will find out in order to get your car in 2012, you also have to order a data plan. Probably...just cause they can. Wouldn't surprise me.

BYT | 11 juni 2012

I already have two cell phones (one work and one personal) and I don't mind using the personal chip in my Model S instead of paying for another plan. Hope I can do that? Otherwise my Model S is definitely within Wireless network ranges at both my work and home garages!

EDIT: Above I wrote "here are very unlimited!" but should have written, "here are very limited!"

phb | 11 juni 2012

Meh, I'm going to probably buy into whatever plan they have. The simplicity of having it built into the car would be worth and and I'm likely going to use a ton of data streaming music all the way to Portland and back. Also, my wife's likely going to be driving it and she's not big on having to connect things when she gets into the car.

If it really is 4G then I expect that my wife will also use it to keep up the steady stream of Facebook into her brain on those previously mentioned trips North and back.

Volker.Berlin | 12 juni 2012

What about something like google maps? (Scwins)

Long time ago, Tesla said they would use Google maps, and enhance it with a cache that downloads maps in advance, covering the Model S' range. This would mean that having online (WiFi) connection where you charge would be sufficient to use Google maps. I don't know if this concept is still current in the production model.

Whity Whiteman | 12 juni 2012

sadly, there's no 4G in germany, as I know! (

Volker.Berlin | 12 juni 2012

Whity Whiteman, that's not entirely true. We do have 4G (LTE) in some areas already, and more will soon be covered. The German LTE standard is not compatible with the American standard, but I don't see why Tesla wouldn't equip cars sold in Germany according to the German standard.

EdG | 12 juni 2012

There's an article about Apple in the NY Times ( ) that, among other things, states:

"Just last week" Google "said it would allow Android users to download and store maps on their devices so they are viewable without an Internet connection"

Allowing a large cache on the Model S to take advantage of this feature is all that's needed. Looks like Google is helping Tesla get it done.

BYT | 12 juni 2012

I just hope we end up with something larger then a 300GB hard drive because after music, it's not much! :)

Sudre_ | 12 juni 2012

Google maps already caches map areas. I've been using it for a while..... although I have not tried to create a route without being online. I think the nav part will still require internet connection but you save on data because the huge map is cached. Once created the nav does not need internet unless you change it or the app crashes.

pilotSteve | 12 juni 2012

4G pre-paid for the first year to Signature customers per George's blog today :-)

cybercop | 12 juni 2012

Just saw that myself. Was not sure whether to put it here or Ace up Elon's sleeve. Still no carrier announced.

"At Tesla, we know how important it is to stay connected. That’s why today I am announcing that all U.S. Signature Series owners will receive one year of free wireless connectivity in their Model S. That’s right, Tesla is picking up the tab so you can:

Listen to internet radio from around the world
Create a personalized channel that plays your favorite music
Experience your entertainment in color with high-quality album cover art
Use maps to see where you are and what’s in the neighborhood
Browse the web for the latest news or search for reviews of a local restaurant."

gjunky | 12 juni 2012

Which of course means it is going to be an additional charge after that year and for everyone else. No Whispernet apparently

Teoatawki | 12 juni 2012


That's for nav and entertainment. Still haven't ruled out a "Whispernet" style connection for status and diagnostic information.

Chris DC | 13 juni 2012

I would like to know if I can use remote features like battery status or climate control without paying for a separate data plan... That would be my preference.
I will be getting the tech package so nav is not going to be an issue. Pandora if I want it can be streamed from my phone.

dahtye | 13 juni 2012

Chris, if TM enables some type of peer-to-peer wi-fi connection, then it's plausible that we could monitor (remotely, but within our smart phone's wi-fi distance capabilities) our Model S via wi-fi even without a wi-fi access point or router.

I don't think we can count on wi-fi being available at every charging station.

Volker.Berlin | 13 juni 2012

dahtye, Chris, another possible implementation would be that the app really contacts Tesla's servers, rather than the car itself, and then Tesla forwards the information by way of a "Whispernet" kind of protocol to the car.

I actually expect the app being tied to Tesla's servers and communicating to the car via Tesla (whether that's using "Whispernet" or just plain internet with Wifi/mobile data plan, is another question). There are some advantages for Tesla in this setup, when it comes to software updates and security.

I'm still not sure whether I prefer that setup, or would actually like the app to talk to a webserver in the car directly. The direct connection would take Tesla out of the equation, i.e., it would even work when Tesla's servers are down. Also, some may have an issue with Tesla being able to tap into the traffic between their apps and their cars. On the other hand, the car seems more vulnerable to attacks from hackers if it talks to the app directly. Pick your poison.

nickjhowe | 13 juni 2012

@dahtye - At the launch event at the factory I spoke to the head of the software development team and the iPhone app developer and they both said the app talks to Tesla's servers, and the servers talk to the car.

My guess is that you'll get that for free (i.e., the car sending info to Tesla that you can access because Tesla wants to collect usage/diagnostic data), but if you want the other things George talked about (internet radio, web browser) you'll need to pay for a data plan.

dahtye | 13 juni 2012

@nick, so this means Tesla is already springing for some type of 4G communication to their servers for every car. This would basically be the "cloud" approach. We communicate to their server in the cloud to get all info we need....makes sense. As Volker mentioned, there could be some downsides, but it's probably livable. There are areas of the country that don't have 3G or 4G or any cell reception (the Angeles National Forest just north of Los Angeles, for instance). So, peer to peer would be nice in that area.

What about when we want to just turn on the Model S from inside the home (to cool down or heat up the interior)? Without connection to the server, would we not be able operate that feature?

I'd also (mildly) worry about tracking s/w - i.e TM knowing where we are at every instance. But I'm sure most of us have location based services on our smart phones turned on already, so maybe not too much of an issue unless we're doing something "illegal" with the car (not that I would ;-).

Charged_Up | 14 juni 2012

I would think that if your car is at home then it will be able to access your wireless network, as would your phone or tablet containing the app and the car should allow some basic function - but that's just a guess on my part...

BYT | 14 juni 2012

It should, the way these wireless plans work, some of us would get throttled down to nothing given some of the data restrictions based on geographic location that these telco's place very tight restrictions on.

Brian H | 14 juni 2012

Big push by Apple to get Siri into cars:

Apple said that Siri will be seamlessly integrated into vehicles from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota. With the push of a button, you'll be able to stop fiddling around with your phone or infotainment system, focus on the road and let Siri handle the other work.

Some discussion of limits on Web use while driving:

One concern is in the type of in-vehicle functions Apple and automakers will enable. While voice-activated systems like Siri minimize physical and visual distractions, such as reading displays and punching buttons, they have the potential to create other sorts of distractions, depending upon how they're implemented (e.g. giving you access to an entire Internet full of content).

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expressed opposition to features like in-vehicle Internet browsing and Facebook. Even with a voice-controlled system, such applications can create cognitive distractions every bit as dangerous as physical distractions. In February, the agency released the first phase of voluntary guidelines for automakers concerning in-vehicle technology. The guidelines focus on manual and visual distractions (possibly the inspiration for the "Eyes Free" name), encouraging automakers to avoid things like manual or visual text messaging and Internet browsing features. Voice commands are not addressed in the guidelines but may be covered in a future phase.

BYT | 17 juni 2012

From this video the Tesla Rep. mentions wireless hotspot capability at around 2 minutes in:

Jason S | 18 juni 2012

Training the car to connect to the various WiFi spots it parks near is likely "good enough" for most folks. It is hard to do home networking these days without installing a WiFi router/gateway so I expect you'll just need to train it to attach to home/office networks and it'll be fine. The 4G connection is just a data stream to the internet, essentially, so any internet connectivity on WiFi will substitute.

That solves everything but the remote control to non-home/office. I don't see a way around using the data plan to do that kind of thing.

For web browsing, music streaming while on the road: need something for that, even if phone as hotspot is the way to do it. And music streaming could be done on the phone with a Bluetooth connection to the sound system in the car.

gjunky | 18 juni 2012

If the car doesn't have a 3G/4G connection of its own, hopefully we can tether through a phone via Bluetooth instead of just WiFi. I connect my iPad through my (android) phone this way which is easier to connect and doesn't use nearly the same amount of battery on the phone.

Brian H | 18 juni 2012

Do you and your phone get a charge out of it?


TeslaLABlue | 29 december 2012

well is there 4g in future?

TeslaLABlue | 30 december 2012


cerjor | 30 december 2012

Mine has 3g. Does a 4g upgrade require new hardware or is it a software update?

TeslaLABlue | 30 december 2012

yes all seem to be 3g. anyone out there know if 4g will be avail option?

BYT | 30 december 2012

I would think it's a hardware upgrade, otherwise we would see 4G currently.