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.

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."

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


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

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.

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.

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.

@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.

@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 ;-).

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...

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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


well is there 4g in future?


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

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

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


Not necessarily. TM apparently has a transitional contract with AT&T while it negotiates a long term contract with somebody. It makes sense that the transitional contract would be 3G even if the eventual contract will be 4G.

Thanks DR, I didn't consider the contact aspect of why it wouldn't be enabled. AT&T sucks, oh sorry, was thinking out loud... :D


But it would have to be a hardware update to do 4G LTE (Unless there is a dormant LTE chipset in the car)

A software upgrade may be able to allow access to HSPA+, AT&T's slower 4G network.

I can't find it right now (I am sure Volker will chime in), but it has been mentioned that the LTE hardware is already in the car.

Tesla is just trying to negotiate a better rate for you (or a cut of the profit for themselves) :)

DC store sales rep says there is no 4g hardware currently onboard. Perhaps there could be a card swap to do the upgrade, but if that's the Tesla strategy, I question the business model. We need them to be profitable and sustainable. Software upgrades by air are one thing, but every time they have to physically touch the car, they lose a lot of margin.

I hope they give up completely on relying on hard wired communication. As we all have cell phones, why not use and rely upon the owner's available bandwidth to maintain the car? This may apply to a minority of Tesla owners, but both of our homes are in locations with zero AT&T coverage. We do have weak Verizon connection and I am able to use an Internet-connected Verizon range extender to have full bars in the house and garage. Tesla should be able to implement a protocol giving priority to wifi first, Bluetooth cellular second, and onboard 3G (or 4g if they upgrade the hardware) third. Apple and Android phones and tablets do this already, giving priority to the quickest and cheapest available Internet access, so this should not be difficult.

As we all have cell phones, why not use and rely upon the owner's available bandwidth to maintain the car? (Pungoteague_Dave)

How would you remote control your car from your phone while you are away (check state of charge, set climate controls etc.), if your phone is required in the car for the car to be online?

Please explain why we can not rely on our wifi network at home for software updates? Will the navigation system work off the inboard software and the GPS? Somehow I do not feel a need to be monitored wherever I drive. I must be missing something. It is bad enough that Apple knows everywhere I go with my iPhone.

I know this might be off-topic but I am about to receive my MS and I would like to know if the browser supports GPS services. I am developing a start-up web page that will always display my distance to home. For this test it should show the driving distance to my zip 33178 (Miami FL). This code does not store your location with my server in any way. It is 100% JavaScript based and you are free to see the code. It is based on Google maps API. If you test, please email me at to let me know the results.

P3587 60KW :)

Happy New Year!

Been trying to raise this issue for 2 1/2 years. And it still seems as thought users are struggling with 3G.

How silly to launch a new luxury car in 2012 with 3G.

Please explain why we can not rely on our wifi network at home for software updates? (mcptwo)

AFAIK this will in fact be possible. Wifi hardware is there, it's just not enabled yet.

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