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GPS Feature

I understand the turn-by-turn GPS navigation is only available in the 'tech package'. I do not need the upgraded headlamps or the automatic door, so $3,750 is a lot to turn on the GPS functionality. Can I use GPS or any other solution on the touchscreen? Can I pay to just get this GPS feature turned on?

Yes - the will soon come out with a connectivity package that will allow you to surf the web, including google maps. You will have a pointer where you are located and it will move as you do. They have not announced the pricing yet for this package. In addition, after the wifi feature is turned on, you will be able to tether from your phone so you may not even need the connectivity package.


I don't think you are correct here. Without the tech package, you Nav app will show a map and a location pointer, but will not provide a route or turn-by-turn directions. You can also use the browser app and go to Google maps. That will allow you to compute a route with turn-by-turn directions, but it will not have a location pointer. I think you need the tech package to get both the pointer and the route on the same screen.

I have the tech package, so I am repeating what I believe I heard on these forums. If others know for sure, please chime in.

The tech package also allows you to use navigation in areas where you don't have a data signal.

@Douglas R

I think @shcoendp was answering the first question, not the second.


Well, he said the user could "surf the web, including google maps. You will have a pointer where you are located and it will move as you do." I'm pointing out that when you surf the web on google maps using a browser, you do NOT have a location pointer. The GPS is in the car, but it is not exposed to the browser.

As the owner of a non-Tech package Model S, I can confirm that what DouglasR has said in his posts is correct.

Douglas R - You are correct. As I re-read my post, I bled the two sentences together without enough explanation. I should have said that you can get the pointer on the Maps app that comes with the car if you have a 3G connection or it is tethered to your car, but the app will not give you directions or turn by turn. Also, it apparently measures distance as the crow flies, not by roads. In addition, you can surf the web and go to various map websites that will give you directions but it will not track with a pointer.

As a side note, Tesla's ownership team confirmed that the traffic feature is dependent on a 3G connection. Therefore, even if you have Navigation, if you don't also have an internet connection, the traffic won't show up during your turn by turn directions, etc.

Thanks for the feedback.

Here is more from Walter at Tesla:
"the tech package is not available in individual parts. The touchscreen does have Google maps included on it without the tech package, but it does not have a routing function. Google maps is also dependent on your 3G connectivity. Model S does already have GPS and will display your current location on Google maps without the Tech package.

What the Tech package really adds in terms of GPS is turn-by-turn directions that are hard drive based allowing it to operate without the internet. These maps will include 7 years of free updates – many other automotive companies charge several hundred dollars every year to update maps. Combined with the online Google maps it is a nice navigation system."

I think the functionality of using could be enabled with tethering. And I think Tesla c/should break out this feature from upgrading headlights and the rear door lift.

At the end of the day, $3750 is too much for me. Looks like I will need to velcro my iPhone to the dash :-)

Ok, I guess I'm a little confused. Considering @DouglasR post and the feedback from Walter at Tesla, it sounds like there is a maps app that comes with the car (Tech Package or Non-Tech Package) that will display a location pointer based on the included GPS. This app is different than Google Maps on the browser.
Bottom line: On a non-Tech Package Model S, you can display a map on the touchscreen showing a location pointer that moves as the car moves. Just TBT is not included.

Is this correct?


Yes. I think part of the confusion is that the "Nav" app that comes with the car (tech package or not) displays a Google map when connected to the internet. It's just not the same Google map as the one you get when using the "Browser" app, which also comes with the car and works when connected to the internet.

The browser Google map is just like the one on your computer's browser. It lacks a GPS connection, so it has no location pointer. However, it will do routing, just as will do routing. Without an internet connection, it displays nothing.

The Nav app will not do routing unless you have the tech package. That is, it lacks turn-by-turn capability, and it also will not draw a line from your location to your destination (I believe -- steve?). On the other hand, even if you lack an internet connection, the Nav app will show a location pointer on your touch screen. However, it will just be a location pointer in the middle of a big, blank, gray field -- i.e., no maps. The tech package will provide the maps, even without an internet connection. However, I believe that part of this system is not implemented yet in that maps without an internet connection are provided on the instrument panel display but not on the touch screen. When the built-in maps are fully implemented, I hope and believe that they will display on the touch screen as well.

Have I clarified this, or just made it more confusing?

@DouglasR | JANUARY 17, 2013: When the built-in maps are fully implemented, I hope and believe that they will display on the touch screen as well.

I think we all hope that this will be the case. Maybe we should add this to the Software Enhancement list to the Punch List? Also providing Track-Up (vs North-Up) on the Google map would also be helpful as an interim solution.

DouglasR is correct. The Google maps app in the non-Tech package will display the location of a destination, which can be entered via the on-screen keyboard or voice command, but will not provide routing guidance or draw a line from your current location.

I understaning that, without the Tech Packagte, I can get the turn-by-turn feature from the Google app on my iPhone and it will play via bluetooth through the speakers in the car. Right?

@edavis008 - Virtually any audio that plays through my iPhone's speakers will play through the car's speakers when the phone is connected via Bluetooth. I have the tech package and premium sound, but I believe this will work even without these options.

@Alex K - I agree, although I don't know whether this is a punch list or software enhancement list suggestion. There is some reason to believe it will not happen. The seven-year navigation subscription is provided by Navigon, I believe, but I don't think Navigon uses Google maps. The maps on the instrument panel display are different from those on the touch screen. We definitely need clarification on this.

I understand now. I've been on this forum for over a year and only now understand that there is a "Nav" app showing a Google map without the Tech Package. If you haven't guessed already, I didn't order the Tech Package. So far, so good.

If you don't have the tech package, the app is called "Maps"

Thanks for the clarification.

@ChasF - I've been driving a non-Tech package MS for a month now. No regrets. It's still an awesome machine!

The reason you can't get turn by turn from Google is because the browser built into the Tesla has intentionally neutered all web-based GPS apps.

You can find a geolocation test here:

Without access to the GPS, no web based apps can give you services which require knowledge of where you are (like turn by turn).

I do not know why Tesla disabled this - the browser in the tesla supports it by default. They intentionally turned it off. Since I have the tech package, I suspect this is turned off in all Model S's.

I sort of suspect that this will change, especially when the Tesla AppStore is in full swing. There are too many cool location-based apps (especially for cars) to not have this access would be shocking. A side benefit could be alternative TBT navigation solutions, even without the Tech Package. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

I agree that this needs to be on the essential feature list.

For folks like me that live in rural areas with no 3G service at all, having a map display based on the Garmin/Navigon map data is essential. Same for anyone else traveling outside an urban area.

BTW, I was told by Tesla that when there is no 3G service, you can still get turn-by-turn directions on the steering console, but no map on the 17" display. They are looking at using the turn-by-turn map data to drive the 17", but this is not yet committed.

Model S p85 (April delivery)

Agree.. the maps app is basically useless if it doesn't give directions & should provide "Track-up" (vs North-up). At a minimum, it should allow you to go to a map service via web browser & enable the location/GPS!

What's the process to get this onto the "essential feature list"?

The maps app is just that... a map! If you want directions, that's called nav and it will cost you $3,750.

Tesla really have to do something for navigation without tech ...Or May be it is already done and didn't find it here !
So as I understand, without tech package, the best way to have turn-by-turn is to stuck a 5" TomTom GPS on top of the great 17" touchscreen and explain to everybody Looking in the car that it is the most advance tech car in the world (sorry for the sarcastic remark, I own a Jetta TDI and do have turn-by-turn, keyless entry, start button in my car )

The 60kwh without any option already strech my budget for a loan but it is more than correct as per gas saving with an average of 200km per day for the job...Do I have to say turn-by-turn is a must with my job :-)

@ hanstremblay, if Tesla provided all of the benefits of the tech package then there would be no tech package. The reason you pay for the tech package is to get GPS turn-by-turn navigation as well as the other features. You have to pay for that upgrade on other manufacturer's cars, so I don't understand why you say that Tesla should basically include GPS turn by turn navigation as standard?

Navigation was a costly upgrade to my Prius and has been in every other vehicle. Why do you think Tesla should just "throw it in" for free?

If you want turn-by-turn, get the tech package and quit your belly-aching.

Turn-by-turn would have been a $2k upgrade on my Honda Accord. I didn't get it because I loathe manufacturer-owned turn-by-turn - you're locked into their poor map system and usually have to pay for upgrades. I much prefer Google Maps, which makes its own maps rather than buying from a service and is constantly updated for free. That's why I was was thrilled to hear that the Model S did the sensible thing and provided turn-by-turn from Google. I would have gotten the tech package for that feature alone.

Precision needed here on my post: I dont ask to get the navigation free but as an option by itself for let's say $500-$1000 + annual fee (about $100) for live update. And you're right I also paid an extra for this on my VW.
I work also as a Realtor and turn-by-turn is a no brainer with a client on the passenger seat. I read some of your other post and agree with you than this car can be a part of marketing in our business...What a wonderful car !

No tesla bashing here, Just talking about the option...I am a fan of Tesla since the first hour. Model S is an awsome car and I can't wait longer to get one ! And yes probably with Tech ;-)

I guess my underlying point is that no car I know of comes with turn-by-turn nav as a standard offering, and just about every one comes with it as an option. There's nothing peculiar about Tesla here.

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