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Carplay in my Tesla

Carplay on Tesla

Tesla doesn't currently offer CarPlay. We'll talk about what it is, what it might provide and issues that may slow or prevent implementation. Tesla has never stated if CarPlay will be available in the future and none of this article is based on any internal knowledge of Tesla’s plans.

Background

CarPlay was launched in March 2014 and is available on one car in late 2014 and a few more in 2015. CarPlay works through a proprietary Lightning connector. In the future, CarPlay may work over WiFi as well.  Only iPhone 5 variants and later are supported with CarPlay.

Implementations are mostly done by a small number of third-party OEMs that sell the infotainment systems to major vehicle manufactures.

Possible Issues to Implementation

  1. Legal – there could be risks to the automaker if an app does something bad. Examples include flashing a distracting red/black screen, showing porn, or advertisements. This could be distracting enough to cause a crash. We don’t think this is a huge issue and may be dealt with a warning that using apps is the responsibility of the owner and Tesla does not validate applications.
  2. Licensing – Apple requires manufacturers to pay for and license CarPlay technology. Various patent licenses may also be required, but likely would be part of Apple’s license.
  3. Duplication – many of the features are duplicate of Tesla’s existing features. It is unclear if these can be removed or must be included. Some are clearly better than Tesla, while some are on par. If duplicates are included, it offers a confusing set of different interfaces and makes documentation that more difficult. Still, having more choices is often better – users can choose what they prefer.
  4. Software – It’s unclear how much work is required to implement CarPlay as the interfaces are not public. Our guess is it’s not trivial, but not huge either. Perhaps 2-4 man-years of software development. Some continuing engineering is also required to support changes Apple will produce in the future.

Alternatives

Currently, the iPhone can be controlled by Tesla’s vehicles over Bluetooth for phone calls, contacts, calendar, and music. Siri can also be used today with the iPhone’s own microphone.

Apple’s MirrorLink replicates the phone on the infotainment screen providing full access to the phone’s entire set of applications (not a limited CarPlay set). Tesla has stated some mirroring capability may be coming to the software.  Some Apple owners seem to feel this is an inadequate solution and would prefer to be limited to CarPlay applications. Until we see Tesla’s implementation, it is unclear if this will be better or worse than CarPlay.

Some users also add an iPhone dash mount, so they have full iPhone access today. While functional, it is not as nice as an integrated solution and uses the main Tesla screen.

You can find our Carplay products by clicking HERE