updated 06:30 pm EDT, Wed March 16, 2011
Tesla Model S to get third-party app support
Tesla chief Elon Musk at the Cleantech Forum on Wednesday said the Tesla Model S would get third-party app support. He hoped developers would write car-specific apps for the 17-inch, Tegra-powered touchscreen system in the electric sedan. Text-to-speech was cited as a major example at the San Francisco meet as it would help cut down on driver distraction from reading text during a drive.
The extra-large, touchscreen stack was always planned from the start to bring features that are rare or difficult when depending on physical buttons, such as a very large GPS map or a truly dynamic media player. Tesla had never confirmed for certain that it would support outside apps until now.
App support has usually only come indirectly to cars through smartphone bridges such as Ford Sync AppLink. The Model S could be the first car to have a full-fledged, dedicated app platform for its infotainment system and could add new features as it went along without having to turn to the car maker or the dealer to add them in. Model S sedans should start deliveries in spring 2012 and will start at about $49,000 before any electric car tax breaks.