What if you could have a 17-inch iPad built into your car? It’s almost a reality for one of the more than 250 folks who own a Tesla Model S, save a few key features.
Unfortunately, those features are probably some of the most important ones that give the iPad its massive appeal. Take the interface — it’s something Apple guards dearly. So Tesla can’t copy exactly how an iPad works, and probably doesn’t want to. Or maybe they do?
George Blankenship, vice president of Tesla sales, recently spoke with AutoGuide and hinted at some of the cool developments buyers and owners might look forward to soon. Easily topping the list, there’s a chance Tesla might open its coding crypt to outside program developers.
“Asking us is there something we will never do? That page will never fit in our dictionary,” he said. “Do I see a day when [outside app development] will happen, yes I do.”
Much like what made the iPhone so successful, Tesla wants to think “10 years into the future,” Blankenship said. While offering an app store is hardly forward thinking when it comes to handhelds, porting that possibility into a car with a massive touch display might be.
“What we want to make sure of before we enable something like that is that we have a complete separation between two things in the car. One is the interface where somebody could do things like that in and the other being the operation of the car itself,” Blankenship said.
With the Model S, Tesla already started offering remote updates. Customers wanted to change steering feel to offer normal, sport and comfort modes. They also wanted a “creep” feature to make the Model S feel more like an internal combustion engine (ICE) car with an automatic transmission. A few weeks after those requests came in, a remote update appeared and the car suddenly met those requests.
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But those are only a couple of the tweaks Blankenship said customers can expect to see soon. Among the others: automatically extending door handles.
Just one of many steps Tesla engineers took to make the Model S extremely aerodynamic, the car features door handles that sit flush with the panels when they aren’t needed. With the push of a button, those handles extend to offer access, but that’s not good enough. Blankenship said owners will be able to customize their cars soon to make the handles extend automatically when the key fob comes close enough.
At launch, the car offered memory for two driver preference presets, but now there’s capacity for 10. One thing is clear: Tesla is committed to offering its customers a dynamic driving experience.