Apr 10 AT 8:00 AM Christopher Earle 16 Comments

Android Races To Tesla Motors? Updated With Video

If you have followed the automotive industry, either from the standpoint of an environmentalist or from the standpoint of a car enthusiast, you are likely aware of Tesla Motors. If you haven’t, Tesla is the California based car company currently producing an all-electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, capable of giving virtually any gasoline powered super car a run for its money. If specifications like 0-60 in under for seconds and a maximum speed, because of a factory installed limiter, or 125 MPH don’t get you, how about zero emissions and an estimated cost to drive of $0.01 per mile with a range of around 240 miles? The Roadster is reputed to be one of the most fun cars to drive and sells for an incredibly reasonable $109,000 for all that performance.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

What about its weaknesses? It is a two seater and the price. Tesla has announced a four door sedan that seats up to seven passengers that is expected to sell for around $50,000. With extended range and luxury features like a 17” LCD touch screen in the dash, it may be the car to launch Tesla from a small startup funded by the likes of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. That brings us to why we are covering the Tesla.

Reports have surfaced that the operating system behind the 17” touch screen is Android. That makes a lot of sense considering that Google’s founders are investors in Tesla. Android also makes sense because of what the LCD display will be used for. Driving directions will be available via an integrated GPS and Google Maps. The car will support full 3G connectivity. Information on local businesses, like restaurants and clubs, will be available on the monitor. It will also be Bluetooth enabled.

Does this sound like a very fast, very comfortable cell phone that can seat seven and do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds? It does to me. In all likelihood, the 3G features would be available from a variety of cellular carriers, much like an unlocked cell phone. By the time the car is in production, 3G networks will be much more widespread and robust. Android will be a much more mature and feature-rich operating system. It makes incredible sense for one of the first production zero emission family cars to use an Open Source operating system produced by one of their major investors.

Update: I just found this video preview of the Tesla Model S on Twitter.

Tesla Model S hands-on from Ryan Block on Vimeo.

Paying a visit to the Menlo Park Tesla dealership for a one-day-only opportunity to check out (and sit in) their new all-electric Model S sedan.

Is 50k really that much for a state of the art car?

Is 50k really that much for a state of the art car?

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Christopher Earle has been working as a freelance writer since 1987. He currently lives in the Denver, Colorado area with his wife, son, and their two cats. He has been a fan of open source software for many years.

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  • http://www.craiggunderson.com/ Gunderstorm

    I’ve long thought that since there are computers in cars they should have operating systems. Why shouldn’t car data be available on the in-dash monitor? Want to know what kind of mileage you’re getting? “There’s an app for that.”

    Skinnable speedometer anyone? How about touchscreen cruise control settings? Couldn’t Android control the hardware too like your air conditioning? Why have switches and buttons at all?

    I’m sure there won’t be this kind of connection between the Android-running computer and the car itself, but why not? The car has firmware. Will the Model S need to be brought into the dealership to upgrade or can it be downloaded it over 3G?

  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette Ed Burnette

    What is the source of these reports? It would be neat if true.

    • http://androidandme.com Christopher Earle

      I’ve run across several blog posts, but the only one that comes to mind is one on Computer World. For several days, I tried to get Tesla to confirm or deny it, and they wouldn’t. For the purposes of the nav and 3G features, it is a brilliant idea. For now, I can’t think of a better operating system for the data display.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Found another blog post via Twitter. This is where I got the video above.


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  • http://www.killthemessenger.net Craig

    I can tell you for a fact that it is NOT android.


  • Craig
    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Thanks. That is a nice find.

      I still have a feeling Android will end up in cars over the next few years. If anyone will adopt Android first, I think it would be an innovative company like Tesla.

      I’m interested to see what kind of devices Garmin comes out with for cars. The current GPS units are getting huge screens that would be awesome for Android.

  • Gammax

    whoa whooo, its the Android Car!!! if its true, very cool.

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