Internet Browser Usage In Tesla Model S & X Is Shockingly Minimal

9 months ago by Steven Loveday 24

The Tesla Model S & X tout the largest touch screens in the industry, but the internet browser is archaic.

The Tesla Model S & X tout the largest touch screens in the industry, but the internet browser is archaic.

A new study by Drawbridge found that most Tesla Model S & X owners fail to use their in-car internet browsers. This is likely due to the fact that the internet browser in Tesla vehicles is subpar. However, a substantial update is in the works.

By the time the Tesla Model 3 hits roadways, hopefully the new internet browser will be in place (via Instagram/Richard Hennessey).

By the time the Tesla Model 3 hits roadways, hopefully the new internet browser will be in place (via Instagram/Richard Hennessey).

Drawbridge is a global company that specifically uses device information to help clients build connections and upgrade brand success. The company monitors over 3 billion devices around the globe. The recent study mapped Tesla vehicle-based internet browser usage for one month.

Despite the 17-inch touch screen, and Tesla’s reputation for state-of-the-art technology features, the study showed that many owners don’t even access the browser. This could be partly due to the fact that all of the other bells and whistles are enough to keep them occupied, but in truth it probably stems back to the system’s faults.

According to Electrek, of the ~150,000 Tesla vehicles on the road, Drawbridge reported that less than 40,000 accessed the internet in their cars, during the one-month period. Less than 6,000 used the technology inside of a one-week study. The more interesting part is that the Tesla drivers that are taking advantage of the service, are using it heavily. Possibly those with new fancy tablets and phones have no need for it, or they don’t spend enough time in the car to have to deal with it, while for others, it is a necessity.

Always time for a little web surfing if the content is right

With the big push against “texting and driving” and “hands-free operation,” perhaps people are just playing it safe. There may have been more people active with the touch screen offerings while using Autopilot, prior to some of the recent negative press associated with the self-driving feature. Tesla has been more diligent recently in making sure that its customers are well aware that they must be indefinitely engaged. Once the car is parked, it’s just as easy to grab your personal device, or head into your work or home if you really need to go online.

Once the vehicles reach fully autonomous operation, and its use is approved by regulators, maybe we will see a change in such stats. Also, Tesla is in the process of upgrading to a new, faster and more intuitive Linux operating system for the Tesla Model S & X. An update is due in as soon as a month. While we don’t know for sure what will be the case with the Tesla Model 3, it would only make sense for Tesla to release it with an up-to-date browser, especially when considering the positive reviews surrounding that of the Chevrolet Bolt.

Source: Electrek

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24 responses to "Internet Browser Usage In Tesla Model S & X Is Shockingly Minimal"

  1. ffbj says:

    Apparently reports are that the browser is slower than a turtle on holiday, though Tesla plans to speed it up.

    1. Four Electrics says:

      Exactly. It is a turd. Were it faster it might he useful while parked, or when full autonomy is ready.

  2. Dav8or says:

    Why do you need an internet browser in your car?

    1. Just_Chris says:

      I guess it gives you something to do while waiting in a car park somewhere either for charging or just because you need to wait for some other reason. If it is too slow to stream video then it is pretty pointless as I can’t imaging doing any serious e-mail or browsing at knee height.

      I suppose they put it in because they could, the car needs an internet connection anyway, has an on board computer in it and a massive touch screen so why not.

      As auto-pilot gets better then I could see people watching TV on the screen while the car drives. I know that will freak some people out and is technically illegal but really if autopilot is as good as people say on the freeway then this will happen and I don’t have too much of a problem with it. At least the person will be awake if they are watching something.

      1. no comment says:

        if the purpose of the in-dash browser is to give the driver something to do for entertainment while waiting for his car to recharge, the sensible thing to do would be to disable the feature unless the car is stopped. this is *not* a feature that you want a driver to be able to use while the car is in motion.

        this is another example of tesla putting a techie feature into a car without thinking through the possibility of legal liability. yeah, if a person operates the browser and gets distracted while driving, he’s probably going to be in violation of some law, but it is also the case that tesla could be held liable for not disabling the feature when its use creates a hazard.

        1. Tesla Fan says:

          I think the browser should remain active as because the passenger can use it while the car is driven. It might get faster but probably will always remain sub par as all those extra feature in a browser usually have security risks and slow it down. First gen Teslas run on chips that entry level smartphones run these days.

    2. Daniel says:

      I’ve been saying that for years and been wrong each time remember when we were asking why anyone would need a computer in their home or why do I need a Smartphone when my flip phone works just fine I’m sure it will come into its own and then we won’t be able to live without it

    3. scottf200 says:

      It is nice to have the browser as it gives the development community a change to provide additional data. I used one today to help understand my watts/mile usage in my travels as the browser pages shows the wind direction/forces on the car as well as elevation. It updates every X seconds.

      Forum threads on all these types of ‘apps’

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Why do you need an internet browser in your car?”

      Exactly. From the not-exactly-Tesla-praising headline of this article, I knew immediately it was written by one of the Loveday guys. They need to drink the Kool-Aid!

      I find it a very positive sign that people aren’t using their browser much in their cars. It’s not safe to use it unless you’re parked, and who wants to sit in a parked car browsing the Internet? I would guess nearly everyone who owns a Tesla car also owns a smartphone, and that can be used wherever you go… no need to sit in the car!

      Now, that’s not to say there’s no place for using the Internet browser. I’d be interested to see statistics on just who is using the browser in the minority of Tesla cars where it’s used a lot. Perhaps it’s mostly being used by the passenger “riding shotgun”, rather than the driver?

      1. Koenigsegg says:

        No one is using the browser because everyone is on their phones

    5. LT says:

      I do need it daily:
      – Waze
      – Mountain pass report & webcam
      – Plugshare

    6. Birger says:

      I use the browser for reading news etc. while waiting in the car. I also use it to find chargers (non Tesla) when required.

    7. TL says:

      The custom Waze app for the Tesla browser is excellent. I use it along with the Nav app when traveling to provide alerts for accidents and police. https://tesla-waze.excelsis.com/

  3. Some Guy says:

    Yes! Make the browser good so inattentive Tesla drivers can kill others by watching porn as they drive.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      At least if it is part of the cars system then it can be controlled. I suspect it will be many years before the law catches up with technology on this one, especially since the technology isn’t quite there yet, but IMO it should be quite possible to deactivate distracting parts of the internet browser unless autopilot is operating and in road conditions where it can safely do it’s thing. Unlike a mobile phone which can be used at anytime the driver wants – as shown to rather devastating effect by the truck driver who killed a 20 year old mother while distracted by porn on his phone.

      I used to think people needed to be smarter but now I am a strong believer in making systems that allow them to be stupid more safely.

      1. SPP says:

        Yup need more nanny state rules….I use the browser quickly (have saves websites to see updated border wait times). Don’t use it much beyond that but would hate to have more bureaucrats tell me yet something else that I can or can’t do.

    2. no comment says:

      i had the same reaction as you did. this is a stupid feature to put in a car for the driver. that this isn’t obvious suggests that when it comes to techie fanboys, their enthusiasm for tech gadgets causes them to lose track of common sense.

      maybe the “shocking” result just indicates that most tesla drivers aren’t complete fools. of course the results indicate that over 25% of tesla owners apparently *do* use the in-dash browser in their cars, but that could include people who got to their destination (or at the start of their trip) used the in-dash browser. but you would expect that a sensible driver would not spend a lot of time sitting in their cars and surfing the internet using an in-dash browser.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “maybe the ‘shocking’ result just indicates that most tesla drivers aren’t complete fools.”

        Hey, there’s a thought.

        Odd that the headline for this article puts a negative spin on something so positive!

  4. Nemo says:

    “This is likely due to the fact that the internet browser in Tesla vehicles is subpar.”

    See, I would’ve guessed it was because they were driving.

    1. Birger says:

      Are you always driving while in your car? Never waiting for someone? Or something?

  5. TM says:

    No, the passenger can try to use the browser, and maybe someday the driver can use it if the car can be self driving.

    But the browser is horrible and is painful to use.

    Why not just use your phone? Because there is a big-a#% 17″ screen right there begging to be used.

    On a side note, if cars truly do become self driving, I’d expect the layout of the car to change immensely. Put a sleeper couch in there, maybe a wet bar, a big screen to watch a movie, etc. The browser wont be mentioned again.

  6. Jelloslug says:

    It sucks to actually browse with. I only use it with some specific tesla sites for stuff like weather forecasts and Waze.

  7. JR says:

    Yes the browser is very slow and unresponsive, and this is the reason why not being used
    and yes! you need a browser in a car, just like you need it on your phone!
    PS:I used it yesterday for address on a shop

  8. GolfProFred says:

    The wind speed and altitude web site is pretty good but hard to setup. The Waze “viewer” is also pretty good but a faster browser will help both apps.