Tesla hacker and Twitter user @greentheonly has speculated that it won’t be possible to retrofit current MCU 2 (Media Control Unit) Teslas employing Intel chips with the new and improved Ryzen-based processor that is used in MCU 3.
In an up-close inspection of a new Model Y’s internals Green stated that “retrofit for intel cars definitely looks impossible - totally different power and other harness and thickness of the unit.”
The news hasn’t been confirmed nor denied by Tesla or its CEO, Elon Musk, but if proven to be accurate it would most certainly disappoint a great number of MCU2 vehicles owners, who were expecting to be offered the possibility of an upgrade, in the same way current MCU1 owners are able to upgrade their chips for a $2,000 (plus tax) fee.
MCU (Media Control Unit) is the computer controlling Tesla’s touchscreen, processors, RAM (short term memory), non-volatile memory (long-term memory), the audio subsystem, 5 amplifiers, WiFi, Cellular, Bluetooth, GPS, the Ethernet bridge, multiple CAN bus communications, the LIN bus, USB ports and many more.
It handles every software operation, excluding Full Self-Driving/Autopilot, which are unaffected by which MCU version a Tesla is equipped with. All Tesla’s built after November 2016 are capable of Full Self-Driving.
MCU2 came out in the spring of 2018 (fall of 2017 for Model 3) as an upgrade to the NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor found in MCU1. All cars delivered after that point benefited from the improved responsiveness and extra features that came with the Intel’s Atom E8000 Series CPU.
From a technical standpoint, the two chips possessed entirely different architectures. The release of software update V10 highlighted the differences, as MCU1 owners were excluded from both Tesla Theater and Tesla Arcade. Effectively, MCU1 doesn’t support Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, or any other streaming services that may be added in the future. It also doesn’t support any of the games Tesla added. Additionally, the web browser on MCU2 is much quicker and more capable as it’s built on Google’s Chromium platform.
In summer of 2021 Tesla released the redesigned Model S with a more powerful infotainment processor MCU. At the time no one was sure whether this was Tesla's next generation MCU or whether it would trickle down to other models.
Then in late 2021 the first news of a new Tesla MCU chip generation started to flood the web, with reports coming from China of a new AMD Ryzen-based computer being present in newly delivered Model Y’s.
The new MCU is faster and brings noticeable improvements in responsiveness in the web browser, as well as while using video streaming services, such as Netflix and YouTube.
The Model 3 and Model Y may gain a rear display for entertainment
It looks like the new Model 3 and Model Y may be getting a secondary display soon. In a recent tweet from @greentheonly, it was discovered that new Model 3 and Model Y models with AMD processors have the capacities for a second display.
Connectors on the circuit board of the AMD powered Model 3/Y show that it has a connector to power a "2nd display". It is possible that the second display will be in the back of the car like the new Model S and Model X.
New Model 3 and Model Y vehicles have a circuit board that’s similar to the ones in the Model S and Model X, but they’re not the same, so this isn’t just the case of Tesla sharing parts between the two cars and letting the 2nd display port go unused.
According to Green, a similar situation occurred before, where the Model Y PCB had unused USB3 ports which were then populated in later revisions.
It’s possible that Tesla will add a rear display to the Model 3 and Model Y because it becomes a big selling point for Tesla.
The rear display gives you convenient features such as the ability to turn on rear seat heaters, and adjust the cabin temperature. It also allows you to manage music in the vehicle as well as some additional entertainment options such as play games and stream movies from Netflix, Disney+ and more.
And while games and movies on the vehicle’s main screen can only be used while parked, on the rear display your passengers are welcome to watch movies on the way to their destination.
This is a compelling feature and it’d actually cost Tesla little to add since the 8” display is powered by the same hardware as the center display.
Alternatively, it is possible, but unlikely that the second connector will be used for an instrument cluster display including speedometer, temperature, GPS, and battery information behind the steering wheel.
Looks like model 3/Y is getting a second display soon? I just took a closer look at an AMD based model 3/y car thanks to some enterprising people And there are two unpopulated connectors near display, one of them is marked "2nd display". EPC has it populated - looks like s/x pic.twitter.com/99ESydFShV
You will soon be able to connect to more Wi-Fi networks
Tesla has reportedly started testing a new feature for its fleet: the ability to connect to ISP provided Wi-Fi networks.
Connectivity is an integral part of the Tesla experience, enabling vehicles to receive software and navigation updates periodically, access entertainment options, as well as allowing the company to receive valuable data collection from the fleet, used to improve features such as Autopilot.
Although Tesla initially provided a free internet connection, as the fleet developed, the company began to require a new paid Premium Connectivity package for a monthly subscription in order to access some of the most data-intensive services, such as streaming music and video. Tesla owners have had to pick whether they want to pay $10 per month for premium connectivity since then.
Regardless of whether you pay for Premium Connectivity, almost all features are available for free on Wi-Fi.
The automaker has also continued to look for alternative solutions for their customers, including a recent software update that allows owners to use their phones' as hotspots while driving as a substitute to the connectivity package.
Now Tesla is reportedly working on a new option that involves utilizing internet providers' Wi-Fi networks. Analytic_ETH, a Twitter user, successfully enabled the new option in their vehicle:
“New Upcoming #Tesla feature: Free access to public hotspots from, AT&T, Comcast, Orange, and more! Since late last year, there have been hints in the firmware that @Tesla was looking to support "Public Hotspots". I've been able to enable this feature, and confirm it works!”
He continued to provide more information regarding the feature in subsequent tweets: “First off - for this to work, Tesla needs to enable the feature on your car. Once enabled, your car generates a TPM-based private key for use on these Wi-Fi networks.
After that, you can just select the relevant network and the car will negotiate a connection! On the backend, the firmware refers to Tesla's Product Partners Issuing CA for authentication purposes, indicating that this feature stems from an upcoming partnership”
According to Analytic, the current list of supported hotspot names includes XFINITY, xfinitywifi, CableWiFi, attwifi, att-wifi, AT&T Passpoint, ChinaUnicom, CMCC, ChinaNet, KPN, KPN Fon, Ziggo, Telekom, Telekom_FON, UPC Wi-Free, Upc, UPC WifiSpots, Orange, Orange_FunSpot, SFR, SFR WiFi, SFR WiFi FON, SFR WiFi Mobile and Telia wifi1x - all several popular providers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Although these networks are often open to the public, connecting to them usually requires the customer to be a subscribe to the particular ISP.
Tesla is partnering with the internet providers directly giving you the ability to seamlessly connect to these networks without having to provide credentials.
These networks can sometimes be fickle, but Tesla will have the ability to white-list or black-list individual networks based on the location of your car and whether the vehicle was able to sucessfully connect.
For owners without Premium Connectivity, this will them more locations to stream music and video while potentially waiting, while charging or waiting for someone near shopping areas.
Even more owners who subscribe to Premium Connectivity, this will give everyone more locations to download software updates, which are usually limited to Wi-Fi.
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