Apple announces big improvements to Apple CarPlay, will Tesla adopt it now?

By Alex Jones
Apple shows off the new CarPlay coming next year
Apple shows off the new CarPlay coming next year
Apple

Emily Schubert, a senior manager for Apple presenting at Apple’s WWDC 2022 event, couldn’t sum up the impact of CarPlay better: 98% of new cars available in the US have CarPlay compatibility.

According to Apple, 79% of car buyers wouldn’t buy a car unless it was CarPlay/Android Auto capable.

You have to hand it to Apple, they managed to fundamentally change the auto industry in the eight years since CarPlay was introduced.

Offering a superior internet-connected car UI experience to the various proprietary (and frequently painfully slow and unintiutive) automaker infotainment systems, CarPlay has dominated the auto market.

Doubling-down on the success of CarPlay in dictating UI interfaces and interactions with entertainment and navigation functions, it appears Apple is interested in taking more UI-design and control away from automakers.

New CarPlay Features Coming in 2023

The next version of CarPlay will integrate more car-based functions, enabling the control of systems like climate control and the display of information like speedometer data.

Apple describes the next iteration of CarPlay (available in 2023) as “the ultimate iPhone experience for the car. It provides content for all the driver’s screens including the instrument cluster, ensuring a cohesive design experience that is the very best of your car and your iPhone. Vehicle functions like radio and temperature controls are handled right from CarPlay. And personalization options ranging from widgets to selecting curated gauge cluster designs make it unique to the driver.”

Car controls will now be able to be incorporated into CarPlay
Car controls will now be able to be incorporated into CarPlay
Apple

The infotainment and instrument gauge cluster mock-up that Apple used in the presentation was stunning (as one would expect from a mock-graphic from a multi-billion dollar technology company).

The icon tray, in truth, resembled Tesla’s latest UI changes. The incredibly large and immersive screen, however, resembled the 65” MBUX Hyperscreen found in the Mercedes EQS design.

Automanufactuers have lined up to implement the new integration demands from Apple. Partners include Land Rover, Mercedes, Porsche, Nissan, Ford, Lincoln, Audi, Jaguar, Acura, Volvo/Polestar, Honda, Renault, and Infiniti. Noticeably absent was Tesla.

Tesla has an odd history with Apple. There were even rumored attempts to sell Tesla to Apple in 2015. The current speculation for a lack of CarPlay support is that Tesla is hesitant to give up their mostly successful UI design and control in favor of CarPlay.

In Tesla's defense, Tesla doesn't have a painfully slow infotainment like most automakers. Old automakers are happy to give up control of their infotainment system to Apple to help improve the user experience.

With this iteration of CarPlay, Apple is offering a whole car experience, meaing it not only has a dock to navigate to your favorite iPhone apps, but also to change car specific functions.

Functions such as adjusting your vehicle's climate control, and seat heaters.

However, Teslas have many features that likely wouldn't fit into CarPlay's offerings. Features such as the Toybox, car visualizations, Dashcam, Sentry Mode, and popular HVAC features such as Dog Mode and many others.

Advantages of CarPlay

The inclusion of CarPlay would mean that Teslas would instantly gain a huge amount of new audio streaming services and apps, along with better text messaging integration and Siri support.

Tesla owners would finally have access to SiriusXM, Apple Music, Pandora, YouTube Music and so many more services that have been highly requested by Tesla owners. Tesla has a good set of audio choices, but there are countless music streaming services nowadays.

The same could be true for video streaming, where Tesla owners wouldn't be limited to YouTube, Netflix and a couple others.

Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto have the huge advantage of having a robust ecosystem with millions of developers. We spend hours a day on these devices and store our most important information on them, such as photos, health and financial informaiton and more.

Phone apps already exist to do almost anything imagaineable. This makes it difficult for Tesla to compete with the amount of data and apps available on our devices.

Furthermore, Apple is adding widgets to CarPlay in this iteration. Widgets that could show you the weather, our workout activity, access to home controls and more.

Apple CarPlay will support custom layouts with widgets
Apple CarPlay will support custom layouts with widgets
Apple

Some of things these Tesla may never be able to incorporate because they don't have access to the user's data.

Disadvantages of adding CarPlay

For Tesla to implement CarPlay it could mean giving up a certain amount of control of their UI.

Some initial questions that come up are how would visualizations, AutoPilot controls and other features tie into CarPlay?

Would CarPlay live on a portion of the screen, leaving other portions available to Tesla specific features? Would it require two docks, one for CarPlay functions and another for Tesla specific functions such as Dashcam access and Caraoke?

Although Apple is offering various layout options for the speedometer and other features, Tesla would still be limited to Apple's offerings.

If Tesla were to adopt CarPlay, Tesla would likely have to adopt a similar UI to Apple's for their own features, so that CarPlay and Tesla functions would flow and the integration would look seamless.

This may be giving up more control than Tesla is willing to.

Competition is Heating Up

In addition, Tesla may be hesitant to partner with a company that is secretly designing an EV to directly compete with Tesla. Apple enthusiasts would point out that the new version of CarPlay does not require taking up the entire screen (and could be integrated into a window, similar to the jerry-rigged Tesla CarPlay solutions floating around the internet). But, ultimately, it is unclear if Tesla will budge on CarPlay implementation.

The impact of Apple’s latest CarPlay features remains to be seen, but one can’t deny that continuing to ignore customer demand for CarPlay functionality may ultimately affect demand for Tesla (as other car manufacturers start delivering their planned EV lineups).

Tesla to reward Powerwall customers in California who opt-in to virtual power plant program

By Lennon Cihak
Tesla to launch new virtual power plant program
Tesla to launch new virtual power plant program

Tesla’s new partnership with gas and electric company PG&E in California will give Powerwall owners the opportunity to earn money while giving energy back to the grid.

The virtual power plant (VPP) is a connection of distributed energy storage systems that work in tandem to give energy back to the grid to avoid dirty and costly peaker power plants. Essentially, when the grid is being strained, then the VPP can kick in and draw power from Powerwall owners enrolled in the program, and other distributed energy storage system owners, to use clean energy and avoid brownouts across the state.

Here are some of the advantages with this new VPP with PG&E:

Stabilize California’s Grid: The extra capacity your Powerwall provides could help avoid or reduce blackouts in a severe emergency. This way, Powerwall can keep the lights on for both you and your community.

Clean the Grid: Tesla will dispatch your Powerwall when the grid is in critical need of additional power. That is when the least efficient generators would typically come online.

Unite as a Tesla Community: Team up with other Powerwall owners who are accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy and help form the largest distributed battery in the world - potentially over 50,000 Powerwalls. As part of the VPP, your Powerwall will have an outsized positive impact on the grid over traditional demand response programs.

Maintain Your Energy Security: Powerwall will discharge during VPP events but won’t discharge below your Backup Reserve. Adjust your Backup Reserve to control your contribution while maintaining backup energy for outages.

Earn Compensation: Through the ELRP pilot, you will receive $2 for every additional kWh your Powerwall provides during an event. You don’t have to change your energy usage behavior to participate.

In 2021, Tesla piloted a test VPP program in California for Powerwall owners to voluntarily opt-in without compensation. The test VPP program would then pull energy from the Powerwalls when the grids needed it.

“Become a part of the largest distributed battery in the world and help keep California’s energy clean and reliable,” reads a statement from Tesla. “Opt-in to the Tesla Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with PG&E and your Powerwall will be dispatched when the grid needs emergency support. Through the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) pilot, you will receive $2 for every additional kWh your Powerwall delivers during an event. Adjust your Backup Reserve to set your contribution, while maintaining backup energy for outages.”

With Tesla and PG&E’s new VPP program owners will receive $2/kWh, which is quite significant. For comparison, where I live in Southern California, Tesla charges $0.58/kWh for supercharging during peak hours.

According to Electrek, “they could earn anywhere from $10 to $60 per event or more for bigger systems.” 

Tesla stated that they have roughly 50,000 Powerwalls that may be eligible for this new program.

Tesla Cybertruck design finalized; to enter production mid-2023: Elon Musk [Video]

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla Cybertruck
ksbw.com

In an interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the Cybertruck design has now been finalized. Musk didn’t get into details about the design, but gave a rough timeline for production of the Cybertruck.

With the design now "locked", he estimates production will begin “the middle of next year, roughly 12-months’ish” which would put the first Cybertruck deliveries in the second half of 2023.

Musk did not say when the final design will be revealed, but recent sightings of the alpha builds give us many hints as to what to expect.

When discussing the Cybertruck design Elon said they “got too carried with the…,” before pausing, hinting that they have added a number of new features not included on the original prototype.

While it's not clear what additional features Elon was about to mention, we have an idea of what is to come.

One of the most controversial additions has been the side mirrors, which are required by law, although Musk has said that they will be easily removable by owners.

Another controversial feature of the Cybertruck is the windshield wiper. While we have only seen the large single wiper, Musk did say that the final design would be different than what has been seen on recent builds.

Tesla did patent a laser beam windshield wiper, but we'll likely see something more traditional on the Cybertruck.

Another feature we could see on the final build are doors with no handles. At the Cyber Rodeo, Elon opened the Cybertruck door by pushing a button on the side of the truck. The doors also seemingly open and lock depending on proximity to the vehicle.

You can watch the full interview below.

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Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.16.2.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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We expect version 2022.20 to be released imminently.

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