Teslas to connect to Starlink satellites for emergency calls and texts

By Lennon Cihak
Tesla's vehicles will soon use Starlink to connect in dead zones
Tesla's vehicles will soon use Starlink to connect in dead zones
SpaceX

Tesla’s vehicles will integrate with SpaceX's Starlink to eliminate dead zones in the future.

On August 25th at 5pm PT, Musk and T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert, announced a landmark partnership between Starlink and T-Mobile with the goal of “eliminating dead zones worldwide.” This venture is called “Coverage Above & Beyond,” and it will go into beta late next year for text, MMS, and select messaging applications, according to Teslarati.

Musk posted a follow-up tweet saying, “Note, connectivity will be 2 to 4 Mbits per cell zone, so will work great for texting & voice calls, but not high bandwidth.”

Unfortunately, watching high-resolution videos on YouTube or Netflix, or sending high-quality pictures will not be ideal at this speed. Hopefully, T-Mobile and Starlink continue to improve these speeds as hardware and software gets enhanced to enable more bandwidth.

To achieve mobile service in remote and rural areas Starlink will use a portion of T-Mobile’s mid-band PCS Spectrum to get rid of dead zones around the world.

“That is incredible because it’s a lot like putting a cellular tower in the sky, just a lot harder,” Sievert said at the “Coverage Above & Beyond” event.

The connection to Starlink via Tesla’s vehicles will enable them to make emergency calls and texts. Twitter user @heydave7 responded to Musk’s tweet about Starlink V2 satellites inquiring about this. Musk responded, “Yes.”

With Tesla’s vehicles able to connect to the internet in the most remote places, this could mean that your vehicle’s connectivity will be more reliable when driving through areas with little to no cell service. And this may mean Tesla could drop AT&T as its enterprise mobile carrier, allowing for much more flexibility and control over its fleet’s data usage.

And you won’t need to update to a new phone. The one you use right now will work. Furthermore, it’s rumored that Apple will be announcing a satellite connectivity feature for their iPhone 14 so it seems that satellite connectivity is going to be prime real estate in the coming years.

Sievert and Musk called on other telecommunications companies around the world to join the program and offer “reciprocal roaming.” This would allow US citizens to travel to other countries and not lose cell service, and similar for those who are traveling to the United States.

Since this information is still so fresh, details about the integration, packages, and pricing are not available, so it’s unclear if Tesla will increase the price of its Premium Connectivity package when Starlink connectivity becomes available.

Watch the Event

Watch T-Mobile and SpaceX’s “Coverage Above & Beyond” event at Starbase below.

Tesla Model 3 Long Range Now Eligible for $7.5K Tax Credit

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

In the US, the Model 3 Long Range has now become fully eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs.

Federal Tax Credit

The federal tax credit is up to $7,500 USD off at the point of sale, which applies to EVs with batteries originating from the United States. The Model 3 Performance was launched with the EV tax credit, which meant that until now, it was cheaper to purchase than the Model 3 Long Range.

Interestingly, after this change, the Model 3 Long Range is only $1,000 USD more expensive than the Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive, as the RWD model is not eligible for the credit. The LFP batteries in the RWD model are from CATL in China, and thus mark it as ineligible.

At $40,000 USD, the Model 3 Long Range is now an even better deal than before – and is nearly $7,500 less (the amount of the credit), than the average new car in the United States.

Canadian EV Credits

In Canada, Tesla dropped the Model 3 RWD price by $1,000 CAD, in response to the province of  British Colombia reducing the upper limit of their EV credit MSRP range. This means that the Model 3 RWD is the only Tesla vehicle that is covered under the new BC rebate – which is one of the few provincial rebates still left standing.

Sadly, as a result of this change, and due to a weird classification gimmick, the Model Y is considered a sedan by the Government of BC and is completely ineligible for the additional rebates – but the $5,000 federal EV rebate still applies.

Tesla vehicles accounted for 80% of federal EV rebate applications in Canada in 2023, marking a net increase since last year at 60%.

SpaceX Introduces Starlink Mini - A Look at Its Specs and Potential for Tesla Integration

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Elon Musk introduced the Starlink Mini on X recently, and showed off a few of its unique new features.

Specs

The Starlink Mini is about the size of a 14” laptop or Macbook, which means it is ultra-portable and can fit inside a backpack for easy carry. While it doesn’t appear to support power over USB-C, it does come with a 12V barrel jack and RJ45 Ethernet jack, as well as built-in Wi-Fi support. As for the Wi-Fi support, expect Wi-Fi 6 with 802.11ax and 3x3 MiMO support on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. It has also been confirmed to have mesh support, which means you can link multiple Starlink Minis or Starlinks together to create a mesh Wi-Fi network.

Price

The most interesting part of this is the fact that it is expected to cost half of what current Starlink dishes cost – so within the $250 to $300 USD price range. Elon Musk, while unclear, also implied that the subscription price would also be lower for the Starlink Mini, enabling more affordable internet access.

Speed

Of course, with a loss in size also comes a loss in speed – even if it’s still blazing fast. The Starlink Mini seemed to cap out at around 100 Mbps at a latency of 23ms, which is about half as fast as the top speeds for a regular Starlink dish, but with similar latency.

Even with the loss of speed, this is still more than fast enough to play video games and stream 4K video. Perhaps not at the same time, but the Mini is clearly designed for a single user. Interestingly, the Mini supports a Wi-Fi protocol that is far faster than the speeds Elon Musk showed off. Perhaps, internet speeds could get even faster in the future with additional Starlink deployments.

Starlink for Tesla?

The Mini is a good first step for possibly bringing Starlink capabilities to Tesla cars, which Elon Musk confirmed in 2022. Some enterprising users have either suction-cupped or mounted their starlinks to their glass Tesla roofs, or with special mounts for the Cybertruck already. The Mini will be a key item for going camping in your Tesla in the future - perhaps with the new Model Y Air Mattress!

Tesla could one day offer Starlink connectivity in Teslas, either as a backup to cellular connectivity or as a main source. However, Starlink connectivity requires line-of-sight, which likely means that Tesla would still require a cellular connection in their vehicles for times when vehicles don’t have a clear view of the sky. Using Starlink could help lower Tesla’s bandwidth costs and improve connectivity in remote areas.

Interestingly enough, some Superchargers already have Starlink functionality, with a transparent experience of vehicles automatically connecting to Supercharger Wi-Fi for data, including for Software Updates!

Release Dates

Musk mentioned that while the Starlink Mini isn’t available just yet, it will be rolling out to select areas in the next few months. Nothing further has emerged on where these areas are, but we could expect them to be in North America, where Starlink has done most of the new dish testing, such as with the more recent Starlink Flat High-Performance dishes.

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