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User Interface Upgrades May Only Go So Far On Older Tesla Models

The news broke earlier that Tesla is working with a video game engineer in order to help upgrade the user interfaces on its older cars. This is a great development, but these upgrades can have their limits. Luckily, Tesla vehicles have always had a large screen in the middle which could make upgrading an older car’s software easier.


It is promising news that a video game engineer known as John Carmack has been working with Tesla to upgrade the user interface on their older models. This is a good development in many ways, but it also leaves some questions to be answered.

How Carmack Is Helping Tesla

Carmack had the role of being the lead programmer in the production of these two video games called Doom and Quake. Carmack fixed the user interface on his own Model S. He is working with Tesla engineers as they find ways to upload data to older vehicles.

How Carmack’s past in video games helps Tesla

Carmack’s past in video games comes in handy when it comes to upgrading user interfaces. Many video games are upgraded yearly and some every two to three years. Video game consoles often stick around for several years before Xbox, PlayStation, or another gaming brand comes out with a new console.

A car’s user interface is usually upgraded when it undergoes a refresh or redesign. The objective for Carmack has been finding out how to put a new interface onto an older build. This has been done with video games as a user interface can change from one iteration of game to the next, but the two games can still be played on the same console.

The Limits of what Carmack is doing

Tesla made some huge changes to the interior of the Model S with the most recent redesign. The infotainment screen on the center console is larger than its predecessors. As Tesla vehicles continue to evolve, it could become increasingly difficult to upgrade the user interface of an older car. Some features may be best suited for a certain type of center screen. There is also the aesthetic aspect. Buyers may find it unattractive to have new technology on a very old car. At some point, it might make more sense to buy a new car, but buying a new car is expensive. Luckily, Tesla has made it easier for buyers who want to buy a new car often by moving to a monthly subscription for FSD as opposed to having the buyer pay for FSD up front which was priced at $10,000.

Image: Tesla

Daniel Cappo reports Tesla developments at Torque News. He has had a passion for cars ever since age five when his grandparents let him drive their old golf cart around their property in Upstate NY. He has attended numerous auto shows, and even got the chance to drive a Ferrari California on the track. Ever since Tesla opened up a dealership at his local mall, he's been an avid follower of their cars and technology. Dan has a B.S. in Public Communication from U Vermont. Follow Daniel on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily Tesla News.