Tesla finally gets buttons and physical inputs, thanks to new smart accessory

Tesla, which is known for its touchscreen-based user interface, is finally getting some buttons and physical inputs, thanks to a new smart accessory.

Love or hate Tesla, it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t have the best user interface in the auto industry.

It’s miles ahead of other automakers; as such, most of them are now offloading most of the experience to Apple and Android because of it.

However, if there’s a main complaint about Tesla’s in-car user interface, it’s the lack of physical input. Literally, everything goes through touchscreens or voice commands, aside from a few buttons and scrolls on the steering wheel.

While many owners don’t mind, it has been a recurring complaint for people who prefer physical buttons and knobs, especially for things like volume and climate controls.

Now you can add physical inputs to your Tesla, thanks to a new product being crowdfunded on Indiegogo.

It’s a neat little accessory called Ctrl-Bar, and it sticks to the bottom of the Model 3/Y’s center display:

The knobs can be used to change the temperature, and the four center buttons can be programmed to do a bunch of different things.

The crowdfunding campaign describes the product:

The two scroll wheels with tactile indents give the driver and passenger complete control of the cabin temperature. Four push buttons ensure easy access to programmable shortcuts. All changes done on Ctrl-Bar are reflected on the center screen! 

What’s neat about the product is that it is easy to install, and it doesn’t require any hardwiring to Tesla’s systems.

Instead, all you have to do is plug it into a USB port to power it, and the controls affect Tesla’s settings through the Tesla API – meaning that you can have the buttons do anything that can be done through the Tesla app.

Button configuration can be done through the Ctrl-Bar app.

Top comment by PeterO

Liked by 20 people

Afer 10 years of daily Tesla driving, I am very use to the Tesla's touch screen controls. I don't expect the Ctrl-Bar accessory will be of interest to me. I do think having such a device available will interest many potential new buyers and it certainly seems both easy and affordable. I wish the very good luck.

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The device also features LED lighting to create some interior ambience:

The company is also trying to bring some more advanced features like speed trap warnings:

Speed trap warnings will also be available through a subscription. Ctrl-Bar will check for nearby fixed speed traps and visually alert you when you’re approaching. If you somehow are above the speed limit (the warning threshold will be configurable), Ctrl-Bar will give an audible warning reminding you to slow down 🙂 *Will be available through a subscription.

The company is even planning to have over-the-air update capability for releasing additional features in the future.

As with any crowdfunding product, it comes with a certain amount of risk. The Ctrl-Bar starts at €199 EUR (approximately $220) for the first 75 units, and then the price gradually increases. The company plans to start deliveries in the summer.

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