Telstra, Tesla sign M2M deal for Model S electric car

Telstra mobile network to power in-car infotainment, diagnostics
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Telstra will provide mobile connectivity for the new Tesla Motors electric car, the Model S, the telco has revealed.

Earlier this month, Tesla opened its first dealership in Australia – located in St. Leonards – and has the electric car manufacturer has commenced deliveries of its Model S. The $100,000 car is a 5 seat sedan with 502 kilometre range and an electric engine that can hit 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds.

Under a machine-to-machine (M2M) deal announced today, the Telstra mobile network will power the infotainment, remote diagnostics systems and other features of the Model S.

“Our network will enable Tesla Model S owners to access live information via the Model S’s giant 17-inch touch screen that controls everything from the suspension, to the climate control through to the sun roof,” said Telstra Mobile executive director John Chambers.

“Drivers and passengers will be able to use the Telstra network to stream music, pull up high-detail maps and navigation, and access near real-time traffic updates.”

In addition, the Telstra will allow the Model S to send information about the car’s performance to Tesla service staff, who can diagnose issues without direct access to the car.

Chambers predicted more connected car deals to come.

“Increasingly technology is becoming top of mind for Australians choosing new cars and by 2025 we expect 90 per cent of new vehicles sold in Australia will come ready to connect to a mobile network,” he said in a statement.

While Telstra did not disclose the price of the Tesla deal, the telco has in the past predicted large revenue opportunities for the business coming from M2M and the Internet of Things.

Earlier this year, Telstra CEO David Thodey highlighted cars with SIM cards as one of many opportunities the telco hopes to capture in the next few years.

“Suddenly your addressable market is enormous,” Thodey said at the time. “They don’t have the revenues per month that you would get from a person using a smartphone. It may be two, three, four [or] five dollars a month. But it is still a tremendous opportunity.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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