Tesla touchscreens could get physical buttons thanks to the aftermarket

Tesla touchscreens could get physical buttons thanks to the aftermarket

The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y may soon have the option of physical knobs and buttons to give owners tactile control over certain functions buried in the touchscreen. Rather than furiously tapping and swiping climate settings or other features that don’t belong behind a screen, Tesla owners can look forward to an aftermarket accessory called Ctrl-Bar that adds real buttons to their screens. That is, if the crowdfunded input device can be put into production.

The Ctrl-Bar promises to easily add a strip of physical buttons to the bottom of the Tesla Model 3 and Y’s infotainment screen, putting a host of features at your fingertips. OK, so a touchscreen does the same thing, but it’s just not as satisfying. Greenmission created the Ctrl bar to circumvent this in the 3 and Y models, while ensuring that installing the device is simple and straightforward.

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The Ctrl-Bar has two buttons, or dials, as well as four programmable buttons that can be assigned actions that can turn on heated seats, toggle defrost mode, and dog mode among many others. You could open chests, frunks, maybe even glove boxes with the buttons. At last!

Photo: Indiegogo

Photo: Indiegogo

The bar attaches and is powered via USB, which manufacturers say is discreet or “hidden”. The Ctrl-Bar connects to Tesla electric vehicles using a phone as an intermediary, which means your phone must be connected via Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. It sounds weird, but given the integration of these EVs with smartphones through the Tesla app, it’s not as weird as it sounds.

Any button presses or dial rotations are then sent through your phone to the car, so there is a slight delay, manufacturers say. But I guess a slight stutter is better than having no physical buttons at all. We can generally agree that squeezing is so much better than typing, and automakers are beginning to realize that some controls need buttons. Tesla is one of the pioneers of the minimalist interior, for better or for worse; I’m going with worse as the lack of buttons is a constant problem for Tesla owners.

And since the Ctrl-Bar is essentially a “smart” device that connects to a phone, it will receive OTA updates for features and to expand its functionality. The designers say they already plan to add things like Speed ​​Trap warnings via subscription, but I’m less enthusiastic about that.

The Ctrl-Bar has already beaten its target at Indiegogo for a first batch with an introductory price of €249 ($272 at current exchange rates), though that’s no guarantee it’ll make it to retail. It could very well, given the reception of the device. And the creators of the Ctrl-Bar team up with Abstract Ocean, a well-known company that sells aftermarket products for Tesla models. Having the backing of an established retailer can only help, but it’s a problem Tesla should address. Until then, it looks like the secondary market is happy to step in.

Photo: Indiegogo

Photo: Indiegogo

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