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3 Ways to Easily Add a Heads Up Display to Your Tesla

Tesla Model 3 with Heads Up Display (HUD) Installed
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The Tesla Model 3 is not only the electric car brand’s most mainstream product yet – it’s also one of the most advanced cars on the road, period. I’m not just talking about its high-capacity battery, advanced and well-publicized autonomous vehicle technology, or comprehensive suite of safety features either. I’m talking about the sleek, minimalist design language of the Model 3’s interior as well. The single, floating, 15-inch touchscreen in the Model 3 does a fantastic job of setting a premium “mood” in the car, and really makes you wonder why you’d ever need buttons in your next car. The Model 3 interior really does do more with less – which is what makes the Tesla’s lack of a functional Heads Up Display (HUD) so maddening – and I’m not the only who thinks so, either!

“The 2019 Lincoln Navigator I was driving from New York City to northern Vermont had a heads up display, or ‘HUD’, with navigation directions, driving speed, speed limits, the time, temperature, and other information superimposed onto the road ahead,” wrote Mashable’s Sasha Lekash recently. “The display worked just as well during the day or night, showing me which exit I should take or the speed I should drive. It immediately became an essential driving tool … and yet, the most advanced and tech-friendly car brand, Tesla, stubbornly refuses to include it.”

In Sasha’s post, she effectively argues that HUDs help to reduce distracted driving by keeping the driver’s eyes up and forward – and their attention on the road – instead of trying to focus on small physical buttons. Or arguably worse, small digital buttons that give back minimal haptic feedback, forcing drivers to look at the screen. So – I guess that’s why you’d ever need buttons in your next car?

And if you’re a HUD believer too, don’t look to Elon Musk for solace that one is coming. “We discussed a HUD [for Model 3],” he said during a June interview with podcast Ride the Lightning. “I’ve tried various HUDs and I find them pretty annoying. We felt that [Model 3] would increasingly go towards self-driving, and then you wouldn’t really care about having [information] on the windscreen. So, as things are approaching autonomy, why project things that you don’t care about on the [windscreen]?”

Well, a lot of people still want to drive. And, for them, we have some good news: it is totally possible to add a simple, effective Heads Up Display to your Tesla. Even better, that’s any Tesla you own, not just the Model 3. In fact, you even have a few options – here’s a quick list of the ones we liked best.

Kivic HUD 2nd Generation for iOS and Android

Korean brand Kivic One recently launched the 2nd generation of its HUD product here in the ‘States, and it seems to have a lot to offer. It’s 10 inch wide projection screen occupies almost a full lane of visual traffic on the go, and the turn-by-turn direction uses a number of visual cues to help drivers navigate tricky interchanges and exit ramps. Most significant however, is the Kivic HUD’s integration with the popular Waze navigation app, which is a feature that sets it apart from the other heads up display options in this list.

So, to recap this one, it’s a $220 unit (as of this writing) made by a company most of us have probably never heard of, and may or may not feature complicated directions in either Korean or poorly translated English. That said, it has Waze – and Waze is arguably, the best navigation app in the business. Whether or not that’s enough to sway you to give Kivic a try is between you and Amazon.

Garmin HUD for Garmin StreetPilot® and NAVIGON

In the before time – in the long, long ago – cars didn’t have integrated GPS systems and maps. Worse yet, phones didn’t have them either. If you wanted some kind of software to help you get from point A to an unfamiliar point B that was you went out and bought “a GPS” that would sort of try to stick to your windshield with suction cups and power itself with a long, coiled, distracting cord that plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter 12V outlet. It seems kind of silly today, sure. But back then, if you wanted to get someplace reliably, you’d probably pony up for the Garmin GPS – and it’s that weird sort of early digital legacy that earned the Garmin HUD its place on this list.

With its $149 price tag, the Garmin is neither super-cheap nor super-expensive. In fact, I feel like it’s considerably less expensive than the Garmin GPS I bought way back in 2007 [citation needed]. It has the added benefit of being installed a few different ways too. You can just stick one on the dashboard of a rental car and connect it to a power source in the car, where it will project a heads up display onto an attached piece of clear plastic. For a more “permanent” installation, you can tuck the power cable behind/under the dash pad and have the unit project turn by turn directions onto a reflective film (for better daytime visibility) in front of the driver. It looks old-school, but it works!

HUDWAY Glass | HUD Phone Mount for iOS and Android

The most cost-effective option on this list, the HUDWAY Glass is essentially a phone mount that projects your phone’s screen onto a vertical display. The accompanying app and specially engineered hardware make the reflected display seem about 20-25% bigger than it is in your hand and also allows for crisp, turn-by-turn directions, GPS-derived speed indication, and a number of convenient notifications. It’s still possible to make and receive phone calls too of course, and the HUD makes seeing who’s calling just as simple as you’d expect – even from more expensive systems.

As we mentioned before, this particular HUD has a lot going for it – even when you consider its super-low $49.95 asking price. I mean, sure – it’s “just” a phone mount, but the HUDWAY app is really clean, adaptive, and seems to offer everything you’d want in a heads up display. The universality of it, too (translation: it will fit in almost any car), seems like it would be a huge selling point.

What do you guys think? Think any of these will get you to add a HUD to your Tesla, or are there other features you expect from a heads up display that these don’t seem to deliver? Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Multiple source links throughout the article.

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Jo Borrás
Jo has been working in the automotive industry since 1997, and has been a contributor to various automotive and technology blogs for more than a decade. You can usually find him talking about Swedish metal at his Volvo fansite, out cruising on two wheels, or chasing his kids around Oak Park, IL.