Is there such a thing as a Tesla wifi hotspot? A user going by the name “tmxninja” on the Tesla Motors Club forum recently posed the following question:

“The browser in Tesla is really slow, and typing is awkward. I am wondering if the car can act a wifi hotspot for my smartphone so that I can browse while I am charging without using up my phone’s data plan. I thought I saw someone saying it was planned feature a few years ago but can’t find anything on it anymore.”

This was an interesting question in my opinion so I decided to investigate a bit further. Long story short, the answer is no.

Not Like Other Car Companies

Tesla tends to do things a bit differently than other car companies as we mentioned here. Elon and Co. do not currently offer a wifi plan with their vehicles. This is in contrast to Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz who do manufacture vehicles with built-in wifi hotspots. Here’s the catch: you have to pay for a service plan and they ain’t cheap! It will be interesting to see in the next few years if manufacturers can turn a profit with these plans. Right now, there just isn’t a whole lot of data regarding vehicle wifi hotspot popularity.

User “Uncle Paul” on the Tesla Motors Club website made the following observation in the aforementioned thread:

“The time will come when Tesla offers a mobile office set up, using the center screen and a data subscription service. Some high end motor homes offer this as an option, but it requires a largish antenna on the roof. Works going down the road to surf your email. That time is not here yet.” 

Time will tell if his prediction comes true.

What to Do in the Meantime

Please don’t despair that your beloved Tesla can’t be used as a wifi hotspot right this second. You do have alternatives that are available now. First and foremost, your smartphone can easily be used as a wifi hotspot. My phone has saved me on countless road trips by providing access to streaming shows for my kids to watch. My wife and I simply turn on the wifi hotspot, connect an iPad, and thank our lucky stars that we don’t have to listen to endless refrains of “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Please be aware that using your phone as a wifi hotspot will drain the battery at an accelerated rate. It will also eat up your allotted data quickly if you don’t have an unlimited plan.

Several companies also offer mobile Internet routers if you would like to avoid using your phone as a hotspot. Much like the car companies that offer built-in wifi hotspots, you will have to pay for a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription in addition to the upfront costs if you go this route.

What do our readers think about the current state of affairs with regard to cars and wifi? Should Tesla change their business model and offer a “mobile office setup” to include a Tesla wifi hotspot as “Uncle Paul” prognosticated they would above? What is the best way to connect to the Internet when you’re on the go? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

Source | Image: Tesla Motors