Tesla Model 3 gets fancy physical buttons with this Indiegogo accessory

Tesla Model 3 gets fancy physical buttons with this Indiegogo accessory

Ever wished Tesla had more physical buttons? The massive screens that grace all Tesla models are nice to look at, but can be a pain to use when driving. And while Tesla cars do offer voice commands, they leave a lot to be desired: the Tesla will often misunderstand it, and some fairly obvious commands, like changing the throttle mode, just don’t work.

An Indiegogo-funded device called Ctrl-Bar(Opens in a new window)created by a Norway-based startup called Greenmission(Opens in a new window)He intends to change that. It’s a two-knob, two-button bar designed to sit below the Tesla Model 3/Y display, offering easy access to frequently used features. For example, knobs allow you to easily change the temperature in your car, while programmable buttons can be used for a number of functions, such as turning seat heaters on and off, defrost mode, or dog mode.

Greenmission is not without experience; the company currently sells a wireless charger for the Tesla Model S and X. Like that charger, the control stick connects to the car with a hidden USB cable. On the other hand, the Ctrl-Bar only works with Tesla Model 3 and Y; the Model S and X are not mentioned in the Indiegogo campaign.

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The control bar is designed to look like a natural extension of Tesla’s screen, but it doesn’t communicate directly with the car. Instead, it uses the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection to talk to your phone, which must be running the Greenmission app and connected to the Internet. When you click a button or turn a knob, the command is first sent to your phone, which then communicates with Tesla’s API to make the car do your bidding.

This brings us to the potentially most problematic aspect of the control bar: the inevitable delay between issuing a command and actually seeing it happen on the car’s screen. Greenmission has partially solved this by including a display in the control bar that immediately shows the result of your action, while the car should execute the actual command in “less than a second.” When you click buttons and turn knobs in succession, “less than a second” can be quite a long wait, but we’ll see how this works in real life after Ctrl-Bar is done (it’s currently in development stage). .

The control stick brings other goodies, like additional LED lighting for your car, speed trap warnings, and potentially more, as Greenmission says the new features will become available via over-the-air updates.

The project has currently raised just over $18,000, with a modest set goal of $27,216, and has 20 more days to get there. If you’re interested, you can support the project and get the control bar (when available) for $260.

The Ctrl-Bar isn’t the first accessory of its kind; the S3XY buttons(Opens in a new window), for example, are similar, albeit with far fewer options. However, the control bar looks so natural below the Model 3/Y’s screen that it makes you wonder why Tesla didn’t include a set of physical buttons from the start. Reviewers of the Tesla Model 3 have long complained about the lack of physical buttons; an initial Consumer Reports review said the car’s touchscreen can be distracting to the driver, as “every act forces drivers to take their eyes off the road and their hand off the wheel.” The number of physical buttons on the Tesla Model 3 and Y has remained unchanged since launch, but perhaps an accessory like Ctrl-Bar can alleviate this issue for some drivers.

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