Elon Musk have announced that the second-generation Starlink Internet satellites will contain cellular antennas to connect to the phones of mobile operators in the United States, and possibly other countries. After the high-profile announcement, he responded to a question about whether the satellite communication would work with Tesla’s electric cars, which currently connect to the 4G/LTE network. Musk answered positively.
Elon Musk did not go into details about the principle of connecting the network to the satellite. But he said that Starlink’s satellite-to-cell coverage will be able to provide speeds of 2-4 Mbps, which everyone in the coverage area is using. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be enough to take full advantage of some Premium Connectivity features, like streaming live video from Tesla’s on-board cameras. Still, any communication device that works “everywhere you can see the sky” is potentially better than no communication at all.
Why is Tesla constantly connected to the Internet?
All Teslas can connect to 4G/LTE mobile networks — this is one of the standard functions of the electric cars using built-in maps and navigation. Owners of models purchased before the end of June 2018 have premium connectivity in the package at no additional cost. These communications are available throughout the life of the vehicle, “except for upgrades required for any outsourced functions or services.” Owners of older models can purchase Tesla’s Premium Connectivity subscription, which costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year.
Previously, Tesla kept in touch through 3G networks. But later the company completely switched to 4G/LTE. So owners of models built before mid-2015 without an LTE-compatible modem were paying an extra $200 to upgrade to stay connected.
4G/LTE networks are still not widespread. Therefore, the connection with Starlink will help solve the problem and ensure constant communication of electric vehicles anywhere on Earth. Moreover, this service will be included in the price of the purchased car for 8 years.
We previously reported how astronomers photographed Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster in space.