You don’t need to look like David Hasselhoff to have an interactive car ala Knight Rider, that is if Orange Business Services and Tesla Motors have their way. The two companies announced their partnership on the eve of the Paris Motor Show to provide wireless connectivity to the Tesla Model S in France.
Tesla customers in France will be able to access Orange’s interactive navigation services, web browsing, and Internet radio, among other services using the telecom company’s mobile network and SIM cards. In addition, the service will enable M2M software updates over-the-air and remote diagnostics, pretty much like what KITT had access to in the 80’s TV series. Furthermore, users will be able to access their Tesla S via a smartphone app, Orange Drive, providing real-time location and load status, as well as controlling the car’s door locks, climate control and the like.
And it won’t just be the Roadster (or the Model S) that will benefit from the service, Model X’s will also be able to use Orange’s mobile network.
The service is an offering of Orange through its Smart Cities & Territories program, which was launched in 2011. This is in line with the trend that people not only want environment-friendly means of transport, they also want access to infotainment available on the internet. Entertainment is provided via on-demand Internet radio and communications through the car’s 17-inch touchscreen.
This follows Telsa Motors partnerships with NTT DOCOMO in Japan, AT&T in the US and Telefonica in Spain to provide M2M connectivity and mobile communications for the Tesla Model S in these respective countries.
In France, the M2M contract with Orange will use around 7 GB per month. Though the deal isn’t as advantageous to the telecom company as the one earlier struck with French car maker Renault, it is recognized by company execs as important for Orange’s image.
It may also help Tesla S owners in France look as sexy Michael Knight minus the gas guzzling ways of the old Knight Rider.