I explored a bold modification on my Tesla: the integration of an additional screen. But does this modification really address the small frustrations encountered with the Tesla system? Is it easy to install? What advantages and disadvantages? I suggest you see this.
After a trip of more than 40,000 km in a Tesla Model 3, and nearly 20,000 km in a Model Y, it’s hard to blame these two electric cars for anything. If we really wanted to quibble, we could mention the somewhat disappointing turning radius or their dimensions, which are not always suitable for the narrow streets of European cities or for parking spaces. But, as a tech lover, my main sticking point happens to be its infotainment system.
Tesla’s in-house OS is somewhat one of the strengths of these cars: versatile, packed with features, constantly updated, but… closed. Yes, this closed ecosystem is frustrating. You cannot install other applications than those offered. A bit like the iPhone in its infancy.
On the other hand, the presence of a single central screen raises questions. Ergonomics, if you take the time to think about it, is not optimal for the driver. Constantly swiveling your gaze to consult the GPS or check your speed is far from ideal. The Model S and X, with their screen in front of the driver, seem to have understood this subtlety. If the Model 3 and Y do not have it, it is essentially a question of cost.
Faced with these two frustrations, I took a bold decision: integrate a screen behind my steering wheel. My requirements were clear: aesthetic design, simple installation, and above all, compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while displaying essential driving information.
But there you have it, the challenges were many. The market does not abound with official offers suitable for this kind of Tesla project. The available solutions are more DIY than real finished products. In addition, the official guarantees remain vague vis-à-vis these modifications. My contact at Tesla confirmed to me that this request is a niche one, affecting a small segment of owners. However, he expressed reservations about the warranty, indicating that such a modification, if poorly carried out, could cause some inconvenience such as a buzzing sound in the passenger compartment if the assembly is incorrectly reassembled.
So, first step, before embarking on such an adventure, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons. Make sure you fully understand the implications, both in terms of warranty and security. For my part, I chose to embrace the geek side in me, while accepting the potential risks.
My choice: a solution from Hansshow
In search of a solution to satisfy my technological desires, my research directed me towards the brand Hansshow, a player in the world of Tesla accessories. Their offers are varied, oscillating between pure extravagance and tools with obvious utility: screens for rear passengers, yoke steering wheels, and even electric roof sunshades.
I finally set my sights on a 9-inch touchscreen model, which met my criteria perfectly. The latter is not only compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but it is also widely documented by the community of Tesla aficionados, which has greatly simplified its installation.
From a technical point of view, the Hansshow screen offers a pleasant visual experience thanks to an IPS LCD panel displaying a definition of 1920 x 720 pixels, and therefore a resolution retina, with good brightness. Under the hood, there is an ARM chip powering a GNU/Linux OS, with a remarkably fast boot time. Supported by 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, the machine lives up to expectations in terms of performance.
Ergonomics was clearly at the heart of Hansshow’s concerns when designing this screen. With thin edges, a screen with rounded edges and its capacity for OTA updates. The no-frills interface comes in three distinct themes, providing the driver with all the necessary information: current speed, remaining range, safe distance, speed alerts, and many other warnings essential for safe driving.
One of the main strengths of this Hansshow screen is its ability to operate both autonomously and in conjunction with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, completely wirelessly. This absence of cables not only contributes to a clean aesthetic, but also simplifies the life of the driver. No more superfluous manipulations, everything is designed for fluid and intuitive use.
Despite the wireless connection with the smartphone, no latency is to be deplored. Whether it’s starting up the screen or navigating through its various features, everything runs with speed. And that’s precisely what we’re looking for in a vehicle like the Tesla Model 3 or Y, where every millisecond counts (when you’re a geek).
The adaptability of the display is another major asset. If you’re an avid CarPlay user, for example, you have the option of exploiting the full width of the screen for total immersion. And if you want to keep an eye on your instruments while benefiting from CarPlay, a 2/3 split-screen mode for CarPlay and 1/3 for the instruments is available (this is the one I chose).
A relatively simple installation process
One of the aspects that initially held me back was of course the issue of installation. If, like me, tinkering isn’t your forte, tampering with a vehicle like the Tesla Model 3 or the Y can feel like an act of sacrilege. The first generation of this Hansshow display, despite its strengths, had one major drawback: the need to connect directly to the car’s 12V battery.
However, the second generation radically changes the game. It integrates so seamlessly with the Model 3 and Y that you’d think they were designed with that screen in mind. The necessary connectors are easily found on the right side, making installation much less daunting. Hansshow even provides an accessory to avoid blocking the airflow of the vent.
Dismantling the Model 3’s center console can seem terrifying at first glance. But, to my surprise, the reality is much sweeter. The components fit together naturally and you only need to pull with a certain delicacy to disassemble them. And for those like me who are worried about not having the right tool, rest assured: Hansshow has thought of everything by including the necessary tool right in the box.
If we had to estimate the duration of the installation, 30 minutes would be a fair approximation. Although it requires a minimum of dexterity, the operation does not require special skills.
Although I would have liked to provide you with a detailed guide, this article is intended to be a feedback rather than a tutorial. But don’t worry, the web is full of resources to help you. I highly recommend that you take a look at the many tutorials available on YouTube. It doesn’t matter what your mother tongue is, it’s a safe bet that someone, somewhere, has shared their know-how to facilitate your installation.
From the first use, the Hansshow presents itself as a ready-to-use device. However, like many tech gadgets, I strongly recommend that you perform an OTA update as soon as you turn it on. This guarantees, not only an optimal experience, but also the correction of possible bugs. In my case, the update was quick and efficient: thanks to the shared connection of my iPhone, the operation was completed in just three minutes.
The speed of use of the Hansshow does not stop at the update. Indeed, the CarPlay connection with the iPhone is almost instantaneous. The process is intuitive: after pairing the device via Bluetooth, simply follow the instructions that appear on your iPhone screen. In a few keystrokes, everything is ready.
In use, the Hansshow offers various options for audio output. Although it is equipped with an integrated loudspeaker, it is possible to prefer the use of the loudspeakers of the Tesla. In my case, having paired my iPhone with the car, I opted for the latter option, thus guaranteeing optimal sound immersion.
You can also combine the two: keep the Tesla audio system for music, and have audio instructions directly from the touchscreen.
The importance of OTA updates
It should be noted that OTA updates are not a mere luxury, but a necessity for third-party devices like the Hansshow. Indeed, Tesla regularly updates its OS, and this constant evolution can sometimes cause compatibility problems. Hansshow’s OTA updates ensure permanent adaptation to these changes, thus guaranteeing longevity.
Why did I do it?
First, it is necessary to understand the context behind this addition. The GPS navigation offered by Tesla, far from being bad, had its share of disappointments. It happened to me several times to face failures or poorly optimized routes, enough to erode confidence in the long run. What’s more, the integrated system is basic, omitting crucial details like accident alerts or speed control zones.
Then, Tesla’s closed OS also has its downside. Although stable and fluid, it deprives us of a whole world of third-party applications, responding to specific needs.
The ergonomic aspect is also to be taken into account. Sure, Tesla’s central display is large and easily visible, but sometimes it’s just more intuitive to look down to check quick information like speed or GPS directions. The addition of a Hansshow screen behind the steering wheel meets this need perfectly.
I cannot stress enough that this article is not a product recommendation. It was primarily a personal experience, a test to determine the viability of such an addition. Overall, the balance sheet is positive. No major drawbacks to report.
As you can see, it works. And, it remains very dispensable as an accessory. This is additional comfort for the driver. I could have done without it, and kept what also makes the charm of these cars: minimalism.
How much does it cost ?
The cost of this screen Hansshow varies by location of purchase. You could spend between 250 and 330 euros. The model is compatible Model 3 and Y, whether you are equipped with the Intel or AMD processor.
On AliExpress, the device is usually cheaper, but be careful to choose the latest version. Personally, my preference fell on Amazon. Admittedly, it was a little more expensive, but with the assurance of an easy return in the event of a problem or dissatisfaction.
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