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2013 Tesla Model S: Plays Any Song by Voice Activation?

March 2, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

In a recent interview/product show-off with Bloomberg, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a feature of the Model S even we as owners didn't know about: Press and hold the voice button, and the Tesla Model S will play any song you ask it for.

Of course, the Tesla doesn't have the world's largest hard drive, rather, the Model S is constantly connected to the Internet where it can take advantage of Stitcher Internet radio. It works great when Elon is demo'ing it for a smitten TV reporter. Does it work as well when we try?

Not quite.

In the video, you see some clever editing by Bloomberg. The way it appears in the piece by Bloomberg, is that the track plays instantly. Watch closer, and you'll notice that there's a cut scene immediately after every request. What happens in that cut scene? Well, a few seconds (about 5) of the system "thinking" followed by a screen prompt that requires you to pick the track/artist/playlist/genre you were looking for.

Despite the cuts by Bloomberg, the system is fast, finding songs off of the 'Net faster than the original version of Sync would search a connected iPod. And while the system works incredibly well, there were some hiccups.

When asked to play artist "Franz Nicolay" the system searched for "Frans Nicolai" and returned no results. When asked to play an obscure track off of one of his albums, the system worked as advertised. The same thing happened with the band "Phish." The Tesla searched for "Fish" and retuned no results related to the hippie band. Ask it to play a track by Phish, however, and the appropriate song popped right up.

Did it play every song? Almost. It certainly played every mainstream track we could think of. Only one band, Mischief Brew, a small, self-releasing folk/punk outfit out of Philly, stumped the system. Watch the video below to see how it works without cuts for drama/watchability. After an entire night of fiddling with the system, this was the only gap we found.

Even if not exactly as advertised, it works, and it's cool.

(Guest hands provided by new Associate Editor Travis Langness.)

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 974 miles

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