Market Insight

Tesla elaborates its uniqueness in the digital instrument cluster

November 17, 2014

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Tesla has maintained its position of being unique in the automotive industry. IHS teardowns show that the high bill of electronics reflects in the 12.3” digital instrument cluster.

This panel has a 1280 by 480-resolution LCD from Japan Display Inc. which happens to be one of the Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6-plus supplier. In terms of semiconductor content, this virtual instrument cluster has four times the semiconductor value compared to a hybrid instrument cluster such as the one in Ford Edge SEL.

The semiconductor content in Tesla’s instrument cluster is exceeding well above $100 but the main difference in the bill of electronics is the NVIDIA Visual Computing Module. This extension module is another confirmation of Tesla’s distinctive approach for its vehicles.

This visual computing module features a Tegra 2 processor and even though many other automakers are using this processor in their head units, Tesla has leap-forged its counterparts by introducing it in its instrument cluster panel.

Only a handful OEMs has such high computing power in their instrument cluster. Audi TT, Lamborghini Huracan and now Tesla model S are in this list at the moment. This simply confirms the entry of the consumer electronics suppliers in the automotive market.

The trend is to move from conventional analog to hybrid and fully digital instrument clusters. At the moment the premium OEMs are going for digital approach for their high-end vehicles but in the long run having digital instrument clusters in all the vehicles would be a sensible option too. Not only are the displays getting cheaper with every passing day but this digital approach is less likely to be damaged compared to real moving parts. More importantly it gives the driver multiple options to play with. And who knows, in future the instrument cluster and the head unit may just become one integrated unit.

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