This isn't your father's electric vehicle. In fact, it belongs, in part, to "Ma Bell."
It was revealed at the GigaOM Mobilize 2013 in San Francisco yesterday that the network powering the connected features in the Tesla Model S is from AT&T. Actually, the AT&T connection is in every Tesla model with an infotainment screen, according to Forbes, so we'll assume that means the upcoming Model X will also talk to the AT&T Death Star for its data needs. Model S drivers won't notice any difference from behind the wheel, since the deal has been in place for a while, just without any AT&T logos anywhere. As before, some functions of the car can be remotely accessed and Tesla can track driver statistics and where the car is, in case it gets stolen.
It is AT&T's machine-to-machine (M2M) solution that let's Tesla CEO Elon Musk snag information about a particular car that's been in the news, due to a fire, say, or a range-depleting drive. Forbes says M2M is "increasingly strategic to [AT&T's] growth." The telecommunication company also works with the Ford Focus Electric, General Motor's OnStar network and will make most new GM car's WiFi hotspots by the 2015 model year.
AT&T's Chris Penrose, senior vice president of emerging devices, did say that the Model S could get an additional feature soon. "We think that you should have the ability to turn your car on as a mobile hotspot for your trip, even if you haven't subscribed to a data plan," he said, according to GigaOM.