3 Simple Ways to Connect a Game Controller to Your Tesla

Using your Tesla as a game console wouldn’t be among its most popular uses—but it’s nonetheless possible. The first thing you need to do is to connect a game controller to your Tesla. There are a few different ways that you can do this:

  • Use an adapter: There are a number of adapters available that will allow you to connect your game controller to your Tesla. This is probably the most straightforward way to do it.
  • Use Bluetooth: If your game controller supports Bluetooth, you can simply pair it with your Tesla and start playing.
  • Use a USB cable: Most game controllers can be connected to a Tesla via a USB cable. Simply plug the controller into the USB port, and you should be good to go.

But how do you do it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about connecting a game controller to your Tesla. From the best game controllers to use, to the games that are compatible with Tesla and even the limitations you should be aware of, we’ve got all the information you need.

Game Controller Compatibility with Tesla Models

No matter which method you choose, connecting a game controller to your Tesla should be easy. You sadly can’t control the car with a game controller, but maybe it’s better to leave that for video games.

Not all Tesla models are compatible with game controllers. However, if you bought your Tesla in the last few years, chances are it is.

The Model S and Model X have a more robust entertainment system, and they’re compatible with most gamepads. The Model 3 and Model Y have lower processing power and may not be compatible with every controller.

Tesla ModelController SupportProcessing power
Tesla Model SFull Controller SupportSupports high-end gaming
Tesla Model XFull Controller SupportSupports high-end gaming
Tesla Model 3 Limited Controller Support (Center Console USB Ports only support charging devices)Supports low-end gaming
Tesla Model YLimited Controller Support (Center Console USB Ports only support charging devices)Supports low-end gaming
This is a table showing the compatibility of Tesla models with game controllers.

What Games Can You Play on a Tesla?

You can play a small catalog of simple 3D and 2D games on a Tesla, including Stardew Valley, Cubhead, and SkyForce Reloaded. However, Tesla hardware is capable of running AAA games.

After looking at the table above, you’re probably thinking that using “high-end gaming” is an overstatement. Well, it’s actually not far-fetched at all: the new Teslas Model S and X come with a 10-teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU. Just to put that into perspective the PlayStation 5 also has 10-teraflop GPU.

This means that Elon’s promise of being able to play Cyberpunk 2077 on your Tesla might be realized soon. Not all of those teraflops will be available for gaming, but it’s still a huge improvement.

However, even though Models S and X have the right specs, they still have a quite small game catalog—one they share with new Models 3 and Y. It’s limited to games with not demanding graphics, but you have some jewels like Cuphead and Stardew Valley.

Elon says they’re working to bring Steam to Tesla, but it’s not certain when this may happen.

Can You Use Game Controllers While You Drive Your Tesla?

You can’t use a game controller while you drive your Tesla. You can only use a game controller when the car is parked. When a Tesla is in autopilot mode, game controllers are disabled. 

The ability to play games while on autopilot was introduced by Tesla in a software update without much fuss, but it was soon disabled after it came to the eye of regulatory institutions. Elon Musk has stated that the feature might come back once full-autopilot driving becomes legal in major countries.

Can You Connect to Older Tesla Models?

It may be possible to connect game controllers to older Tesla models, but it will depend on the model and the game controller. Games on older Teslas are designed to work with the steering wheel or the touchscreen.

There sadly isn’t a straight answer to this question. In any case, older Teslas are only capable of running basic arcade games—mostly Atari classics.

The Best Game Controllers for Teslas

Xbox Wireless Controller

You can’t go wrong with the Xbox Wireless Controller. It’s compatible with almost anything and it’s extremely comfortable. Some people find it to be on the smaller side of the controller spectrum, but it will fit most hands just right.

Xbox Wireless Controller – Black
The only downside of the Xbox controller is that it’s slightly expensive. However, it makes for an excellent PC controller, so you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller

The PS5 controller came with many advanced features, such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. This is also why it’s more expensive than most controllers.

Playstation Dualsense Wireless Controller
These features are definitely worth it on a PS5, but they will go to waste on the simpler experiences you can get on a Tesla.

However, the DualSense controller makes the list because of its convenience. If you already have a PS5, you can simply plug in the controller and play. However, it will only work with a wired connection. If you want it to work wirelessly, you may need to buy an adapter.

Powera Enhanced Wired Controller For Xbox Series X|S - Black
Maybe you don’t have a console or a gaming PC and just want something simple you can use in your Tesla, or perhaps you don’t want to move your controllers around.

Whatever the case, if you need a cheap, reliable controller, look no further than the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller.

Logitech F710 Wireless Controller

It may not be the flashiest controller out there, but if you want a full-featured controller on a budget, the Logitech F710 is hard to beat. It’s easy to set up, has a long battery life, and it’s comfortable to hold.

Logitech F710 Wireless Gamepad, 2.4 Ghz Wireless With Usb Nano-Receiver, Controller Dual Vibration Feedback, 4 Switch D-Pad, Pc - Grey/Black
The controller is quite durable, too. If you want to spend as little money as possible and still get a wireless connection, this is the controller for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Drive a Tesla With a Game Controller?

You can’t drive Teslas with a game controller. Game controllers in a Tesla can only be used to play games and control simple software features, such as the music player and the navigation system.

Can You Connect Nintendo Switch to Tesla?

It is possible to connect a Nintendo switch to a Tesla, but it’s a complicated process that may require rooting your Tesla. The Switch has an HDMI output, but Teslas don’t have an HDMI input.

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3 Simple Ways to Connect a Game Controller to Your Tesla 1
Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.