Tesla model Pi 2022: phone price, release date and what we know so far

New phone, which runs on solar energy, will be integrated with Starlink's satellites and can even work on Mars, leaks suggest

Tesla’s rumoured future smartphone could also support Neuralink – the technology that could let users control devices with their thoughts. Photo: @Pi_314_NEG via Twitter
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Tesla, the world’s biggest electric vehicle maker, is reportedly working on a futuristic smartphone, potentially named Model Pi.

Despite widespread industry leaks and rumours, the Texas-based company has been tight-lipped about the purported device. It has not confirmed production plans yet and is keeping product development under wraps.

However, industry insiders expect the company to launch its first smartphone late next year or in early 2024.

Tesla, which dissolved its public relations department in October 2020, relies on social media — largely Twitter — to make new announcements.

The company’s billionaire chief executive Elon Musk, who has 78.2 million followers on Twitter, has made a number of company announcements on the social media platform, including the company’s move to drop the usage of Bitcoin and new features of its cars. Tesla's own account has 13.6 million followers.

Here is what we know about Tesla’s smartphone so far.

Compatible with Starlink

The Model Pi smartphone is expected to come with an inbuilt functionality to gain access to Starlink, allowing users to surf the web without relying on Earth-bound telecoms networks.

Established by Mr Musk’s other company SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across various markets. Using satellites in a low orbit, it enables video calls, online gaming and streaming.

The company said it is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable.

Better integration with electric cars

Industry experts say the new phone will be better integrated with Tesla’s cars, giving them more controls through the tap of a button.

It will also reportedly let users perform various vehicular functions such as locking, unlocking and controlling temperature, media and various other features through the phone.

Support Neuralink

Tesla’s new phone could also support Neuralink — the technology that could let users control devices with their thoughts.

Mr Musk cofounded the Neuralink Corporation in 2016 and the company is working to develop implantable chips for the human brain. Once successfully implanted, the chips will let machines convert users’ thoughts into actions.

“Smartwatches and phones are yesterday’s technology. Neuralinks are the future,” Mr Musk said on Twitter.

The company said this technology will enable people who do not have the full use of their limbs to use smartphones even faster than someone using their fingers.

“We are creating the future of brain interfaces … building devices now that will help people with paralysis and inventing new technologies that will expand our abilities, our community and our world,” it added.

Solar charging

Tesla, which also manufactures solar panels, is expected to equip the new phones with solar charging capabilities.

This could be a game-changer for a smartphone industry that is struggling to attract new users due to the lack of innovation and new features.

The company also sells Powerwall, a home battery backup system. It allows users to store solar energy for emergency situations, such as during an overnight power cut.

The Red Planet

Many reports suggest that Mr Musk’s new phone will work on Mars using Starlink connectivity.

At a conference in September 2016, Mr Musk said between 40 and 100 years would be needed to create a self-sustaining civilisation of one million people on Mars.

And those people will naturally need to be able to use the internet.

What is the biggest revenue stream for Tesla?

There is no word yet on a possible price for a phone.

Tesla is currently the most valuable car company, at over $868 billion, more than the combined capitalisation of Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Volkswagen.

The largest share of the Texas-based company’s revenue is EV sales, the majority of which comes from lower-priced Model Y and Model 3 cars.

It reported its largest quarterly net profit between October and December.

The company crossed the $2 billion mark in net profit for the first time despite a global semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions. Its net profit rose about 760 per cent year on year to more than $2.3bn.

Updated: March 21, 2022, 12:23 PM