Owning a Tesla is like having your entire gaming collection at your fingertips, on the go, especially after the latest Steam integration. So while you are road-tripping with your family, camping in the woods, or charging at a supercharger, you can still have some game time.
And if you are a Tesla owner cum gamer, you definitely have a dedicated pair of gaming controllers in your car, all the time. However, the trouble begins when it turns out to be an Xbox controller.
(Photo : Screenshot From LoFi Alpaca YouTube) Broken Xbox Wireless Controllers Will be Getting a Fix but the Bad News is that Microsoft hasn't Revealed When
What’s wrong with connecting Xbox controller to Tesla?
Even after the latest 2023.26 update allowing you to pair Bluetooth devices wirelessly, Xbox controllers are infamous for being the notorious ones that keep disconnecting. Imagine you are in the middle of an intense gaming moment, just about to defeat the troll in Hogwarts Legacy, and bam! Your controller gets disconnected! You get killed, and the Troll wins!
Will that controller see the light of the day next or go straight out of the window? For most people, it would at least have a minor bump from being dumped into the center console a little too hard. This is why, if you own an Xbox controller, you must know the right way to connect it with your Tesla.
How to connect Xbox controller to Tesla
First of all, not all Xbox controllers are Bluetooth-compatible. So, they may not connect with your Tesla wirelessly. Some of the Bluetooth Xbox controllers that can pair well with Tesla's infotainment system include:
- Xbox 360 controller
- Xbox One controller
- Xbox Elite Series controller
- Xbox Series X|S controller
So, in case you have a different controller or a wired controller, you might need to connect it via the USB port.
Another reason why not all Bluetooth controllers might connect with your Tesla is that Tesla supports “Classic Bluetooth” but not Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). So you need to ensure you have the right Bluetooth technology to connect.
Let’s discuss all the ways you can pair the Xbox controller with your Tesla.
How to connect a wired Xbox controller to Tesla
If you have a wired controller, you can simply plug it into any one of the data-supporting USB ports in your car. In the latest Tesla M3 models, the data ports are located all the way in the glove box, however, models released before November 2021 have the data port in the center console.
Also, if you want to have a multiplayer competition with your family or friends, simply plugin a multiple-port USB hub and connect more than one Xbox controller to your Tesla. You can choose from several Jowua USB hubs depending on your car model and year.
How to connect a wireless Xbox controller to Tesla
Now comes the difficult part - how to connect a wireless Xbox controller to Tesla. There are two cases here. If you have the latest software update, you can pair it directly, although the connection seems to be quite buggy. However, if you still haven’t updated your car, you will need an additional adapter.
How to connect Xbox controller to Tesla using the Bluetooth Adapter
For people who haven’t yet got the update, you’ll need an 8bitdo Bluetooth adapter. Once you have one, follow the below steps:
- Plug in the adapter in the data-supported USB port
- Switch on the adapter’s pairing mode. Most adapters come with a light indicator which lights up when the adapter is paired with the car
- Press the Xbox button at the top of your controller for a few seconds until it lights up,
- Press and hold the pairing button for three seconds
- Once pairing is complete, the lights on your controller and the adapter will stop blinking
- You’ll see the “controller is connected” message on your screen
How to connect Xbox controller to Tesla directly
If you have the latest 2023.26 update, you can pair your controller directly without the adapter. Follow the below steps:
- Click on the Bluetooth button on your screen
- Select the “add a new device” option
- Press the Xbox button at the top of your controller for a few seconds until it lights up
- Press and hold the pairing button for three seconds
- Search for the device on the screen
- Select the Xbox wireless controller from your screen
- Once pairing is complete, the light on your controller will stop blinking and the device will start showing on the screen under the paired devices list with a green dot against it
As not all games are controller-supported, select a game that is, such as Sky Force Reloaded, to test out your paired controllers.
Why Xbox controllers aren’t your best choice
While in an ideal scenario, your Xbox controller, once paired, should be ready to roll but we don’t live in an ideal world.
If you read through the Tesla Gaming forums, such as Tesla Motors Club, you will find that many other gamers have encountered unusual issues pairing Xbox controllers with Tesla. Some have been resolved but some still persist. Some issues include:
- Pairing successful but ABXY buttons not working: This issue has not yet been resolved.
- The controller doesn't appear in the "add new devices" section: Several users faced this issue while pairing their Xbox and PS4 controllers directly via Bluetooth. However, a user was able to pair his XBOX One controller (Model 1708) following the same instructions we mentioned above. He paired the controller with a 2023 M3 Tesla RWD, on the update version 2023.26.7.
- Inconsistent Performance: Users have also complained that even after successful pairing the performance is inconsistent within the same car and across different cars. When connected to the same car over time, the connection drops are frequent. Also if two cars are on the same version the controller connects to one and doesn’t connect to another.
- Device Pairing Limitation: As of August 2023 you can only pair up to 2 devices via Bluetooth in your Tesla. Which means you will need to connect the other controllers via the USB port.
- Not all gaming features work: Some users have complained of being unable to use Gyro mode when connected via Bluetooth but can use both Gyro and Rumble when plugged into a USB port.
Even Tesla itself recommends a PS5 controller as your best choice to pair with the Tesla infotainment system. However, if you don’t own a PS5, then investing $70 on a PS5 controller doesn’t make much sense.
Instead, it would be better to go with something like Jowua’s Wireless Multi-Device Tesla Gaming Controller.
Why Jowua controllers are your best choice
There are several reasons why you should choose a Jowua controller or the combo version:
1. Multi-Device Compatibility: The device comes with a device switching button to allow you to pair with Tesla Models (S, 3, X, Y), Nintendo Switch, Apple Arcade & Android. Also, you can play Steam games in Tesla Models S & X using Jowua controllers.
2. Multiple-Connectivity Modes: Jowua controllers can connect the consoles through the included USB transmitters, or directly via Bluetooth. So you don't need to buy any additional 8bitDo adapters.
3. Compact: These are specially designed to neatly fit your Tesla center and armrest consoles. You can leave them in the car or take them around in your pocket anywhere you go. They are 42% smaller compared to an Xbox controller and are much lighter as they weigh only 145g.
4. Triple Performance Modes: Jowua gaming controllers come with next-level performance features including:
- Built-in Dual Vibration Motor with 5 vibration levels
- 6-Axis Gyro Sensor
- 3-Level Auto Adjustable Turbo
These controllers are designed to ensure that your gaming experience is exciting and uninterrupted.
5. Long Lasting Battery Life: Jowua controllers come with 600 mAh batteries that can offer you 8 hours of nonstop gaming and charge completely in just 2 hours. If you leave them on standby, they can run for a maximum of 25 days on a single charge.
6. Cost-Effective: A single controller is under $50 which is much cheaper compared to PS5 and Xbox controllers. Also if you get the combo version, you can get 2 controllers and a 4-port USB Hub for just $120 as of September 2023.
Wrapping it up
So, while Xbox controllers are great for gaming on Xbox, they might not be the right choice for Tesla gaming. Instead of going for a PS5 controller without owning a PS5, Jowua controllers are a much better choice because they pair with multiple devices and are specially designed keeping Tesla in mind.
Also, Jowua controllers come with Bluetooth transmitters that allow you to plug in the controllers in the USB port without buying an additional adapter.
Video evidence of 4 player gaming with our controllers. It can be done! pic.twitter.com/RQpX1J5LaK— Jowua (@JowuaLife) August 8, 2023
We tested 4 of our controllers simultaneously - 2 paired directly and 2 plugged in and they all worked amazingly well. Hope this helps you pick the right controllers for your Tesla.