We've known about the upcoming 2012 Tesla Model S electric sedan for a few years now and despite the projected lower $50,000 pricetag, it's expected to offer even more technology than the relatively simple Roadster. We've known for a while that the interior would feature a high technology touch-screen center stack, and now we know what'll be powering it.
Tesla have announced that the interior screen and instrument cluster will utilize two Nvidia Tegra chips. One of the chips will power the largest display ever to be seen in a car - a 17 inch touch-screen with 3-D graphics. The other will handle the 3-D graphics of the Model S instrument cluster and display information on the vehicle's performance.
So what drew Tesla towards the Tegra? The chips are known for their "exceptional energy efficiency" which is of great importance in electric cars where every kilowatt-hour counts. The less energy used by display screens, the more you have for driving. Nvidia started the Tegra chip as a blank-sheet design in order to build one of the most energy efficient and powerful chips out there.
Althought Nvidia have been struggling to crack the cell phone market with the chip, it should be ideal for use in the Model S. Nvidia is no doubt banking on the technology moving over from the cell phone market into more and more vehicles, so by working with Tesla both companies are getting into the market early.