After seeing a number of controllers that didn’t work in Tesla vehicles, we decided to quickly compile a list of controller models that do work. Ranging from the most common to the most affordable.
Tesla’s website and manuals simply list gaming with a controller as using a “USB-compatible” game controller. However, not all controllers are created equal and this includes how compatible they are with devices when it comes to plug and play. We’ve actually come across more models that don’t work than they do and the company doesn’t list actual compatible options. So you can use ours (here) instead!
Note: With the controller options below, it’s important to remember that each USB controller requires you to connect it to a port that supports data. Some USB ports are for charging only. Some of the older models supported data through the front dash ports, but the later models only support data through the glove box port. So you have to be careful which port you use. If the port doesn’t accept USB drives for music and other activities, it doesn’t support controllers either.
Official Xbox wireless/wired controller
We jumped into things and wanted to start with one of the most common options out there. The official Xbox controller is by far one of the most used controllers by users (and probably the first for which Tesla added support). These controllers can be used both wired and wireless.
If you go wired, you can plug this controller into any data-supported port in your Tesla and it’s ready to go for any game that supports a controller.
However, going wireless can be a little trickier. You want to make sure the controller is one of the latest versions of the Xbox controller (Xbox Series X/S generation) that supports Bluetooth connectivity. Then you’ll want to use a dongle to connect it to your vehicle. 8Bitdo makes one that happens to be the most popular among users (although you may need to update the firmware on the adapter for it to work). Another popular option is the Mayflash Magic-NS adapter for PlayStation and Nintendo Switch Pro controllers (if you don’t like using the Xbox controllers). Again, make sure you connect the adapter to a data-compatible port, then pair the adapter and controller together (one controller per adapter).
You could also opt for the Xbox Elite controllers, but those are a bit expensive for in-car gaming versus a PC where they can take full advantage.
PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller (most popular third party option)
As the title implies, this is one of the most popular third-party options for Tesla vehicles out there. Verified to work by so many, these controllers usually run between $30-$38 and come in a variety of colors and designs (most of these designs can be found on Amazon). They are cheaper than the official Xbox controllers, which some may find appealing.
The only catch, as the quality takes a step back, as they’re third-party and from who-knows-where, so make sure you don’t have any joystick drift or other issues before you decide to keep it. Fortunately, there are many satisfied users, so you will probably have a good experience with this one.
Logitech F310 wired gamepad controller (most affordable)
For those who like to save some money, this is by far one of the most affordable options out there. Especially for those who prefer a design closer to the PlayStation controllers. The buttons are laid out as Xbox while the shape is closest to PS while coming from Logitech (a leader in computer and gaming peripherals). Best of all, it only costs about $17.99 on Amazon at the time of writing. Obviously, the price could change at any time, but even Logitech has it for $19.99, so it feels like the price will stay below the others now and in the future (hopefully).
Like the PowerA or taking the official Xbox controller wired, it simply plugs into a data compatible port in your Tesla and should be fine to use with any game supported with a controller.
This is a great deal for a controller that works with the Tesla vehicles, as well as any modern PC. Plus, Logitech is known for the quality of its products, so it should last for years as long as you take good care of it. It’s really starting to give PowerA some competition as well, as it slowly gains traction within the Tesla community, diverting attention away from the PowerA controllers. Of course, it doesn’t look nearly as cool as some of their designs.
Hopefully Tesla opens up compatibility a bit to controllers so it becomes a little more universal. It can probably do this by supporting Bluetooth directly in the car rather than using adapters. This would make things a lot more user-friendly and allow you to take just about any bluetooth-enabled controller you have lying around and link it to your vehicle (presumably). Until then, we are limited in what we can all use.
So we hope this short guide was helpful in your search for compatible controllers and that you haven’t already gone through a few options that didn’t work. If you have experience of additional options that work, please share in the comments below.