Elon Musk is teasing Grand Theft Auto V on the Tesla, but how possible is it?

The Model 3's infotainment system likely isn't up to the job by itself, and you have to wonder where it'll get the extra computing horsepower.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
3 min read

Imagine this, but with more stuff you'd hopefully never do in real life.


People seem to love it when Tesla adds new playable games to its vehicles' infotainment systems, and as time has gone on, the Big T has gotten more and more ambitious with the kinds of games it's ported.

First, we saw some retro games -- Atari games mostly -- followed by lightweight games like Fallout Shelter. It got more serious with a racing game that allowed you to steer and brake with the vehicle's steering wheel and pedals. Then CEO Elon Musk teased that The Witcher was coming to Tesla, though that hasn't materialized, and now he's talking about Grand Theft Auto V on Twitter.

We've reached out to Tesla for further information, but so far, we've gotten no response, which means that it's time for some wild speculation. First, we should determine if the could even run a game like GTA V, and if so, could it do it well enough to make it fun to play?

Well, to start, let's look at the system requirements for Grand Theft Auto V. Not surprisingly, since the game came out way back in 2013, it's pretty easy to run on even basic hardware. The PC minimum specs are a four-core CPU clocked at around 2.5GHz, 4GB of RAM, a video card with 1GB of video RAM and a whopping 65GB of hard drive space. Recommended specs are basically double the minimum ones.

While those are pretty much "it'll run on a potato" requirements for a PC, can the Tesla's MCU2 as found in the Model 3 handle them? Well, based on CPU alone, we'd say no. The MCU2 runs on Intel's Atom E8000-series CPU, which does meet Rockstar Games' required core count of four, but only runs at 1.04GHz -- less than half of what the game wants.

What that doesn't take into account is Tesla's powerful in-house Autopilot computer, as seen in the current HW3 configuration on all Teslas. The question is whether the car's engineers could find a way to make a game run on hardware that likely wasn't designed with that in mind and, frankly, it's a distinct possibility.

Watch this: These Grand Theft Auto V mods are insane

We know that Tesla's FSD computer will perform 72 teraflops (a teraflop being 1 million million floating-point operations per second), using both of its AI chips. At the same time, the new Mac Pro -- for example -- is capable of 56 teraflops, which means that the Tesla FSD hardware is a serious number cruncher. Microsoft rates its Xbox One X at just 12 teraflops.

Despite copious amounts of digging, Roadshow hasn't been able to determine precisely how the Tesla Arcade games are handled by the car, so we can't conclusively say whether GTA V is likely from a hardware standpoint. Still, if it is, then it would seem that plenty of other modern games are too, with some tweaking by Tesla's engineers, of course.

If you don't want to wait for new games to hit your Tesla, you can check out an app that already exists called Rainway that will run games on your PC at home and stream them directly to your car's screen. You can use a wired Xbox or Playstation controller to play them. It's a workaround, sure, but when you tell your friends that your Model 3 can, in fact, run Crysis, you'll only be kind of lying.

Silently feel the wind in your hair with the Tesla Model 3 convertible

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Watch this: Tesla Arcade just made in-car gaming way more fun