Tesla’s Gift to the World Allows Anyone to Turn Their Car Into a Light Show Machine

The feature is part of the company's holiday update.

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Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

Here comes Tesla with the gift you never knew you wanted (or don’t really want but hey, you know what they say about looking a gift horse in the mouth). Last Christmas, it gave its cars the ability to fart and bleat like goats. Apparently feeling more generous this year, Tesla decided that everyone needed a feature to turn their cars into light show machines.

As part of its latest holiday update released on Christmas Eve, Tesla debuted “Tesla Light Show,” which allows users to create their own light shows to any music of their choice. To create a light show, which can last up to five minutes, users must download xLights, a free open-source software. After finishing their light show in xLights, users can put it on a USB and upload it to their car.

They can even download lightshows from other creators, the automaker said in a blog announcing the feature.


Light Show works with 2021 Tesla Model S and Model X cars as well as any Model 3 or Model Y. However, you don’t have to own a Tesla car to use the light show feature or xLights, the company explained, although it didn’t specify what other vehicles would be able to take advantage of the feature.

As I haven’t been to a concert, which is typically the only place where I see light shows, in a while because of the pandemic, it was a little difficult to imagine this feature in action. Luckily, Tesla teamed up with Santa—or possibly CEO Elon Musk in a Santa suit—to make an example on Instagram.


It’s not entirely clear if the Santa in the video is Musk, though quite a few users on Instagram seemed to think it was. Although it would be in character for Musk to do this, I have my doubts as to whether he dances that well. In addition, this seems like something he would gleefully share on Twitter, his favorite social media platform, but there was no post to be seen at the time of publication of this article.


Besides Light Show, Tesla’s holiday software update also included new games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Sudoku, and the multiplayer version of The Battle of Polytopia. The company also added TikTok to the car’s center touchscreen and debuted Boombox Megaphone, a feature that allows Tesla owners to project their voice using the car’s external speaker, among many others.

Honestly, even though the feature is available to all, it doesn’t really seem like just anyone would be able to create a light show. The software’s getting started guide on GitHub is pages and pages long. Sure, the feature is nice and all, but I don’t know if I want to spend hours of my life trying to make a five-minute light show.


Nonetheless, I’m sure there are others who might really get a kick out of this and won’t mind putting in the time and effort. To those people: Merry Christmas.