Summary: I chose to go with this suction cup mount with an extra arm support. The model I picked does not have wireless charging, but there is a similar model with wireless charging. I just installed it and the suction seems to hold extremely firmly. More details of the decision process below.
I’ve had my Tesla Model 3 for almost 5 months now. One of the main features I am missing on the Model 3 is Android Auto (or Apple Car Play). My 2016 Subaru did not have it either, and the mirrorlink feature didn’t work anything like what I was hoping. I instead used a magnetic vent mount to keep my phone just above and to the right of the Subaru infotainment screen. It worked pretty well. I use it almost entirely for Google Maps as I really like the alternate routes visualizations Google Maps provides. Waze has some features I like better than Maps, but last I checked, the alternate routes was not that great while on a trip.
I’ve been using the built in navigation on the Tesla. The screen is beautiful and the basic navigation works well. However, it does not allow for viewing alternate routes. At least not that I have seen. Maybe someday Tesla will add it. It hasn’t been an issue lately, because traffic has been dramatically reduced due to COVID-19 recently. Traffic is starting to pick up a little and I expect it will go up further once school starts in the next few weeks. I decided it was time to find a way to mount my phone next to the Tesla screen, to keep a live view of Google Maps.
There is a pretty comprehensive thread on Tesla Motors Club with people’s solutions for phone mounts in the Model 3. One of the more popular approaches was the XVIDA wireless charging mount, with a detailed review in a separate thread. In that thread, they post many photos of similar types of mounts. I was surprised to find that the reviews of the XVIDA wireless magnetic mount are not nearly as good as the comments on Tesla Motors Club – the issues seem to be more with the magnetic attachment combined with wireless charging issues. I chose to go with a model that has claws to grab the phone. I figured I’d see how that works compared to the magnetic mount that I had for years. Perhaps I should have gone with a more rigid mount that doesn’t have a bendable arm. I’ll have to see how much movement I get when going over bumps. I didn’t do the best job mounting the arm support close to the phone holder, so I may try that adjustment if I notice too much movement.
The suction seems VERY secure, between whatever stickiness they have combined with the suction. Hopefully the direct sun that area often gets won’t create too much heat and cause it to lose suction. Also, the arm support that sticks on (without suction) may not hold that well with direct heat. They do provide a few more adhesive pads if you want to move it, but I’m not sure how well they will stick in an area with heat. I may consider trying to adjust the mount to get the arm support closer to the phone holder to make it even more stable. It does jiggle a little bit when on bumpy roads, but not much.
One challenge was trying to find a good orientation and placement. I’m used to using Google Maps in portrait mode, so that was my preference. I had to adjust the phone position and the steering wheel height to try to make as much of the phone visible without blocking the road. I have a pretty big phone (6″ screen with the phone 6.32″ x 3.00″) and it probably would fit better if I push the mount further back, behind the Tesla screen. Right now, it is about flush with the screen and seems like it will work pretty well. When I had it in front of the Tesla screen, the phone was pretty close to the gear shifter/selector and I worried it may be hard to move into reverse or de-activate autopilot.
If other people found better solutions, please share in the comments below.