May be a first in controlling a car.

May be a first in controlling a car.

Well today I was able to use my iPhone 5 to control all the normal things: lights, horn, lock/unlock, etc. In my MS. The only difference is that i am sitting in the rural area of souhern Myanmar (Burma) about 170 miles south of the capital of Yangon ((Rangoon) exactly on the opposite side of the world from where my MS is located in Central NJ!

nickjhowe | 15. februar 2013


Brian H | 15. februar 2013

Are you sure it really did all that stuff? >;) POIDH

kilimats | 15. februar 2013

ROFL, pretty sure you delayed your model S delivery by a good week, the technician will spend all this time figuring out what the hell is wrong with your car

kenliles | 15. februar 2013

That would make a fantastic ad for Tesla You should get that to Tesla marketing or tweet to Elon
Gotta love it

Brian H | 15. februar 2013

Already has the car, it's parked at home. No technicians nearby.

Brian H | 15. februar 2013

typo: kilimats

Robert22 | 15. februar 2013

Don't forget to check the ambient temperature of your garage....

jat | 15. februar 2013

The app won't show you the ambient temperature, but the API protocol does. However, the interior and ambient temperatures aren't available except after you have started auto HVAC, but you can turn it on briefly and back off.

Robert22 | 15. februar 2013

Apologies, I meant ambient cabin temperature. It isn't necessary to turn the HVAC on to read cabin temperature as it is displayed when the climate button is selected.

Brian H | 16. februar 2013

Sounds like the display doesn't know what "ambient" means..."completely enveloping".

danielccc | 16. februar 2013

You just know this is going to get hacked some day.

Honestly I'd rather the car not have this. I have lived quite a few years in the abject privation of not being able to control my car from Myanmar, and somehow I've managed to survive.

torst1 | 16. februar 2013

Slightly o/t

Is there a public API to the Tesla, so 3rd parties can make all kinds of Tesla Apps?

Brian H | 16. februar 2013

Not yet. Promised.

Robert22 | 17. februar 2013


As long as some bored 13 year old Chinese hacker doesn't turn my seat heater up to 10, I think the risk of catastrophe is low.

danielccc | 17. februar 2013

How about honking the horn at 4 AM continuously? Of every Model S in the planet? At the same time?

How about hacking the firmware so that the display shows you have more range than you do, and then you suddenly run out of juice?

Infinite possibilities. And you know it will be hacked sooner or later.

I believe Elon Musk has a far greater chance of driving a Tesla on Mars around SpaceX City than he has of preventing a hack. Everybody gets hacked.

djp | 17. februar 2013

Expect the hack to come from the competition. For publicity purposes.

GregKo | 17. februar 2013

Hey Carmine,

What town in NJ are you from. I am in Manasquan. Just looking up fellow Model S owners in my area. Take care while in Myanmar.

jat | 17. februar 2013

@danielccc - so have you actually looked at what the remote access API can do, or are you just spreading FUD? Whether other cars provide remote access to the user or not (such as cellular modems in navigation systems, wireless tire pressure monitors, etc - see [PDF] ), there is still the capability and if you aren't careful those can be exploited. Much better to have it open and usable and detect and fix any issues rather than just have security by obscurity.

@torst1 - no public API, but a number of people have reverse engineered it (and it is certainly subject to change, so your app may be broken at any time).

Brian H | 17. februar 2013

Hmph. It's NEVER 4 a.m. simultaneously everywhere on the planet! Impossible. >:p

Pungoteague_Dave | 17. februar 2013

I got in trouble with this. The app was released the day before we took delivery. I downloded it and was able to watch what I though was my car moving down the road near the DC sales office. However, it turned out NOT to be my car. I was indavertently linked with another car for which I had not taken delivery (long story), but it was still on my profile, and the app function was turned on in the car, so I was able to open the roof, flash lights etc. on the white DEMONSTRATOR car currently in the DC sales office.

I emailed the DS that I was controlling what I thought was my car. She called immediately, was quite unhappy with me (nicely used the word "butthead"), infomed me that what I was seeing was surely NOT my car. The app stopped working almost immediately. By the next day the proper car was linked and I have been happily checking on my real car ever since. But we still chuckle thinking about the poor employees at Tesla DC, with their car flashing and beeping away for no apparent reason!

Some may not yet know this, but besides showing state of charge, the app graphically shows when the doors, roof, charging port, or rear hatch are open. When the car is miving it tells you (or anyone with the app and your login) the current speed, and you can watch its movement on the map part of the app. Very cool stuff. Only a little big-brother scary.

jjaeger | 17. februar 2013

How does one 'nicely' use the word butthead :-)

Brian H | 17. februar 2013

New handle, "Poltergeist_Dave"? <8-p

bsimoes | 18. februar 2013

I almost choked on my oatmeal reading your post--very funny!

danielccc | 18. februar 2013

nat, I have been coding for 30 years. If you can get to it from the Internet, it's hackable. The API capability is not relevant. An exploit would break the API to begin with.

This isn't FUD. It applies to all cars with a system like this, not just Tesla. But Tesla is a more interesting target. You may have noticed that there are people who are eager to generate bad publicity for the company.

I am not proposing security by obscurity. I am proposing security by no remote access, period.

Let me give you an example of an exploitable problem right now. The iPhone lock screen has a bug in iOS 6.1.1, the current version. This means somebody steals your iPhone can access it, see the Tesla app, and locate and control your car.

Sure, that's an Apple bug. But that's kind of the point. A service like this introduces vulnerabilities that Tesla does not even control.

I don't think the gain in convenience is worth the extra risk. It's my opinion. You are free to disagree.

Robert22 | 18. februar 2013

I can pre-heat my car every day remotely. It's worth the risk. Will someone want to honk my horn or go for a credit card database? I'm a low value target. Grasp your phone more tightly or hide the app, then it won't appear on the screen. Problem solved.

danielccc | 18. februar 2013

I am all for remote control, but local. Why would anybody really need to heat their car from Bangladesh or wherever?

Brian H | 18. februar 2013

Butthead. Be honest now. If you could, would you do it all over again? >;p

You make me LOL every time I visualize the scene, too!