Just Stop

Saturday 19th July 2014

Tesla’s in the news so much lately, whether that be the announcement of their Model 3 car (which, by the way, looks very nice – I might like to have one of those), or the hacking of the Model S or the awful car crash that happened, it seems that it’s time to think about how to protect your lovely new EV from those criminal types that might take it away. Let me say here that I feel so much for the family of the man that died after crashing the Model S during a high speed chase with the police. His family must be devastated. I only wish he had thought twice before stealing the car and putting his family through this ordeal.

So, how to protect EV’s and of course their owners?

Well, I think that there should be a choice for EV owners… The ability to turn on over the air control from the manufacturer. In the event of a theft, the car can be put into valet mode and not driven above 20 miles an hour – no high speed chases. With this option comes the uncertainty of security and the possibility of hacking… Really have these people nothing better to do than hack into other peoples property? Ugh – so annoying of them.

Can EV manufacturers make their systems secure enough to prevent hacking? I would like to think so as the option to turn on valet mode over the air seems really appealing. For Tesla, this would seem simple as they already do software updates over the air – no taking your car to the dealership for two days just to have the software updated… Are you listening BMW?

The obvious choice would seem to be to allow Tesla to remotely control your car and command it to stop however, that always seems to lead into a debate over privacy. I’m not sure why because, I think that there is a simple solution to this problem.

If your car was reported stolen Tesla could send a message to the car that the car was going to be stopped in a few minutes unless you typed in your personal PIN code. This would appear all over the screen giving you ample time to tap in your four-digit code if this were all a big mistake or, if the system had been hacked by someone looking to stop and rob you. You could even be given enough time to pull over, call a friend and ask to be reminded of the code – who hasn’t forgotten their password? The ‘thief’ would simply not know this code and would be faced with a question, “Do I carry on knowing the cops are close behind or, do I duck into this dark alley, stop the car and run as fast as I can?” Once the car was located, a quick call to the real owner could release the code allowing the car to be moved.

The bigger question is, would a thief even attempt to take a car knowing this system was in place? How would this feature impact your insurance? Should this be an EV only thing?

Privacy advocates are obviously concerned about vehicle tracking but, that is not what we are suggesting here. This is not location related but a message sent from Tesla HQ to say that we are going to shut down your car by slowly decreasing the power, if you do not put your PIN code in.

The ability to turn on over the air control could be up to the owner and could be turned on and off as and when needed. So, if you are driving the car you might turn it off and only turn it on when you leave the car parked up. Consider this an additional security feature of the car, maybe it’s tied into the locking of the doors when you leave the car.

Would you sign up for a service like this?


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