• Tag Archives tesla
  • Powertrain encryption

    Tesla cars are out of my price reach (and frankly, they are too big for our needs – plus the whole fact that they are not doing another convertible for eleventy eight years….), but they are creating quite the stir around the the world with their product and ‘auto drive’ features.

    [Side note. I see one in Terrys not too distant future].

    I probably should have been blogging about these cars as I have been learning about them and watching them evolve over the past many years, but can’t go back and fix that, so lets jump in.

    Short version. Each car is pretty much a mobile data center. They collect a TON of information and send it back to the mother ship via cellular data.
    Since they are so connected, it stands to reason that they are a prime target for hackers to break into.
    Elon addressed that in an interview recently.


    There were several interesting tidbits of information about Tesla that came out of Elon Musk’s talk at the National Governors Association this weekend, like removing the possibility of a solar roof option on the Model 3 and announcing that 2 or 3 more Tesla Gigafactories are coming to the US.

    But Musk also made some interesting comments on Tesla’s approach to cyber security that received less attention.

    The increasing connectivity in vehicles has made them more subject to hacking in recent years and there’s no more connected vehicle on the road today than Tesla’s.

    Musk continued with what Tesla is doing to try to prevent that:

    “We gotta make super sure that a fleet-wide is basically impossible and that if people are in the car, that they have override authority on whatever the car is doing. If the car is doing something wacky, you can press a button that no amount of software can override and ensure that you gain control of the vehicle and cut the link to the servers.”

    Then even if someone gains access to the car, Tesla has already implemented some features to prevent taking over important sub-systems. Musk added:

    “Within the car, there are multiple sub-systems that have specialized encryption, like the powertrain for example. Even if someone gains access to the car, they cannot take control of the powertrain or braking system.”

    That’s something that came to light last year when a Chinese whitehat hacker group, the Keen Security Lab at Tencent (a Chinese conglomerate that later became a major Tesla shareholder), managed to remotely hack the Tesla Model S through a malicious wifi hotspot.

    Once gaining access, the hackers were able to upload their own software to take control of the vehicle, but Tesla pushed a fix with code signing to add a cryptographic key to change onboard software. Tesla CTO JB Straubel said at the time:

    In short. I want this blog to link back to the one I did a few days ago.
    The government wants to remove end to end encryption. Tesla is rolling out end to end encryption because it is so important and vial for life.
    To the point where their powertrain, batteries, gearbox and motor – all have encrypted communications between themselves.

    I am going to leave this here and hope that you can join the dots.

  • Tesla wins the bid

    We blogged about this back on March 15th;

    The bidding war is over and Tesla won.

    Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared a national energy emergency as parts of the country were under prolonged power outages over the last year due to its unstable grid. South Australia got it worst with a state-wide blackout in September.

    They set out to stabilize their grid by adding a large amount of energy storage and started a bidding process to install over 100 MWh of energy capacity. Tesla CEO Musk made the company’s bid very public and even promised that Tesla could deliver over 100 MWh of energy storage in 100 days or it would be free.

    Today, it was announced that Tesla won the contract.

    Not only that, they increased the capacity of the system. The energy capacity is 29 MWh higher than expected, but the power output is even more impressive. Tesla wrote in a blog post:

    “This week, through a competitive bidding process, Tesla was selected to provide a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system to be paired with global renewable energy provider Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia. Tesla was awarded the entire energy storage system component of the project.”

    It’s 3 times the power capacity of the next largest system in the world.

    That pretty much sums it up.
    Not sure I have too much more to add.
    Just a matter of waiting now and see how it all works out when the next storm hits.