Tesla: hackers who unlock paid options with a box have a head start – Numerama

Tesla managed to block a small box that allows Model 3 Long Range owners to have better acceleration. The case builder figured out how to bypass this protection in a week.

Tesla has been equipping its vehicles with hardware parts for several years now that the user can unlock with a in-app payment. Economically, this makes sense: Tesla saves money by having just one assembly line instead of one per model, and customers for whom these options aren't useful may pay a little less. But since Tesla’s announcements about boosting the battery by software unlocking a few extra cells, people were speculating on the ability of third-party engineers to unlock these features with a hack.

Ingenext vs Tesla: 2-1

In recent months, a Canadian company called Ingenext has offered a small Boost 50 module, which unlocks the acceleration Boost sold by Tesla on Model 3 Dual Motors that are not Performance stamped. Sold for just over $ 1,000 by Ingenext, the Boost 50 box unlocks the 50 extra horsepower promised by Tesla in its option, which is worth double it, and a few extras (like a drift mode). The box itself connects to the vehicle's MCU port and will take care of unlocking these additional performances, restricted only by software (the on-board hardware is equivalent to the motors).

Of course, these third-party modifications are not to Tesla's liking. At the end of August 2020, the American manufacturer deployed an update for its vehicles which includes lines of code making it possible to block the action of the Boost 50. According to Electrek, a reference site on electric mobility, the software update of Tesla is so well made that it forced Ingenext to release a second physical box, which will be sent free to customers. Engineers mistakenly assumed that Tesla wouldn't be able to block their Boost 50 so effectively and that a software update to the case would suffice. In any case, this shows how seriously Tesla takes the subject.

Tesla hackers who unlock paid options with a box have - Tesla: hackers who unlock paid options with a box have a head start - Numerama
Ingenext Boost 50 // Source: Ingenext

But the release of Ingenext's new hardware, after only a week of development, also shows that the company is not going to give up and intends to continue to provide follow-up for its workarounds to its customers. In addition, the additional unit offers to add functionalities to the vehicle, by means of a web application: control of mood lights, automatic opening of the driver's door, opening of the trunks with a proximity sensor and a whole lot technical data on the car.

It remains to be seen how marginal usage will be among Tesla customers, a fact that will undoubtedly decide the manufacturer's strategy. For now, Ingenext is one step ahead.

Who's who

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Photo credit of the one: Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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