Tesla hacked to broadcast occupants conversations to all nearby cars
A Stanford University student in Mountain View, California has hacked a Tesla electric car so that it broadcasts all of the occupants conversations to the FM radios of any car driving near a Tesla.
In the, now famous, fight between Elon Musk and the NY Newspaper over the range of a Tesla in a road test, Musk revealed that he has circuitry built into each Tesla that allows him to watch data from each car from anywhere in the world.
The new deal Tesla has announced with AT&T will make the Tesla even more wired up and allow greater hacking potential says the student. He says that he undertook the experiment to show the risks so that they could be resolved before it becomes a bigger problem.
Musk famously spied on his staff by staying up one night and writing each one an email with a slightly different phrase in each email to try to catch a whistleblower in his company.
Better safe than sorry.
Aaron Robinson: Will the Real Government Motors Please Stand Up?
Tesla is going to have to earn more dollars selling the cars it makes.
From the December 2013 Issue of Car and Driver
A friend in Southern California recently texted me the following: “Have they sold 500k of the Tesla Model S? They are everywhere! It seems like all the dr., lawyer, millionaire small business types are driving them. I see 5 to 10 a day easy.” I responded that if he lived in Kansas, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But it’s true; suddenly, Tesla is bigger than John Lennon saying the Beatles are bigger than Jesus. The company’s early repayment of its $465 million federal loan and its profitable first-quarter result startled analysts. Tesla is rightly considered the longest of long shots: It’s both a new car company and a clean-technology startup. Elon Musk might as well be in the business of anti-gravity belts, and most people were expecting black ink no sooner than the Miley Cyrus Administration.
After a good May, Tesla celebrated Christmas in August. A five-star federal crash rating immediately followed a second-quarter profit report, and that strapped Tesla’s stock to a comet. It had already Hyperlooped from $33 in January to $138, and as of this writing, TSLA trades on the NASDAQ for $178 a share. By comparison, over on the old New York, GM bumps along at $37 and Ford at $18—numbers that aren’t expected to change dramatically before the next ice age. Currently, Musk (who offered that his car would earn six or seven stars if the safety rating system went that high) has cajoled enough angels to boogie on a pinhead such that somewhere around 500 Model S sedans per week are rolling out of Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant. He figures the company could actually sell 500,000 vehicles annually once the planned Model X crossover and a compact sedan arrive.
And it is theoretically possible, if you assume that all trends are permanent. But Musk is a man of the moment, thriving in the heat and light of present government policy the way some strange organisms live next to volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean. If things change, the coldness may close in fast.
Let’s start where Tesla’s latest chapter began, with that 2010 loan from the Department of Energy. The Treasury wasn’t handing out money when Henry Ford hung out his shingle. Nor did the government bribe Ford’s customers to buy his cars, but right now the IRS allows you a $7500 credit for purchasing a Tesla, and California issues its residents an additional $2500 cash rebate.
GM’s Alfred P. Sloan famously said: “We don’t make cars, we make money.” Tesla makes pollution credits—up to seven credits for each Model S sold under California’s carbon-reduction scheme. The credits are for sale to any company needing to buy its way out of the state’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate. Tesla won’t say what it charges for a credit, but it did say that it made $51 million in the second quarter off credit sales.
The government doesn’t want to be in the electric-car business any more than it wants to be in the jet-fighter business, but it’s willing to help energetic people like Musk do it for them. The government loaned Tesla startup money, it helps bring customers in with tax incentives, and it guarantees Tesla at least some return through the emissions-credit system. Short of sending Congress to the factory to bolt together the cars, there’s not much more government can do for Tesla.
This isn’t really a knock against Musk or Tesla. The Land of Opportunity works best when opportunists perceive and take advantage of opportune moments, even ones created by government. But being the talk of the moment won’t push Tesla through the granite barrier separating it from more-enduring success: the fact that electric cars are still luxury novelties serving as the second or third (or fifth) vehicles in the household. And it won’t ensure that Tesla outlives the current political fashions. The tax credit phases out once Tesla hits 200,000 cumulative sales, and the California emissions credit window is also closing. All of which means that the company is going to have to earn more dollars making cars that currently don’t generate profits on their own.
Tesla has other issues. Some state legislatures not in California’s mental orbit, including ones in Texas and Virginia, have blocked bills allowing exemptions to existing state franchise laws that would clear the way for Tesla’s factory-owned stores. You may not like car dealers, but state lawmakers generally do. Car dealers pay local taxes, employ local people, advertise with the local media, sponsor the local softball teams, and contribute to local candidates. Tesla is just an outsider.
Rebuffed in some key markets, Tesla recently hinted that it would seek a solution at the federal level to clear the way for its factory-store plan. Hey, why not return to the well that has yielded so much? But as the warm glow of government largesse flickers, Tesla will soon have to swim on its own as a car company that makes money one sales contract at a time. Anybody holding on to their Tesla stock at that point will be brave indeed.