In a discreet manner, Tesla has integrated an official API into its technological arsenal. Connoisseurs will see it as a logical step, while newcomers may perceive it as an additional enigma in the universe of electric cars. Let’s demystify this novelty together and try to understand the utility and implications of such an initiative.
Tesla has not always officially opened the door to its technology. However, numerous third-party applications have found a way to infiltrate the very closed ecosystem of the brand. How? By being particularly attentive to conversations between Tesla’s servers and its clients.
Tesla cars are continuously connected to the internet thanks to a 4G chip. Thus, they send a lot of information to the company via an API (we will get back to this shortly). The clever ones have “listened” to these data exchanges between the cars and Tesla. They observed, understood, and found out how to reproduce these communications to interact with the cars via their own applications. This practice is known as “reverse engineering,” and it’s like solving a giant puzzle to understand how the pieces fit together.
Tesla Releases an Official API
In computing, an API, or Application Programming Interface, is like a common language that allows two software to understand and communicate with each other. Imagine wanting to order a coffee in a foreign country without speaking the language. The API would be like a conversation guide that would help you place your order without learning the entire language.
Tesla has said “yes” by officializing its API, named Fleet API. It allows developers to understand and use Tesla’s “language” to create their own applications. It’s cool, but there’s a catch: it will be chargeable. The rates are still in the fog, but Tesla promises answers by 2024.
And What About Us?
The name Fleet API gives a clue. “Fleet” means a group of vehicles. This API is therefore there for professionals who manage many Tesla cars, like rental companies. They can thus keep an eye on all their cars remotely, which is quite practical!
Tesla is working on another version of the API, which could replace the one we all currently use. But beware, it will require going through the Fleet API, which, remember, will be chargeable.
Third-party applications (like TeslaMate or Teslascope) will be able to use this API to access various information about the cars, such as the battery level, or even interact with them, like starting a recharge. This opens the door to lots of new apps, for the Apple Watch for example, or super practical widgets.
And Afterward, Will We Have a Tesla App Store?
It’s possible! Even if this idea doesn’t really depend on these APIs, Tesla could one day launch its own App Store in its cars. There, the possibilities would really be enormous, with new applications that could make our life (behind the wheel) even easier and more fun. But hey, one step at a time, right? The formalization and monetization of APIs by Tesla mark a significant step.