Hack my ride

Just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of collecting my new car – a Tesla Model S! This is something I’d been lusting after for months since it was announced, and finally pulled the trigger on an order back in September. I can honestly say that I have never waited so impatiently for something in my life, and was absolutely delighted to finally take ownership on Christmas Eve – a rather extravagant early Christmas present! The driving experience is absolutely sublime, the ability to effortlessly transition from cruising, to having your insides re-arranged by the breathtaking acceleration, is something that has to be experienced to be believed!

Sadly my first week of ownership didn’t go as smoothly as hoped – I drove the car up to Manchester on Boxing Day to visit my parents, where I discovered that the supplied charging cable wasn’t functioning properly, something that’s fairly critical for a fully electric car! Due to holiday opening times I wasn’t able to get this replaced as quickly as I would have liked, but to their credit Tesla did replace the cable without hassle when I was actually able to make it to a dealership. Still, this left a slightly sour taste about the whole experience, and curbed my enthusiasm somewhat – until this week, when I’ve had time to enjoy the car some more!

Putting a few more miles on the clock quickly reminded me of why I’d bought the car in the first place, and then I started to delve into the possibilities of the API that’s unofficially offered by Tesla (their Android & iOS apps use it). There are a variety of services that take this data and will turn it into nice graphs and stats for you, however I was more interested in how I could integrate this into my blossoming “smart home” setup. My first venture has been creating a script that scrapes Google Calendar for events, and then will set the auto-conditioning on the Tesla at a set time before each event, meaning that the car is toasty warm/nicely chilled when you set off for work! I’ve put the source code on GitHub for the world to laugh at and hopefully improve!

This is definitely only scratching the surface of what’s possible with the Model S – I’m thinking of future scripts including:

  • Turning on home heating when leaving work
  • Estimating driving distance based on the days events, and setting the charge limit accordingly
  • Monitor power draw while plugged in, for cost estimation

What other car manufacturer gives you access to so much data to nerd out over?! I’m enjoying this car without even having to sit in the drivers seat!