Trusting the Electric Vehicle

So I want an EV. I love Tesla Motors but I’m also interested in the DIY scene.

I’ve seen some really cool electric vehicle conversions on youtube. A BMW M3 (which went on to set a record on Pike’s Peak) and a VW Beetle. The Beetle was the project that really got me interested in electric cars, the conversion wasn’t done some auto shop like the BMW was, it was just a guy who bought some parts and did most of the work himself. The finished product looked so fun to drive and it made me realize I could do the same thing.

My friend Christopher Toledo brought up an important point about the cars of the future. Security. I think the computer systems in new cars are scary. Even Tesla’s. First of all, most auto manufacturers wouldn’t ever dream of open sourcing their code, and nobody posts in-depth technical details about their systems. “Security through obscurity” is not good security for computer systems.

The reason even Tesla’s computers scare me is that driving features are updatable over WiFi. Are the new generation of electric vehicles even going to have a physical connection between the steering column and the wheel turning mechanism? I’m calling it right now, shit’s gunna get all Ghost In The Shell and some wizard class hacker, in a politically motivated cyberattack will remotely crack into and veer a speeding car off a bridge.

I’m being ignorant though. There are probably all sorts of safety mechanisms built into these things, and it’s not like the car is powered by WindowsCE! I’m probably not giving Tesla enough credit, Mr. Musk does have a friggin’ spacecraft background after all! Dragon has some bitchin’ flight control systems.

I found a Forbes video about Prius hacking. They disabled the brakes, that’s scary!

I guess it comes down to trusting something to get a piece of the new tech. A friend of mine once asked something to the extent of, “If people could get brain-implantable computers, would you get one?” My response was, “If Google makes it, definitely no. If I make it, maybe.”