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Car Performance-Boost Hack: Tesla launches fight-back

Tesla is starting to fight back against owners who are hacking their cars to unlock a performance boost that the automaker is itself selling as a software update.

For a few years now, Tesla started selling vehicles with upgradable software-locked capabilities, like 75 kWh battery pack software-locked at 60 kWh or higher power outputs enabled through software updates.

The most recent example is offering a $2,000 ‘Acceleration Boost’ for the Model 3 Dual Motor.

Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor

It unlocks roughly 50 hp in the Model 3 powertrain and shortens the 0 to 60 mph acceleration to 3.9 seconds.

Earlier this year, a company called Ingenext released a device that enabled Tesla owners to unlock the same capacity for half the price.

All Model 3 owners have to do is plug a connector to their MCU, and they automatically get the 50 hp boost plus a few other features from Ingenext, like a “Drift mode.”

But as it was suspected, Tesla is starting to fight back against the hack.

Some owners who purchased the device have received this in-car notification after the latest Tesla software update.

As you can see, Tesla says that it detected “incompatible vehicle modification” and that it could result in a “potential risk of damage or shutdown.”

The notification apparently stays stuck on the screen like that, but the vehicle remains drivable.

Guillaume André, founder of Ingenext, says that Tesla patched their update of the driver inverter software unlocking the capacity in the software update 2020.32.1.

André said that they sent a notification to clients warning them not to update and only 3 customers updated their cars before seeing the update.

Now, they are working on their own patch to enable their customers to update without issues.

André believes that it would take “one or two weeks” to get the patch.

To be fair, Ingenext does warn that it is a concern and they have a page that lets customers know whether an update is safe or not.

It’s an “at your own risk” kind of thing.