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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I drove in behind a Model S today, and my mind wandered through the following:
1. A Tesla Tap will let us mere mortals use a destination charger, but not a supercharger. The connector is the same, so it's not a mechanical issue.
2. Superchargers must have some protocol to identify which specific car is hooked up and throttle their output to match the charging capacity of the car, plus verify the account of the user (and charge for Model 3's).
3. It seems likely charging speed throttling will occur on superchargers, too, for a car that needs to get full full and throttled supercharger speed may be appropriate for our full speed charging.
4. I wonder if a person could monitor the bus traffic between a legit supercharger user and then play it back (likely with mods) to enable charging on a car like a Bolt. You would have to both get the right handshaking to get access to an account and turn down the current. Let's say you also own a Model 3, so could monitor your own car and enable usage to your own Tesla charging account. Maybe your M3 is even physically near that supercharger, too.
5. Then I wondered if the communication is rolling codes, encrypted, etc.
6. There may be active detection and denial by SuperChargers of TeslaTaps and similar convertors, or it may just be communication failed.

I'm not suggesting this, just wondering about the internal details of the matter.
It would have to be about the most obvious spoof ("Hey, there's a Bolt over on the Supercharger.") For an hour. In plain sight. There are huge risks with little gain.

I doubt there's any sort of exploit to be had, but it's curious to think about. As an engineer, a large part of my job is figuring out what users are going to try and blocking the users ahead of time from doing stupid or undesirable things.
Given that Tesla is constantly pushing out updates to both cars and charging stations, a patch would be fast and easily to deploy. It's also very likely there's significant protocols in place to prevent this.

A more mundane version would be, you own an S or X and a 3, then spoof your S or X communications to charge your 3 for free. Again, I expect it's been handled, but it gives me a smile to contemplate the possibilities..
 

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So, I drove in behind a Model S today, and my mind wandered through the following:
1. A Tesla Tap will let us mere mortals use a destination charger, but not a supercharger. The connector is the same, so it's not a mechanical issue.
2. Superchargers must have some protocol to identify which specific car is hooked up and throttle their output to match the charging capacity of the car, plus verify the account of the user (and charge for Model 3's).
3. It seems likely charging speed throttling will occur on superchargers, too, for a car that needs to get full full and throttled supercharger speed may be appropriate for our full speed charging.
4. I wonder if a person could monitor the bus traffic between a legit supercharger user and then play it back (likely with mods) to enable charging on a car like a Bolt. You would have to both get the right handshaking to get access to an account and turn down the current. Let's say you also own a Model 3, so could monitor your own car and enable usage to your own Tesla charging account. Maybe your M3 is even physically near that supercharger, too.
5. Then I wondered if the communication is rolling codes, encrypted, etc.
6. There may be active detection and denial by SuperChargers of TeslaTaps and similar convertors, or it may just be communication failed.

I'm not suggesting this, just wondering about the internal details of the matter.
It would have to be about the most obvious spoof ("Hey, there's a Bolt over on the Supercharger.") For an hour. In plain sight. There are huge risks with little gain.

I doubt there's any sort of exploit to be had, but it's curious to think about. As an engineer, a large part of my job is figuring out what users are going to try and blocking the users ahead of time from doing stupid or undesirable things.
Given that Tesla is constantly pushing out updates to both cars and charging stations, a patch would be fast and easily to deploy. It's also very likely there's significant protocols in place to prevent this.

A more mundane version would be, you own an S or X and a 3, then spoof your S or X communications to charge your 3 for free. Again, I expect it's been handled, but it gives me a smile to contemplate the possibilities..
Well, first issue with the Tesla Tap VS Supercharger is the Tesla Tap only allows the J1772 AC power part. You would need a DCFC side to even allow the Supercharger to work since it will provide DC to the car. After that there is the communication which the Bolt doesn't speak so it would never sync and be able to talk to the Supercharger or vice versa.

Solve the connection and wire routing first, the other could be hacked if someone got a Supercharger and then monitored it's communications.
 

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Well, first issue with the Tesla Tap VS Supercharger is the Tesla Tap only allows the J1772 AC power part. You would need a DCFC side to even allow the Supercharger to work since it will provide DC to the car. After that there is the communication which the Bolt doesn't speak so it would never sync and be able to talk to the Supercharger or vice versa.

Solve the connection and wire routing first, the other could be hacked if someone got a Supercharger and then monitored it's communications.
I definitely believe it is possible to hack together a Tesla to CCS adapter and hack it so it could enable a non-Tesla like the Bolt to supercharge. Of course "possible" and "feasible" are 2 totally different things.

From what I understand scouring various online forums, building a physical adapter wouldn't be that hard. The hard part would be tricking the Supercharger into allowing a non-Tesla to supercharge. From what I gathered, the Supercharger itself does not actually authorize charging; rather, it is the car that tells the Supercharger that it is OK to charge, as it is coded as either being able to Supercharge or not.

So the trick would be to trick the Supercharger into thinking the car is telling it it is OK to supply a charge to the car. The easiest way people have theorized to do that would be to jam the signal that the car sends to Tesla that verifies the car is indeed enabled for Supercharging. If the car fails at remote-verifying Supercharger status with Tesla, it will default to telling the SC supercharging is enabled.

So once you have the physical adapter part and cell signal jammer part taken care of, you need to find a way to be able to spoof a valid VIN that had Supercharging enabled. I'm sure some professional hacker could whip together such a project, but I know it would be way out of a regular Joe's league. And once Tesla got word that such an adapter was in existence and being used, I'm sure they'd employ software updates that would lock out access. How long a hacker could stay one step ahead of Tesla is debatable.

I'd be really interested for someone to at least make a proof of concept to show that a such an adapter could actually work though. :)

Here's an article that briefly touches the subject: https://newatlas.com/electric-terry-hershner-interview/53603/

The Superchargers, those have special encryption. You can use those too, but it's much more complicated. You have to have CAN communication that'll tell the station the VIN number of the car, and it also uses the cell phone connection that's built into every Tesla, so it checks whether that cell phone connection for that VIN number is in the area.


But you can use a temporary, short range cell phone jammer, and if you jam the signals, the Supercharger just checks the VIN number and searches for you on the map. But if a cell tower is down, it's not gonna tell a Tesla it can't charge. So the default if it gets no signal is to let you charge. I'm sure that's a huge FCC violation and can get you into a ton of trouble, but if you really wanna know how to do it, if it's a life and death emergency, that's how.
 

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I agree that the Tesla Supercharger system is too proprietary for non-Tesla EVs to use. This is why every other manufacturer uses the SAE standards as those engineers work for the common automobile owners. They were the first ones to establish gasoline nozzle diameters for leaded and unleaded (smaller) so you could not add leaded gasoline to newer vehicles with catalytic converters and smaller diameter inlets (although a few owners did their modifications). Now, every gasoline nozzle has a small diameter for unleaded gasoline.

As for EVs, the Tesla models can charge at any SAE EVSE and DCFC stations with a cheap adapter, but not the other way around. So let us keep adding more SAE based stations, and stop supporting the Superchargers.
 

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I agree that the Tesla Supercharger system is too proprietary for non-Tesla EVs to use. This is why every other manufacturer uses the SAE standards as those engineers work for the common automobile owners. They were the first ones to establish gasoline nozzle diameters for leaded and unleaded (smaller) so you could not add leaded gasoline to newer vehicles with catalytic converters and smaller diameter inlets (although a few owners did their modifications). Now, every gasoline nozzle has a small diameter for unleaded gasoline.

As for EVs, the Tesla models can charge at any SAE EVSE and DCFC stations with a cheap adapter, but not the other way around. So let us keep adding more SAE based stations, and stop supporting the Superchargers.
And you're supporting the superchargers how?
 

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I think I saw somewhere that the superchargers cannot phone home... the car must do it because they dont have a data connection. Tesla is surely smart enough to come up with an encryption key for each super charger to make it come on. If the key is static, you'd have to sniff each individual supercharger stall to figure it out, but a smarter programmer would make the key hashed against the date or time. Tesla said they'd offer their supercharger network to any OEM that wanted it. Not sure what the licensing fee is, but no one took them up on it.

What about Europe? Model 3's can charge with a CCS cable... they can charge at ANY CCS charge station... but what about other cars charging at a tesla supercharger with CCS plugs? There's no credit card slot, there's no way to call tesla and register the VIN of an opel ampera.... hmmmm....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I definitely believe it is possible to hack together a Tesla to CCS adapter and hack it so it could enable a non-Tesla like the Bolt to supercharge. Of course "possible" and "feasible" are 2 totally different things.

From what I understand scouring various online forums, building a physical adapter wouldn't be that hard. The hard part would be tricking the Supercharger into allowing a non-Tesla to supercharge. From what I gathered, the Supercharger itself does not actually authorize charging; rather, it is the car that tells the Supercharger that it is OK to charge, as it is coded as either being able to Supercharge or not.

So the trick would be to trick the Supercharger into thinking the car is telling it it is OK to supply a charge to the car. The easiest way people have theorized to do that would be to jam the signal that the car sends to Tesla that verifies the car is indeed enabled for Supercharging. If the car fails at remote-verifying Supercharger status with Tesla, it will default to telling the SC supercharging is enabled.

So once you have the physical adapter part and cell signal jammer part taken care of, you need to find a way to be able to spoof a valid VIN that had Supercharging enabled. I'm sure some professional hacker could whip together such a project, but I know it would be way out of a regular Joe's league. And once Tesla got word that such an adapter was in existence and being used, I'm sure they'd employ software updates that would lock out access. How long a hacker could stay one step ahead of Tesla is debatable.
I was expecting step one would be to do any scheming with a valid cooperating Tesla physically nearby and that the Tesla could handle the communications while you collected data.
If the communications is just a VIN and set supercharging=1, that would be easy. I expect the message changes everytime, though, like a rolling garage door code, and has LOTS more to it.
If the enabling supercharger message is location specific, but not stall specific, it feels like there's a brief time slice where you could plug in before the Tesla that enabled the charge could plug in, if the message is wireless.
Building a Y cable to charge a Bolt and a Tesla together is a nogo, too, because it would be difficult to partition the current correctly.

This is quickly getting into the territory of "I just spent 4 hours and $100 in parts to fix a $10 toaster."
Ah well, it was fun to think through.
 

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A related, somewhat philosophical question is: Could Tesla enable supercharger use on a per user basis rather than a manufacture basis. It seems like they could come up with an adapter that could communicate with the user鈥檚 cell phone authorize charging for that person. Practicality is a separate question, but it seems like this would be possible. For people serious about driving there non-Tesla EVs long distances, it might even be practical.
 

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A TeslaTap or Jdapter wouldn't be able to sustain DC-DC current, so it's more than just "spoofing" the car ID. Of course, the "spoofing" is bad enough because it is, essentially, fraud. You would have to make your vehicle "impersonate" an existing Tesla in good standing, which could have all sorts of downstream effects (e.g., the owner could get charged for the power or locked out of using Superchargers until Tesla resolved the "glitch").

As much as I want Tesla to do the right thing, it needs to be their choice rather than the result of hacking.
 

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And you're supporting the superchargers how?
I never supported them. I am telling everyone not to support more Superchargers. The SAE DCFC stations will work for all EVs in the near future, so that is the type we need to support.

As an EE, I can build and install my own SAE DCFC type of charger for less than $1000. There are DC charger kits, and all I need is the cable and DCFC plug to finish it and charge at home. But I don't have the BEV yet. Can anyone build their own Supercharger and do the same?
 

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This is quickly getting into the territory of "I just spent 4 hours and $100 in parts to fix a $10 toaster."
Ah well, it was fun to think through.
I agree completely. It is easier and cheaper to ignore the Tesla brand of incompatibility and go for the generic EVs instead, just like Apple incompatibility against the Androids and USB. Actually, Apple adapted to the USB power system and just added an intelligent plug (Lightning) to the plug for their proprietary iPhone need, and accepted the USB type C plug for their MacBooks. That is just like the Tesla adding their adapter to use a SAE DCFC charger.

Soon, Tesla will have to comply with the SAE mayority, as Apple buys Samsung's OLED screens to compete.
 

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I never supported them. I am telling everyone not to support more Superchargers. The SAE DCFC stations will work for all EVs in the near future, so that is the type we need to support.

As an EE, I can build and install my own SAE DCFC type of charger for less than $1000. There are DC charger kits, and all I need is the cable and DCFC plug to finish it and charge at home. But I don't have the BEV yet. Can anyone build their own Supercharger and do the same?
How exactly does one support or not support Tesla Superchargers?

Are there rallies at the Supercharger stations? Protests? Bumper stickers? Strongly worded letters to the editor?

Tesla has a proprietary charging network, good for Tesla. My support, or lack thereof, doesn鈥檛 appear to be of any consequence to the future of that network.
 

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I never supported them. I am telling everyone not to support more Superchargers. The SAE DCFC stations will work for all EVs in the near future, so that is the type we need to support.

As an EE, I can build and install my own SAE DCFC type of charger for less than $1000. There are DC charger kits, and all I need is the cable and DCFC plug to finish it and charge at home. But I don't have the BEV yet. Can anyone build their own Supercharger and do the same?
Check out Digikey. Can get the CCS and even J1772 contectors on there. Was trying to find what plug time or designation the Tesla ones go by.
 

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A related, somewhat philosophical question is: Could Tesla enable supercharger use on a per user basis rather than a manufacture basis. It seems like they could come up with an adapter that could communicate with the user鈥檚 cell phone authorize charging for that person. Practicality is a separate question, but it seems like this would be possible. For people serious about driving there non-Tesla EVs long distances, it might even be practical.
I can't think of a reason why Tesla couldn't make a Supercharger to CCS adapter (like they already have a ChAdEmO to Supercharger adapter) that also contained identifying/authenticating cicruitry (that would normally be handled by the Tesla vehicle itself) and sell that directly to non-Tesla EV owners. In fact I suspect they have already developed such a thing but haven't put it into production.

They could make a good amount of money selling the adapters for a profit and then charging non-Tesla owners a premium to charge but for someone who needed to go somewhere where the public DCFC networks fell short it would be worth it.
 

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I never supported them. I am telling everyone not to support more Superchargers. The SAE DCFC stations will work for all EVs in the near future, so that is the type we need to support.

As an EE, I can build and install my own SAE DCFC type of charger for less than $1000. There are DC charger kits, and all I need is the cable and DCFC plug to finish it and charge at home. But I don't have the BEV yet. Can anyone build their own Supercharger and do the same?

Does that $1000 include a panel upgrade?>:)
 
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