December 21, 2023

What’s new in Smartcar’s upgraded Tesla integration

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

We’re excited to announce that our upgraded Tesla integration is now available to all Smartcar customers!

We recently announced that we’re rolling out a new Tesla integration as the brand transitions away from its legacy API for third-party developers. Since then, our team has been building an improved integration experience that simplifies the migration process for mobility businesses and upholds data transparency for all consumers connecting to third-party applications.

What’s changed?

Tesla requires all third-party developers to migrate to their new API architecture by January 2024. We’ve introduced the following changes to facilitate a smooth transition during this timeframe, minimizing any interruptions to mobility businesses and vehicle owners. All information and FAQs about the new Tesla integration are available in our Help Center.

Tesla-specific Smartcar Connect

Starting December 21, 2023, Tesla owners connecting to your application will authorize their vehicle with a new version of Smartcar Connect. This flow will not require any code changes on your end.

We’ve made minimal changes to the existing Smartcar Connect flow, with the only visible difference being the addition of a new screen. We’ve maintained a clean, straightforward user experience that does not disrupt or prolong the onboarding process.

Our goal with this new Connect flow is to allow vehicle owners to securely authorize their vehicle with Tesla and ensure that an application obtains only specific vehicle permissions via the Smartcar API.

Here’s what that looks like:

1️⃣ Vehicle owners launch Smartcar Connect and select their vehicle brand as per usual. After selecting ‘Tesla,’ they will be prompted to sign in with their Tesla account.

2️⃣ Vehicle owners will sign in to their Tesla account and authorize Tesla to share information with an application via Smartcar. Vehicle owners can then select from a few data categories specified by Tesla.

3️⃣ Vehicle owners return to the final screen of the Smartcar Connect flow. On this screen, they will see a list of exact data permissions they will share with an application. Once they click ‘Allow,’ they’re ready to go!

Virtual keys for command access

In addition to permissions from their authorization flow, Tesla now requires virtual keys for third-party applications to start issuing commands to all Model 3 and Y vehicles, and 2021+ Model S and X vehicles. You can learn more about how to set up your virtual keys.

An endpoint to help you manage your migration

Smartcar is committed to helping mobility businesses migrate to Tesla’s new architecture as seamlessly as possible. Vehicle owners must go through the Tesla-specific Connect flow mentioned above for applications to retain data access.

To streamline the process of tracking the status of your migration, we’ve introduced a brand-specific endpoint for Tesla called Migration Status. With this endpoint, developers can see what vehicles still need to be migrated to Tesla’s new API.

Customized branding for Enterprise customers

Enterprise customers will have the option to implement a Smartcar Connect flow that uses their own brand on the Tesla login screen. We’ve introduced this feature because by default, Smartcar will host a Smartcar-specific virtual key that prompts vehicle owners to authorize an application with Tesla using the Smartcar brand.

However, we want to give businesses the added value of customizing branding on these onboarding screens. This is especially beneficial for customers launching the Connect flow on behalf of client accounts — such as DERMS providers implementing a managed charging program for specific utilities.

This customizable Smartcar Connect flow will require minor code changes documented here, and will be made available to Enterprise customers starting December 21, 2023.

The Smartcar difference: Why use Smartcar to integrate with Tesla?

Building your own integration with Tesla’s new API still leaves many limitations.

You must still dedicate extensive engineering resources to build a complete product with a secure user authentication system and back-end infrastructure for managing, testing, and maintaining vehicle connections. You’ll also be required to repeat this process for every vehicle brand you want to support.

Smartcar gives mobility businesses the benefits of Tesla integration, which also includes:

  • A powerful developer experience with eight SDKs for mobile and web, a developer dashboard, team collaboration, a vehicle simulator, and more.
  • An API that is compatible with 38 additional vehicle brands across North America and Europe
  • Data privacy and security measures such as annual penetration testing, SOC 2 Type 2 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, and a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP).
  • A single source for developer-facing support for all brands across North America and Europe with guaranteed response times.

A powerful integration to help you build better products, faster

Smartcar is proud to maintain the industry standard for connected car integrations as automakers actively acknowledge and embrace the contributions of third-party developers.

With this new and improved Tesla integration, we’re excited to help you grow your application with streamlined developer tools and enhanced data transparency. Build trust with your customers and strengthen your application’s reliability with an API that allows your team to focus on what they do best.

Existing customers can read our docs for more in-depth information and continue working with our customer support representatives to address any questions throughout the migration process. If you want to learn more about the Smartcar API and Tesla integration, book a meeting with our team!

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