After almost ten years of existing, and being used by thousands of people in a curious gray area, Tesla finally releases its API officially. The company has published documents and guides so that third parties can develop applications and communicate with vehicles.
This is one of hundreds of examples that show that tesla It is not a car company. It is a company where software and hardware are equally important. And, in fact, it is the only large-scale manufacturer where literally each of its cars has its API to access with third-party apps.
For almost a decade, a relatively small group of people and startups have developed apps that allow you to have more control of a Tesla vehicle or obtain data from the vehicle — including trips — and aggregate it. The latter is the most common use, creating popular services such as TeslaFi either Tezlab. This is how you can obtain information on the car’s efficiency, battery degradation, among many other things.
However, although the API exists and can be accessed from third-party apps, Tesla has never released documentation or an SDK. Finally, they have taken the first step by publishing documents where they make official what can, or cannot, be done with their vehicles.
Tesla’s official API will, initially, be focused on fleet management. They have baptized her FleetAPI and they have created a registration point to generate public and private keys and be able to make calls without the vehicle owner having to give their username or password.
Tesla’s future app ecosystem, thanks to its API
The official Tesla API is the first step in creating a healthy and much more professional ecosystem of third-party apps. The next step would be the liberalization of a complete software development kit (SDK), which would allow the production of new applications that work inside and outside the vehicle.
It is an inevitable step, since Tesla software is becoming more sophisticated. For years the company has mentioned the possibility of launching a App Store that allows applications to be installed in the vehicle, but Elon Musk has once mentioned that it will make sense once they have about ten million vehicles on the road.
With the constant increase in sales of the brand’s cars – in 2023 alone they expect to sell 1.8 million units -, that figure is getting closer, and an application store for the car makes more and more sense.
Tesla’s API will not only work to make third-party apps marketed to vehicle owners. It will start a major B2B software ecosystem around the brand. The first, and most obvious, will be the development of fleet control systems for car rental companies, taxis, VTCs, freight transport, among many others.
It can also be used by car buying and selling services, to analyze the real state of the vehicle’s batteries for an acquisition. The uses, both consumer-oriented and business-oriented, can be very broad.
Tesla’s API also legitimizes the current ecosystem of apps that already exists and operated in that gray area. All of these startups lived in constant uncertainty, since the company could at any time take away their access and kill the business.