The hacking problem would be really easy to fix. Seriously, Dodge.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis spoke about why the brand plans on locking tuners out from tuning the power system on a car they own and the problems that will come with that policy. Speaking with Muscle Cars & Trucks, Dodge has been insistent that it's still going to be an enthusiast's brand for muscle cars after it stops (eventually) producing the gas-powered Charger and Challenger, but only Dodge dealerships will be able to use its Dodge Direct Connection and Power Broker program to modify power settings. This means individual owners and independent tuning specialists won't be able to change power levels or how power is delivered. At least, that's what Dodge says.
"No, I'm sure somebody will try and hack it, but that will be exclusive to Direct Connection and, quite frankly, that's one of the reasons that we feel very strongly about what I call the 'Crystals,'" says Kuniskis.
The "crystals" Kuniskis refers to are radio frequency-controlled keys that plug into the dashboard for each of the "stage kits" to unlock the higher power levels and are tied to each vehicle identification number. The stage system is how Dodge plans to sell power upgrades.
"Now, we don't want to lock the cars and say you can't modify them," said Kuniskis. "We just want to lock them and say modify them through us so that we know that it's done right. Now, we want to do that because we'd rather spend our time coming up with more modifications for you instead of, literally, trying to whack-a-mole the hackers."
Unfortunately for Dodge, history and the nature of people and technology suggests strongly that "crystals" will be hacked or bypassed within months. "We'd rather spend our time coming up with more modifications for you instead of, literally, trying to whack-a-mole the hackers," said Kuniskis. However, that game of whack-a-mole is exactly what Dodge is going to end up spending a lot of time and money doing. The brand is perfectly aware that around half of Dodge owners modify their cars, and is planning to lock them out and make them pay only Dodge dealers to unlock the potential of the cars they own.
The writing on the wall is that dealer servicing won't be the same industry past a certain point of EV adoption as electric batteries and motors don't require anywhere near the same amount of maintenance as an internal combustion engine. Simply put, Dodge appears to be thinking more about the bottom line for dealers than its customer's enjoyment of their cars.