Tesla Reverses Stance on Event Data Recorders, Releases Tool

Bozi Tatarevic
by Bozi Tatarevic
tesla reverses stance on event data recorders releases tool

We’ve criticized Tesla for its lack of access to crash data in the past, but it appears the company has now performed a complete U-turn. Tesla now admits all of its current vehicles have an Event Data Recorder (EDR) device, and it’s now offering an inexpensive tool to allow customers to access the logs.

Tesla previously stated it did not have an EDR device as defined by the 49 CFR 563 of the EDR rule, but new documents released by Tesla shows all of its current and previous vehicles — other than the first generation Roadster — actually do employ such a device. The company has released a helpful guide and free software to analyze the logs, along with a link to purchase compatible equipment.

The new EDR help page states that, “The Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3 are equipped with an event data recorder (EDR). The EDR records data related to vehicle dynamics and safety systems when the system senses a crash or a crash-like situation, such as hitting a road obstacle. This data is stored in the vehicle’s Restraints Control Module (RCM).” This is consistent with how most other major manufacturers store crash data.

This new stance allows vehicle owners to access their own crash data by buying the interface equipment or by hiring an independent third party. The notable part — which is the opposite of Tesla’s previous statement — is listed on the EDR help page, stating, “EDR Data can be retrieved from all Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3 vehicles. Tesla Roadster, which was produced from 2008 to 2012, is equipped with an RCM but does not have an EDR.”

This will prove helpful to current owners, as well as those who have experienced an accident in a (non-Roadster) Tesla in the past.

A new page created on the Tesla website lists EDR Resources and features a free piece of software that can be downloaded in order to retrieve the logs. There’s also instructions on how to upload the logs for interpretation. By following a provided link, owners can purchase the required cables for an introductory price of $795. While this may seem expensive for some cables, it’s actually on the lower end for this type of equipment, as most run in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.

Purchasing the cables and installing the software is all you’ll need to retrieve the logs. The equipment offers industry standard methods of retrieving the logs over the CAN-BUS or directly from the Restraints Control Module (RCM), if the vehicle has been disabled. Once the logs are pulled from the car, they need to be uploaded to a Tesla site in order to be interpreted and converted into a PDF document. This may seem like Tesla is trying to keep a grasp on the logs, but it may just be a matter of how the specific module works (as other manufacturers that offer a similar mechanism).

Tesla has published guides on how to access the required connectors and even how to get to the RCM directly, if necessary. All of this points to a complete turnaround of the company’s previous stance. This is a good change that will be of great benefit to Tesla owners.

[Images: Puzant/ imgur, Tesla Motors]

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2 of 6 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Mar 06, 2018

    It's insane, what they charge for those cables, but I imagine there's not a big market for them.

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Mar 06, 2018

    I thought all vehicles sold in the US after a certain time were required to have EDRs; it’s just that the manufacturers have kept access to the data from the general public.

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