Tesla allows access to SMR information at a high price

12 February 2021

12 February 2021 Tesla is allowing unrestricted access to service, maintenance and repair (SMR) information following complaints it was blocking access for independent workshops. But, by charging higher fees, the carmaker may see further complaints to the European Union (EU) about the fairness of this access. At the start of the year, the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) specialist adapted its platform for repair and maintenance information. This was preceded by a complaint from the Central Association of the German Motor-Vehicle Trade (ZDK), alongside other market participants, to the EU Commission. ′This success shows how important the intensive association work is, especially at the European level,’ commented ZDK vice president Wilhelm HÜlsdonk. The move is the latest in an ongoing battle between vehicle manufacturers and the independent SMR market. In September last year, new type-approval regulations (EU 2018/858) came into effect, stating that carmakers had to allow access to vehicle information via the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, including security-system information. This was an area of data that some carmakers had used as an excuse to restrict total access to repair and maintenance information (RMI) for independent operators. The EU Commission released a report in 2017 highlighting that ′vehicle manufacturers are required under European legislation to ensure that independent operators have easy, restriction-free and standardised access to vehicle RMI under the ′Euro 5′ regulation and related implementing and amending acts.’ Pricing argument The new legislation also stated that all carmakers must be granted non-discriminatory access to repair and maintenance information, as well as to diagnostic and programming software. Therefore, Tesla has met the technical requirements of the legislation, having restricted access prior to the start of the year. The carmaker is charging independent technicians €125 per hour to use its diagnostic and programming software, and €30 for RMI via its technical portal. The ZDK argues that these prices are still a violation of discrimination clauses in the type-approval regulations. Independent workshops cannot offer their customers a comparable service to authorised Tesla dealers. With the high fees, it is unlikely repairers will absorb costs, having to pass them on to the customer instead. ′We will therefore also communicate this problem to the responsible bodies at the European Commission in order to achieve an improvement,’ emphasised HÜlsdonk.