If an automaker doesn’t deliver on power or some other performance metric, you can always count on the aftermarket and third-party tuners to deliver. But that’s starting to not be the case anymore as automakers bake in electronic features third-party tuners can’t get around. Take the all new 2024 S650 Ford Mustang. Ford Authority reports that third-party tuners are going to have a difficult time trying to tune the new Mustang due to fear of it being hacked.
Ed Krenz, the Mustang’s chief engineer spoke with Ford Authority and gave a rundown on why third-party tuners might run into some trouble. It all comes down to cybersecurity. For whatever reason, Ford is concerned about vehicle cybersecurity. This is why the new Mustang uses the company’s Fully Networked Vehicle (FNV) architecture, which allows for things like over-the-air updates and cybersecurity encryption.
The downside of this is that it essentially shuts down any third-party tuning as Ford Authority explains:
FoMoCo’s FNV electrical architecture has long been expected to make life more difficult for third party tuners in general, though that’s simply a byproduct of the automaker’s attempts to keep user data – and their vehicles – safe from ever-growing hacking threats. Krenz and other S650 engineers explained that the entire stack on the S650 is encrypted, including the ECU. This means that if the system detects a “break” in authentication, it will shut it down – or shut down components of the vehicle. So even if someone were to modify one of these engines, they wouldn’t be able to actually tune the car to take full advantage of it.
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All isn’t lost, though, as Ford says it’s open to working with tuners on the S650 and that it’s also open to “offering performance enhancements or tunes” for the Ecoboost engine and 5.0-liter Coyote V8. Some may see this as Ford clamping down on the aftermarket industry to ensure that they get all that sweet tuning money for themselves. And while vehicle hacking is a very real threat, it sucks that vehicle security has come at the expense of tuning.