I bought a Tesla Model S a couple of years ago, and have only recently started shutting up about it. This has been a herculean effort all things considered because it’s absolutely the most incredible piece of tech I’ve ever owned. Sure, the iPhone is pretty remarkable and you can make a lot of solid arguments about the value of the personal computer of your choice, but can those things make you giggle like a five year-old on a regular basis as you mash the accelerator down and feel gravity put its hand on your face and push? No.

Also, it’s pretty and well-designed and comfortable and roomy and… I’m doing it again.

As it’s a nice modern car with all the bells and whistles and connectivity that you could hope for, it’s also stuffed with gadgets and gizmos that report who you are, where you’re going and what you’re doing. Every time someone crashes their Tesla and claims that Autopilot made them do it Tesla invariably releases a statement an hour or two later to the effect that they looked at the data from the car and can definitively prove that the person had their hands on the wheel or just hit the accelerator instead of the brake. They’re able to do that because the car continuously records speed, location, altitude, temperature, what systems are engaged and disengaged and reports that all back to Tesla’s servers. It would be creepy if it wasn’t so neat.

And if it wasn’t open. You see, the really neat thing about that data is that it’s not just locked away for Tesla’s own digestion and enjoyment; while the official Tesla API is still under lock and key there are plenty of other ways to get at that data. There are a few excellent iOS apps that will give you access to the controls of your car (some allowing things like Summon, which will wake your car up and make it drive to you), and a couple of excellent third-party Mac apps that will allow you to look at and control some of the more elementary functions of your car, such as VisibleTesla.

What I’m after, however, is something faster and more command-line accessible, so I’m going to spend the next couple of posts running through what’s required to get quick access to some essential information and functions through the Terminal on OS X.

Of course, if I mess it up then it’s not like I’ll brick my car. At least, I really hope not…