back to article Server errors plague app used by Tesla drivers to unlock their MuskMobiles

Some Tesla owners who fancied going for a spin on Saturday, or simply driving home, may have been unable to do so after the cars' companion app reported server-side errors. Teslas don't use conventional keys to unlock and get going. Instead they require the presence of a wireless fob or key card, or an authenticated mobile …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well they did one thing right...

    'the electric car biz doesn't bother with Facebook'

    I'm happy they don't use FB but I do wish companies would offer proper support channels, relying on FB (or other 'social' media) is useless to me for obvious reasons.

    And hiding behind a regwall (that sounds like me being blocked from this site) isn't great.

    My key fob has a 'hidden' key in it, the fob is a comfortable size so no compromise there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well they did one thing right...

      Maybe they will fix this problem in future by making it easy start the Tesla by just logging into Facebook if their app fails again?

      "Computers are about making life easier in much the same way that the Republican party is about fiscal responsibility and a culture of life." - mister_borogove

    2. AW-S

      Re: Well they did one thing right...

      I have one of those "hidden" keys. Trouble is when I needed to use it the car was still loaded with my wife's profile. I had to adjust the seat back 300mm just to get in.

      The next time she used the car, her profile now had all the changes I had made; you know seat distance, mirrors, Jazz FM rather than Heart, dashboard in metric rather than imperial.

      Bloody nightmare, as the car doesn't create profile backups to my iCloud account!

      1. sebacoustic

        Re: Well they did one thing right...

        I'd rather adjust the seat and radio than be stuck outside with a 500:INERNAL_SERVER_ERROR. That said, maybe the menu should offer a "switch profile"

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Well they did one thing right...

          "I'd rather adjust the seat and radio than be stuck outside with a 500:INERNAL_SERVER_ERROR. That said, maybe the menu should offer a "switch profile""

          I don't have a Tesla, but I can imagine that the seat controls are likely on the tablet glued to the dash so if the seat is run all the way forward and you need it all the way back, you'd have to get in from the passenger side, turn the car on and find the settings page (which will have moved again via an OTA that tossed the UI without asking you first). In a more conventional car, the seat controls would be on the side of the seat within reach before you get in.

          I took my car into the dealer once for an airbag recall and the valet must have been 4'9". I almost broke some ribs on the steering wheel when I climbed back in without checking.

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Well they did one thing right...

        ... Jazz FM rather than Heart ...

        Every time I rent a car I set all the radio presets to Radio 3. Not that I am overfond of posh totty gushing about Red Priest, which is all that Radio 3 seems to do these days, but at least it's not Classic FM.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Well they did one thing right...

          Or just programme in all the local BBC stations. Just as tedious, and pretty useless outside the coverage area.

          I also like trying to programme in the "pop up" stations - the Daily Service on DAB at 0945 is a good one, or the extra Radio 5 channels that sometimes appear. My wife's French car can't get either of these so has to have 198LW programmed up, my French car can.

          M.

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Well they did one thing right...

          Double-oh nine... we've really got to talk.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: Well they did one thing right...

        @AW-S

        "I had to adjust the seat back 300mm just to get in".

        Seriously, that is a problem? And you had to adjust the radio stations? Oh the horrors. I should imagine the PTSD will be kicking in soon. You have my deepest sympathies.

        Oh wait...

        Actually, I can't laugh hard enough.

        1. AW-S

          Re: Well they did one thing right...

          "Seriously, that is a problem?"

          Actually it is, on my wife's very expensive Volvo.

          You cannot move the drivers seat without starting the power (central knob) and you cannot do that without depressing the brake pedal at the same time.

          It requires a certain flexibility an overweight like me struggles with.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Well they did one thing right...

            The weight may be your problem, but the very expensive Volvo not being able to cope with a likely scenario is a Volvo problem.

      4. thenitz

        Re: Well they did one thing right...

        This is the message I've been waiting for .... I guess for the past 10 years or so?

        In early 2010's my team was working on the profile function for a well known brand. The validation guys kept coming with more and more improbable scenarios and the devs' reaction was along the lines of "who would even care about such things?" Now they are vindicated!

        To be honest I don't recall any good solution to that problem. One could disable profile save if the car door had been opened mechanically - but then other people would be upset. We ended up implementing an "undo" feature of sorts by doing automated profile backups in the car maker's app on the phone. Sadly no iCloud.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Well they did one thing right...

          I'd have thought the obvious thing with regard to people getting in and out, is to move the seat back for people to get in and out, then move it to the profile position once they sit down and activate the ignition.

    3. Scene it all

      Re: Well they did one thing right...

      My non-Tesla electric car has one of those fobs with a hidden key as well. But all the physcial key can do is open the door. The fob has to be present inside the car in order for the big blue "power" button to work. At least it does not rely on the internet or cellphone connections.

      They do offer a BlueTooth phone app that will unlock the door as you walk up to the vehicle, but I never got that. All I have to do is push the button on the handle and it will unlock as long as I have the fob in my pocket. It is nice not to have to fumble for *anything* (key or phone) to unlock the door.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet dependency

    IMHO having as a requirement for vehicle entry, access to a server somewhere in the Internet, is one of those things that, just because it CAN be done, doesn't mean it SHOULD be done.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Internet dependency

      I have to wonder what the hell do you do w/o a connection? There's plenty of places locally I know of that still don't have any because they're way out in rural farmland.

      And what if you have a grid blackout, and you need to get in your car for safety? "Oh I'm sorry, I can't connect to a server" doesn't cut it.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Internet dependency

        Just remember, next big war, "All your EV are belong to us."

        No Mad Max post-apocalypse because none of the vehicles will work..

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Internet dependency

          I'm keeping my 20 year old dino-oil burner.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Internet dependency

            ... and there's a reason I've been calling it 'guzzlene' instead of 'gasoline' or 'petrol'. :)

          2. tin 2

            Re: Internet dependency

            This. I've been a bit staunch "my old POS is fine" in recent years but getting more so now with stories like this.

            Bring on the Cuban-style vintage car maintenance era sez I.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        This problem only affected the few that chose to depend only on their phone app. Those sensible ones that had their keycard with them had no problem as it doesn’t need any connection.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Internet dependency

      It is _not_ a requirement.

      All those drivers could have used their keyfob (with some models) or their keycard (with other models). As an extra feature (on some models) they could have bluetooth paired their phone (the initial pair requires internet access but subsequent use does not). As an extra extra feature you can unlock the car with the app (which does require internet access for car and phone).

      So only the people who chose to rely entirely on the last method were caught out.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        I can't think of a more deserving self-selected victim group.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        That reads like a multiple KISS failure.

        Anyone who signed off on that cack needs to miss a few promotions while they take suitable training.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          KISS? Kiss my shiny metal key ring, baby!

      3. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        Just out of interest - and seeing as you are someone who presumably has experience with Tesla (I do not) - this "pairing", how many phones can you pair to?

        My wife came across a problem with hearing aids. Some of the latest ones can be controlled from an app on your smartphone. All sorts of advantages, but in the case of a child, whose smartphone? What happens if the child goes to stay with a friend and the paired smartphone is mum's? What about children who split their time between mum and dad?

        I believe that particular company (which also limited the first generation to working with iPhone only) has now sorted things so that you can pair more than one phone (and Android is also catered for), but still, who signs off on this stuff?

        M.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Internet dependency

          You can "bluetooth key" multiple phones to the car and multiple cars to the phone. There is some limit but I think it is large enough that most families won't hit it. You also get two keycards (I think) and can use the app (subject to internet access obvs.)

          This only applies to newer models (the 3 and the Y) and possibly the new versions of the S + X.

          On the older S + X models you have a fob and you can use the App.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Internet dependency

            You can "bluetooth key" multiple phones to the car and multiple cars to the phone

            can I just TURN ALL THAT *OFF* ? And I use my dumb-phone if there's an emergency...

            1. EveryTime

              Re: Internet dependency

              Sure, you can turn it all off and not carry a keycard. But then you won't be able to get into the vehicle.

              There are companies that remove the keycard transponder and install it into a more convenient enclosure, such as ring.

              Tesla has a very reliable PaaK (Phone as a Key) implementation. It's significantly better than Ford's, which has been problem prone and requires a trip to the dealer to update the software if you want to roll the dice on a more recent version. Plus Ford originally only provided one key fob. They started providing two over the summer because of the PaaK failures, but ran out of chips. Now you get only one and a backorder wait if you want a second.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          >My wife came across a problem with hearing aids

          Thanks for that, my friend is having a cochlea implant, these now come with Bluetooth, so can be paired to iPhones etc. so can be used for streaming and paired with the control app.

          I will add the pairing limit to the list of requirements and questions to ask; my earbuds are limited to two pairings and are buggers to connect to the 'correct' device (ie. the one I want to stream from) when both devices are in range.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Internet dependency

            I said "hearing aids" but actually my wife works on the cochlear implant team here. I realise (after five days) you'll probably not see this message, but if you know the type of implant to be used, I can see if she knows...

            M.

        3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: who signs off on this stuff?

          You can be sure that, whoever they are, they don't have to deal with the fallout.

      4. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        If your told that you can do without the keyfob and keycard and use only the app on your mobile then people will do so.

        That logically and inevitably means that people will go out for the day leaving the (not required) keyfob or keycard at home and then in circumstances like this will be unable to get back into their vehicle because they didn't buy what you say is an optional bluetooth feature.

        Being caught out by not ordering an additional feature for basic levels of operation is at Boeing MCAS levels of dysfunction. I don't care that much because I don't have one, but seriously?

        1. David Nash

          Re: Internet dependency

          Tesla do say "you should take your keycard with you".

          This is the users fault, they should have had the card. The phone unlock when it works is very convenient (via Bluetooth, unlocks fully automatically just by using the door handle) but that has become unreliable in my experience, the app sometimes takes ages to actually connect, so I'd rather just have a keyfob with a button.

          1. Paul 195
            FAIL

            Re: Internet dependency

            I disagree that it is the users' fault. If the car unlocks because you are carrying your phone, it's very easy to go out and not realise that you have forgotten your keyfob (it's in your other trousers, you left your wallet behind.... etc).

            Even bog-standard keyless entry and ignition can be problematic, maybe you meet up with your other half to take the car, you get in, they get out, off you go. Then after you've stopped the engine, you realize that you don't have a keyfob in your pocket and you can't start it again. This hasn't yet happened to me, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time....

            1. Lennart Sorensen

              Re: Internet dependency

              My toyotas both beep at you if you take the key fob out of the car while it is on. If both people have their keys then it doesn't of course as long as one of them is still in the car, but if only one key is with you and you try to leave, you will know. This is not a problem.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Internet dependency

                "My toyotas both beep at you if you take the key fob out of the car while it is on."

                That's a good feature, but if you've met up with the spouse and are swapping cars, they may not leave the radius for which the fob works before getting in the other car leaving you with a beeping car you better not switch off. Better hope they have their phone on and they hear it when you call for them to come back.

                For those of us used to physical keys, we may not be thinking that the key can leave like that. Obviously, if the car is running, the key is in the ignition.

                1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                  Re: Internet dependency

                  Can happen with keys too. I met up with eldest. Needed to get something out of his car, used his key to do so, stayed and chatted a while then drove off in mine with his key in my pocket. Cue rather annoyed phonecall a couple of minutes later once he'd realised, and a swift turn about in the road :-(

                  M.

            2. jvf

              it can happen

              Becoming suspicious of such a scenario, I tested this auto unlock “feature” with my wife’s 2017 Honda where if you’re close enough with the key fob the door will unlock. What if you placed some papers and your key on the roof and drove off? Or, in my case with the key snapped to my backpack, what if I put it down and left? Sure enough, the key could be close enough to start the car but not in it and off you went for a one way drive. Something like this actually happened to a friend. My wife always asks “did you lock the door?” as we leave the car. Another unintended consequence is that, if you have the key you can’t check this because the door will open when you check it. I’ve chucked the keys down the parking lot more than once in an attempt to try the door handle.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: it can happen

                Why not just attach the fob to the keyring with your house keys, like most people do? Most of the scenarios put forward are pretty much solved issue simply by remembering to take what you need with you when you leave the house. Most of the whatboutary above sounds like excuses to me. Yes, people make mistakes, of course they do, but that's not the fault of manufactures. In the specific case of Tesla, it seems that there is a minimum of two, possibly three or four ways of unlocking and activating the car. If people can't manage because one optional method has failed, I find it hard to have sympathy for them.

                1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

                  Re: it can happen

                  "remembering to take what you need with you when you leave the house"

                  Yes, I have a printed checklist of things to remember when I go to work. The list is attached to my keyring. To show you where my mind is at (or isn't at) these days, the first item on the list is "keys". Hey, you never know. The list saved me again this morning as I was about to leave home without my badge.

                  1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: it can happen

                    "The list is attached to my keyring"

                    After having a roommate that was always locking himself out of the house/car, I've made it an ingrained habit to always lock both with the key. One of those "learn from others" things. I set my keys on top of whatever I might need to take with me for the day and since I lock the front door with the key, if I don't have it, I have to go back inside and get it to lock the door and I'll see whatever else I should be taking with me.

                    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                      Re: it can happen

                      Had a Rover 214 with central locking. Not the remote control type, the key-in-the-lock type. In the days when cars still had knobs which popped up and down to lock the doors.

                      The driver's door didn't have an actuator, just the switch for the key, so the knob on that door was quite loose.

                      It was entirely possible to unlock the car, get in through the driver's door and upon closing it for the knob to fall down and lock all the other doors.

                      You can see where this is going - it also worked when exiting the car.

                      Drive to late-collection postbox, leave engine running, pop out of the car to post letter, driver's door swings shut...

                      ...car locks itself with engine running and keys inside. In those days I had no mobile phone, but if I had, it would probably have been inside too.

                      Since then I make a habit of winding the driver's window down first if I'm going to get out with the keys still in the car, though none of my subsequent cars has had the same problem, and if we're going any distance as a family, whoever is not driving carries the spare key.

                      M.

              2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

                Re: it can happen

                Not knowing which model of Honda you use, this suggestion might not be applicable.

                In my case, the proximity unlock applies only to the driver's door, front passenger door, and boot. So to check if the car is locked, I try either of the rear passenger doors. The car checks for proximity of the key-fob AND whether the sensor on the door handle is being touched. The rear passenger door handles do not have sensors.

                Obviously, things might be different for you, as you might not have rear doors, or the car's behaviour might be different, but 'it works for me'.

                NN

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Internet dependency

            "Should" is not "Must"...

            This isn't really the user's fault, it is bad design and marketing on the part of Tesla. aka misselling.

            Tesla marketing has created this vision of how people should use their Tesla - look how cool you look when you use our phone app...

            1. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

              Re: Internet dependency

              So this is exactly the Apple / Google Pay problem. I now rarely take my wallet with bank card because I only need my phone. This works fine until your phone misbehaves, as happened to a friend of mine recently.

              1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

                Re: Internet dependency

                Backup?

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Internet dependency

                  They had backup, just not in their pocket/bag. The issue is real-time (same place - same time) recovery to failure.

                  Interestingly, I don't know anyone who normally takes two cars just in case one fails. Clearly, it does look like the backup to a Tesla/electric car is an ICE vehicle without all the fancy electroonics...

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Internet dependency

                "So this is exactly the Apple / Google Pay problem. I now rarely take my wallet with bank card because I only need my phone."

                You are also always walking around with your whole paycheck or what's left of it in your pocket. If somebody nicks your phone or you drop is down an grate, you're broke and can't get into your car/house/office.

                To make sure I stay within budget, I use old fashioned cash. I do have a debit card for petrol and other things, but if I've run out of my allocation of cash for the day, that's it. Phones are just too easy to break or go missing. By making purchases even more convenient by only needing to bonk your device on the terminal, you can nickel and dime yourself to death without even thinking about it.

            2. bigtimehustler

              Re: Internet dependency

              You can go out and lose your real key. Stuck then too. Much the same as if you forget the keycard and presumably your wallet too! Then on the off chance that server also goes down, you can't drive. In my opinion it's much more likely you'll just lose your real key.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Internet dependency

                "You can go out and lose your real key. Stuck then too."

                Not me. My car has mechanical locks so it is possible to get in. Hidden inside is a spare key with the RFID chip that will start the car. It's presence in the car doesn't mean the doors won't lock or will unlock when the mood takes them.

                It's the bog standard 12v battery that runs all of the basic car functions so if it goes flat, an electronic key won't get you inside. Even if you have to call motorway services for a jump or new battery, at least you can sit in the car protected from the weather. The big traction battery can be at 100% and it won't matter in that case.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          "That logically and inevitably means that people will go out for the day leaving the (not required) keyfob or keycard at home and then in circumstances like this will be unable to get back into their vehicle because they didn't buy what you say is an optional bluetooth feature."

          I'd think it would be going for a night out. Men may opt for a paired down wallet and ladies for a small elegant handbag instead of luggage. The keycard or fob winds up getting left behind as the phone app has always worked before.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Internet dependency

        So you press the unlock button on your phone, which bounces to a server on the other side of the planet, which then when the Tesla polls from that server (or it pushes somehow) bounces back to your car a foot away, and unlocks it? Well that makes perfect sense.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          This is the business model for the Garmin (other GPS sports tracker companies are available) tracker app. I wear my Forerunner 645 when I run, it records all of my personal data. When I get home it 'synchronises' with the Garmin server via my mobile phone. Wen I want to look at my data my phone contacts the Garmin server and downloads it for me to peruse. Never mind that the phone was used to upload it in the first place, and could easily store it, or it could be stored on my main computer.

          However, as for Tesla, I do wonder what happens when the car is out of range of mobile connection and the owner returns and wants to drive home, having used the phone app to unlock it before.

          (BTW excited that a new Tesla dealership has opened up about 1 mile form where I live, oh, hang on, maybe not that excited now.)

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Internet dependency

            >This is the business model for the Garmin...

            So to use your Forerunner 645, it has to login to the remote server before you leave home, otherwise it is incapable of recording your user data?

        3. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          If you place some papers and the key on the roof and drive off, then a big symbol flashed on the dash and a noisy alarm goes off.

          See! The car companies can cope without your help.

      6. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        >As an extra extra feature you can unlock the car with the app (which does require internet access for car and phone).

        So Tesla's don't have unique IPv6 addresses or phone numbers, necessitating a central server to orchestrate communications between previously paired 'keyfob' and car...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          "So Tesla's don't have unique IPv6 addresses or phone numbers, necessitating a central server to orchestrate communications between previously paired 'keyfob' and car..."

          No, from what I had read above, all access methods other than the phone app work locally. Only people using the phone app have to send comms around the planet to make the car door unlock. On the other hand, yes, why didn't they use IPv6 so the car and phone can just talk directly to each other instead of using IPv4 and CGNAT on the phone which then requires a central server. Or even use the cars WiFi hotspot.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: why didn't they use IPv6 so the car and phone can just talk directly to each other

            Can't harvest all that juicy location and timing info so easily if the car and phone talk directly to each other.

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Internet dependency

      Yes, astoundingly stupid. I get that maybe some do it for some sense of "convenience", but for crying out loud, make sure you take the actual keyfob/card with you anyway.

    4. EarthDog

      Re: Internet dependency

      But without it how can they track you and determine your purchase patterns?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Internet dependency

        Erm, Tesla, GPS, continuous logging data. They can probably get a high confidence in whose driving it by the weight sensor in the seat, then add in driving style and entertainment choices to increase that to near-as-dammit certainty.

        Although now that I think about it, that might be a new marketing angle for Tesla. A Speak Your Weight function every time you get in. Maybe a health function where it can say "Hey, Lardass, you put on more weight again, I'm not starting today, get out and walk!"

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Internet dependency

          "Maybe a health function where it can say "Hey, Lardass, you put on more weight again, I'm not starting today, get out and walk!""

          More likely they will sell your information to local gyms and workout equipment stores. You may even start getting ads from cosmetic surgeons that specialize in liposuction. They won't care about your health, but they will care if that information brings them in some more after sale income.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Physical key

      With or without an electronic fob, a metal key doesn’t require a network connection.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Physical key

        @Winkypop "With or without an electronic fob, a metal key doesn’t require a network connection."

        Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla.

        Whether a car comes with a metal key or a keycard makes no difference. Either type of key is all that is needed to unlock the car. I am sure that keycards could go wrong and fail but so can metal keys they can become worn or snap in the lock.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla (require a network connection).

          So where was the 500 error coming from then? Why did Elon tweet about network verbosity?

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla (require a network connection).

            @sabroni "So where was the 500 error coming from then?"

            Whats that got to do with keycards which is what my post was about. There is no 500 error on the keycard as it does not use or require an internet connection.

          2. chuBb.

            Re: Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla (require a network connection).

            Sounds like Web front end coders not considering ingress bandwidth and treating network like its infinite or they shipped debug code and ddossed them selves with trace messages...

          3. David Nash

            Re: Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla (require a network connection).

            Where was the 500 error coming from? the people trying to use the app to unlock.

            The keycard would have been fine, had they brought it with them. It does not need a network, it's NFC.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla (require a network connection).

              >The keycard would have been fine, had they brought it with them. It does not need a network, it's NFC.

              So the app should be able to use NFC/WiFi/Bluetooth or simply call the car's GSM module.

          4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Neither does the keycard that comes with the Tesla (require a network connection).

            It was in the fine article. The app can open the door without an internet connection, but the app needs to be authenticated and (owing to a balls up with the update) the last time the app tried, the server said no.

            This is probably for the best, otherwise anyone could download the app and open your Tesla.

        2. Mongrel

          Re: Physical key

          At least metal keys only 'get worn or snap in the lock' (never seen that in 40 years myself) only affect one car at a time.

          Even then you'll normally have two keys so you can use the spare to climb in through the passenger door until you can call a locksmith to extract the key.

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: Physical key

            A keycard that got damaged and fails to work only affects one car. I don't own a Tesla but I would be surprised if they did not come with spare keycard.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Physical key

              You get two key cards, or fobs as standard (which depends on the car model). These don't use the Internet to work, and Tesla recommend having one on you at all times if using the car.

              1. AW-S

                Re: Physical key

                "These [key cards] don't use the Internet to work"

                Do they require the vehicle to have power to read the card?

                Physical keys open locks - even when powered central locking fails. I know this when returning to long stay at the airport and finding the car "dead".

                1. Frans van Otten

                  Re: Physical key

                  You might want to remember that it's an electric vehicle. If its batteries are depleted then you have other problems.

                  1. TRT Silver badge

                    Re: Physical key

                    The Prius had an Emergency Aux Battery Dead procedure. Use the metal key hidden in the fob to unlock the driver's door, you may need a set of Molegrips as the key's head is tiny, tiny tiny and gives zero leverage to work against the deadlocked doors. Climb into the car, snake your upper body between the front seats, flip down the back seat, straining yourself shifting child seats and picnic blankets out of the way first. Snake further inside the car until you can reach the half-depth flap at the back of the boot under the tailgate, shifting even more crap out of the way in the process. Lift the half-flap, find the hole in the boot lip trim, push a finger inside and grope around in the dark until you can find the bit of red string (this is where female drivers obviously fare a bit better being generally slimmer and more experienced at this kind of activity namely retrieving a lost bit of red string from inside a dark and narrow opening), tug on the string as hard as you can without snapping it. Whilst pulling the string, try and crack open a gap (the gas struts in the tailgate lift will have gone weak by now, and it won't lift itself until it's three foot open anyway, which is physically impossible to achieve given your current prone position).

                    Continue to waggle yourself backwards until you can pop out of the boot, where you can then retrieve the 12V Aux battery from under the offside boot deck plate.

                    Charge battery, reinstall, go deaf as the alarm goes off.

                    Sell Prius and vow to always take the train or bus from now on.

                    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

                      Re: Physical key

                      I had a Peter Parry moment there! Well done TRT.

                    2. Lennart Sorensen

                      Re: Physical key

                      Or you could just: unlock driver's door with physical key, pop hood, connect charger to the terminals for boosting the battery, hit power button to turn on car, and the car computer will fire up and start charging the aux batter from the main battery instantly. Totally trivial. Only had to do it twice when someone left the lights on in the car (would be nice of toyota had made them turn off after a while like VW has been doing for multiple decades).

                      1. TRT Silver badge

                        Re: Physical key

                        Not as much fun that way.

                        Also you can get the boot open that way to get the battery out for reconditioning but once it's gone flat the normal recharge the car does doesn't include a recondition cycle. They also advise against connecting a charger to those terminals as the charger supply often isn't clean enough for the sensitive electronics in a Prius. It should be a DC battery only.

                        1. chuBb.

                          Re: Physical key

                          Be interested to see an AC battery...

                  2. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: Physical key

                    >You might want to remember that it's an electric vehicle. If its batteries are depleted then you have other problems.

                    For which it is more comfortable to be sitting in the car making the calls (assuming mobile has charge and coverage) and waiting (hours) for the roadside assistance services to arrive than standing around in the cold and rain (ie. typical British weather)...

                  3. J. Cook Silver badge

                    Re: Physical key

                    You might be interested to know that hybrids (such as the prius) and even the friggen Tesla have a second, seperate 12 volt battery that's used to power the the vehicle management systems and other items like the fans and whatnot. Why? because this way even in the main battery pack has packed it in, the car still has battery power to limp home with (in the case of the prius) or to run things like fans and locks and other things.

                    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                      Re: Physical key

                      "Why? "

                      The big battery is switched off via a heavy duty contactor (relay) when the car is off for safety.

                      It's not a big worry that the big battery is suddenly going to pack it in the same way a lead acid battery will do. They tend much more often to fade away. Only very occasionally will they die all at once and it's rather obvious when they do. You wind up calling the fire brigade when it happens.

                  4. EveryTime

                    Re: Physical key

                    If a Model 3/Y "house" (12V) battery has gone dead, there is a simple procedure to resolve the problem.

                    You pop open the tow hook cover by pressing on the 1 o'clock position. Inside you will find red and black wires, with the black wire holding on the tow hook cover. Apply 12V, perhaps from a charger or jump start box, to release the electric hood latch. Once the hood is open you can "jump start" or charge the 12V battery.

                    Note that applying 12V when the car is operating normally should be blocked, so this isn't a break-in method, and you can't practice beforehand.

                    If the traction battery still has a charge, it should only take a few seconds for the drivetrain controller to start up and activate the internal 12V charger. At that point the car should be ready to drive.

                    If the traction battery is fully discharged you'll need to leave the charger or jump start box attached for a minute or two to activate the charging system. If you aren't near a charger, it's tow truck or mobile charger time.

                  5. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: Physical key

                    "You might want to remember that it's an electric vehicle. If its batteries are depleted then you have other problems."

                    That big giant battery under the floorboards is switched off when the car is off. A bog standard 12v battery (small) runs all of the regular car stuff when the car is off. If the dome light is left on while you are on a trip, that 12v battery may be dead when you return and those electrical door catches will be useless. If you had a mechanical key and could pop the bonnet, somebody may be able to give you a jump so you can turn the car on and engage the big battery which should make everything work even if you need to replace the 12v battery as they don't like being run flat.

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Physical key

                "Tesla recommend having one on you at all times if using the car."

                Tesla also recommends keeping your hands on the wheel and paying attention even when "Autopilot" is in use.

          2. EveryTime

            Re: Physical key

            I've seen keys snapped off in automotive lock cylinders a few times.

            It most often happens with aftermarket keys, which tend to be brass with a bright plating. Soft brass puts less wear on the key cutting machines than OEM stainless (e.g. manganese steel) or cupronickel, so that's what most key copying shops stock.

            These brass keys are soft enough to easily bend, but then work harden so they easily crack.

            The lock cylinders don't help either. The combination of old hardened grease, pocket lint, and ill-advised graphite application (automotive locks use waterproof grease) can make the lock cylinder bind up.

            (Yes, I have my own vertical key cutting machine for "laser cut", dimple and other security keys. Because.. ahhhh.. well, I'm part of the demographic that reads The Reg)

          3. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Physical key

            Heh. I had a problem with my old 1997 Chevy S-10 were the key cylinder that was in the ignition wore to the point where it would have a problem turning, despite the key being inserted properly. that was a fun trip to the dealer to have them fix.

        3. Reaps

          Re: Physical key

          or you may need to rip your car apart to get in

          https://garagewire.co.uk/news/watch-james-may-reveals-tesla-battery-glitch/

        4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: Physical key

          The thing is, electronic cards can, and do, fail. I don't drive a tesla, but I use RFID cards for travel and to get into my office at work. I have an Oyster card for travel. Even though I keep both cards in wallets, away from any magnetic sources, I'd say on average, they fail every 2 to 3 years.

          I also have a key ring filled with metal keys. I can count the number of times I've dealt with a failed key or door lock in my entire adult life (and I am 50) on the fingers of one hand.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Physical key

            Some of my fellow Corolla owners got caught out because of the lock downs. Hybrid Corollas have a smaller 12v battery than conventional vehicles because it doesn't have to start the ICE. It only needs to power accessories and keep the alarm/door system ticking over.

            But if you don't move the car for several weeks that 12v battery could go flat. The higher spec Corollas (and lower spec models now) have keyless entry. But that doesn't work if the 12v battery is flat. The good news that the key fobs (needed anyway to get in) have a mechanical key inside them. The bad news is that the head of the key is very small. It's a semi circle with a diameter of 10mm so fiddly to use. Plus because a lot of people with keyless entry have never used the mechanical key the lock is stiff.

            That left some people locked out of their cars.

            Thankfully I'd already invested in a trickle charger and anyway keep my car inside a locked garage so don't lock the doors. It's a pity Toyota couldn't have designed the car so that the main battery periodically gave the 12v battery a top-up but I suppose that would have added more costs and most of the time it isn't needed. The car will sit unused for a couple of weeks without a problem apparently. I know I parked mine at an airport for nine days it was fine.

            1. Mr Slasher

              Re: Physical key

              I know someone with a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid with the same issue - leave it for 3 or 4 weeks (as was the case through last year's lockdown) and it won't start because the little battery doesn't hold its charge.

              I prefer low-tech stuff, especially for something expensive like a car. I use the 'dumb' key for my Fabia, even though there's a key with locking remote as well. I would prefer my car didn't have electric windows - I have hands so there's no need for a motor to wind the window for me. Even more so now that the driver's side switch for the passenger window won't work.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Physical key

                "and it won't start because the little battery doesn't hold its charge.

                "

                it's not that the battery won't hold a charge, it's that the car has all sorts of things that run all of the time regardless so the battery is drained flat if the car isn't turned on enough and the 12v battery can be recharged from the traction battery. I'm sure the manufacturers install the smallest and cheapest 12v battery they can get away with. If yours is a couple of years old and you plan on leaving the car for 10 days or more, you may want to invest in a replacement beforehand. I'd hate to get back from a trip and be stranded in an airport/train station car park at 1am trying to find security. I guess I could start a fire, but that might not make them too happy.

            2. Lennart Sorensen

              Re: Physical key

              The relay disconnecting the hybrid battery stays off unless you turn on the ignition and the computer checks everything is OK. They don't want that done unless you are actually going to start the car since depleting the hybrid battery is a much much bigger hassle than dealing with a drained 12V aux battery. I have only seen it drained when the lights were left on in the car.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Physical key

              >But if you don't move the car for several weeks that 12v battery could go flat.

              In the case of my neighbours Jaguar, a week without moving the car on a reasonable journey was enough to leave the 12v battery with insufficient charge to do anything...

              1. J. Cook Silver badge

                Re: Physical key

                .. that reminds me, I need to shift cars about tonight and run the parental unit's old car around to get it some exercise and top off that battery.

          2. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: Physical key

            And door locks themselves can freeze up in cold climates -- especially on older vehicles where the weatherstripping has stiffened and cracked with age allowing water to seep in. Even if the lock -- mechanical or electronic -- works, the latch may not free up. Solutions involve a hair drier (if you care about the paint job) or a propane torch (if you don't) or entering through a rear door (if there is one, the weatherstripping on those will likely be less worn) and climbing over the seats in order to start the car which can then be run for 20 minutes or so with the heat on full. But won't the latch freeze up again when you turn the engine off? Very likely, Yes.

            Waiting for Spring, or moving to a warmer climate will also work.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Physical key

            > Even though I keep both cards in wallets, away from any magnetic sources, I'd say on average, they fail every 2 to 3 years.

            Oyster cards are RFID cards so it would have to be a pretty hefty magnetic field to generate enough current to do damage. Much more likely is that it is general mechanical stress - the repeated flexing in your wallet - that snaps or detaches the aerial track from the chip.

          4. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Physical key

            "I also have a key ring filled with metal keys. I can count the number of times I've dealt with a failed key or door lock in my entire adult life (and I am 50) on the fingers of one hand."

            Same here. There are some things that are just the best solution to a problem and any changes are a move in the wrong direction. I use the fob with my car all of the time, but the battery in the fob went flat last week and I needed to use the metal key. Not a problem and if I were on the road, I could have continued using the metal key with no issue. As it was, I was heading out anyway and stopped off to pick up a new battery. If you ever have to replace the battery and it's number isn't on the case, scratch it on the case so next time you don't have to open it up to find out what it is. Those little screws won't live long if they are run in and out too many times.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Physical key

              Those little screws won't live long if they are run in and out too many times.

              Screws? You obviously drive a luxury vehicle. My Corolla fob relies on plastic clips and you can open it to get at the battery just using your fingers.

      2. ITS Retired

        Re: Physical key

        Physical keys have a proven track record for a thousand or two years. Radio for a little over a hundred years. The internet for a couple of decades. Guess which has the best track record for reliability.

        For me a key fob, with a physical key in it that will open the door and start the vehicle.

        There is such a thing as being too fancy and complicated to be reliable. The newer high end and not so high end vehicles, with all their computers and electronics for simple mechanical stuff, have crossed that line a few years ago. Centrally located touch screens in place of physical knobs and buttons border on safety hazards. Today's vehicles are a whole course work of Just Because It Can Be Done Doesn't Mean It Should. JBICBDDMIS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I bet your fob comes with a key...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        One needs to RTFM to know it....

      2. Kane
        Coat

        "I bet your fob comes with a key..."

        Nudge nudge, wink wink

        Mine's the one with the Norwegian salmon in the pocket.

    3. AMBxx Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Maybe you don't use a key, but I bet that if you stop your car in the middle of nowhere that whatever you used to start the car will restart it.

      You leave home using just your phone to start your car. Park somewhere with no mobiile signal. You're stranded unless you brought one of the other methods of starting your car.

      Dreadful design.

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        "Dreadful design."

        Think of it as a safety feature. If you can't get into your Tesla you and the rest of us are safe from Musk and Company's sometimes dubious design decisions.

        Key fobs ARE convenient. I've been known to install an Avital unit into an older car without remote entry in order to get that convenience. But twice in the past three decades, I have had to deal with key fobs with weak batteries. Once -- on a subfreezing night in rural Vermont -- warming the fob by vigorous rubbing got the door open and engine running. The other time I jury rigged something with a battery from another device and some scraps of wire. Neither car was mine incidentally. I think cars without physical locks are a problem waiting to happen and won't buy one.

        As for a vehicle that requires an internet connection for entry and use. That'd be really odd. Maybe for an armored car or some other special purpose vehicle there's some rationale. But for just another set of wheels... Really, that's bizarre. I have to believe there must be some alternative method of access even though it may not be obvious.

        Incidentally, having a physical key in the fob doesn't help if there is no physical lock to insert it into. Tesla is not the only car maker whose designers possibly are better suited to jobs in the food service industry.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oh - don't need an electronic fob to suffer in cold weather. Try -11 degrees C at 3 am at a motorway in France with no fuel and a frozen fuel cap that opens with a key .....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I had this experience years ago. I'd stopped for fuel at some ungodly hour of the morning to give ne enough to get there and back on a 150 mile each way journey and felt that the key in the petrol cap was bending so gave up trying to get fuel at the first service station carried on, luckily the temperature got above freezing before I ran out of petrol

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Pah! All you need to do is unfreeze the petrol cap by stuffing newspaper around it and using a lighter.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "I think cars without physical locks are a problem waiting to happen and won't buy one."

          Add cars without mechanically operated handbrakes to that won't buy list. There are probably a few other ideas that designers can come up with as well.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            'In gear' vs 'handbrake on'

            For the last few years of work, I walked to work every day. The car was parked on a slight incline, so I started off by leaving the hnadbrake on, which then rusted disks to pads, and when I needed the car I was always worried that I would be unable to free the brake pads from the disks. So instead I used to leave it in gear. Can you do that with an electric car, like a Tesla?

            1. Dog11

              Re: 'In gear' vs 'handbrake on'

              Leaving it in gear (or "park") mostly works. But if you park on an incline, and your front (assuming FWD) wheels are sitting on ice, and the day warms up to above freezing, it'll slide downhill if the handbrake isn't also on. Ask me how I know. Well, I guess if the rear wheels are also on ice, it'll slide anyhow. But I wouldn't think a little rust on the disks would prevent releasing the pads, though it does make for noisy brakes until you've worn the rust off the disks.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: 'In gear' vs 'handbrake on'

                For a manual transmission, park it, apply handbrake just enough to hold car (don't yank it as hard as possible and stretch the cable, as is the habit of someone I know), put it in gear and before turning the engine off, turn the wheels so that if the car does roll, it rolls up against the kerb. Wiggle the steering wheel to engage the wheel lock.

                When getting in, before sticking your foot on the clutch, make sure your other foot is on the footbrake, just in case!

                If the car is left for some time then yes, the pads might have bound slightly, but they'll be fine once you're moving, and by not putting the handbrake on cable-stretchingly hard, you have a bit of wiggle room.

                Works around here anyway, and we have some pretty steep roads and driveways to deal with, didn't take long to work out that it wasn't worth taking a chance.

                On some very steep roads near here, sometimes people park at an angle and creep until a wheel is just touching the kerb before applying brake etc. Friends live on one of the steepest roads, and on that road, people park perpendicular to the kerb. Good thing it's not a through road. Explore that area and you'll probably find most cars parked with wheels turned. This car shows examples of all the techniques!

                M.

      2. Piro Silver badge

        No, stupid user.

    4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      I guess its a teachable moment. People have been unlocking cars for decades using keyless entry systems. Not always their own cars either.

      I'm curious what went wrong. So a 5000 error suggests phone could contact server but and unhandled error. So owners left looking at cryptic message instead of a functional car. I'm guessing car to phone pairing doesn't normally depend on network availability so people can drive when there's no signal.

      But seems like a normal IT risk in depending on something that shouldn't be required and might be unavailable. A key seems a more reliable solution.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        " I'm guessing car to phone pairing doesn't normally depend on network availability so people can drive when there's no signal."

        Unless there has been an OTA update applied and you need to re-pair your device to the car via the internet. Just because the car has cell service to get the update doesn't mean your phone will have service too. I turn off all auto-updates on everything. I prefer to wait some time and see if anybody is having issues or the company has to retract the update when it turns out to be bricking people's devices. I'd be very "unhappy" if my car ceased to operate due to a bad update while sat in my driveway. I'd be a bit more than that if the car bricked while away from home. It would really be a bad thing on a first date.

    5. Steve Graham

      My (petrol) car has the battery under the boot floor. From outside, the boot lid only opens electrically but there is an internal emergency release. I make damned sure that the physical key for the driver's door is kept lubricated and working.

    6. jmch Silver badge

      "I haven’t opened a car with a physical key since the 1990s"

      Exactly what I came to say.

      "Teslas don't use conventional keys. Instead they require the presence of a fob..."

      Fob for keyless entry / ignition has been around many years.

      Incidentally, if you are replacing it with a mobile phone, shouldn't it be set up so teh phone can communicate directly with the car (bluetooth or even NFC)?

      1. EveryTime

        Read the previous comments. A Tesla 3/Y and new S/X is usually set up with bluetooth PaaK (Phone as a Key), which requires no cell coverage for either the phone or car. You just need to be reasonably close to one of the doors.

        The issue in the story only happens when you use the phone app to signal the car to remotely unlock. You can usually do this from anywhere, but it requires both you and the vehicle to have connectivity to Tesla's server.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          "The issue in the story only happens when you use the phone app to signal the car to remotely unlock. You can usually do this from anywhere, but it requires both you and the vehicle to have connectivity to Tesla's server."

          Yes, and therefore as others have pointed out, it's not Tesla's fault if some dumb users are using a convenient non-guaranteed-working option as their ONLY option instead of having a guaranteed-working option as instructed by Tesla.

    7. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "To be fair to Tesla, I haven’t opened a car with a physical key since the 1990s."

      I did last week. The battery in my fob died. No itch, I stuck the key in the lock, turned and it worked just like magic. After a stop by the post office, I ran into the store and picked up a new battery for the fob and all is right in the world once again. My previous car's wireless lock system gave up the ghost and I just used the key for a bunch of years rather than spend several hundred dollars and hours at the dealer all to save a few seconds a day.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    MuskWorld

    Teslas have had many problems because they were designed quickly and things weren't thought through. Tis is one of them.

    In MuskWorld, everything works as it is meant to. Server outages are never considered because Elon knows they don't happen. The normal solution that every electronically unlocking car I've ever owned or rented had - a physical key hidden in the fob - was never considered because it would never be needed.

    Elon is not the only one. Last month in ZuckWorld they knew employees could not possibly be locked out of the campus or FarceBook internal systems because the server would never go down.

    In this brave new cloudy world, IRL has no meaning.

    1. Howard Sway Silver badge

      Re: MuskWorld

      I suspect the problem has something to do with the fact that, in these worlds, to criticise Dear Leader's pet ideas is a one way ticket to expulsion from the cult, and therefore stupid ideas like having to keep battery wasting Bluetooth on all the time on your phone in order to unlock your car "conveniently" don't get the criticism they merit.

      All these high tech methods of unlocking a car are a great example of over-engineered and pointless uses of tech. If you disagree, you have to be able to explain what is so difficult and time consuming about having to put a key in a lock and turning it, and what benefits make the extra costs of the fancy gizmo tech solution worthwhile.

      But of course, it's all marketing isn't it? "Look at me, I can unlock my car with an app!". Yeah, congratulations Mr Gullible.

      1. Persona

        Re: MuskWorld

        Whilst it's not something that I condone there are many people out there who choose not to carry, cash, credit/debit cards or keys around with them. They do however have phones that go everywhere with them.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: MuskWorld

          OTOH I don't go out without the keys to both cars (except when I've lent SWMBO my key to her car because ... whatever) but more often than not don't have my phone with me. If I do have the phone there's a substantial probability that the battery's flat.

      2. David Nash

        Re: MuskWorld

        Tesla tell people to take the keycard with them. Unlocking via a button in the app is pretty pointless I agree, because it's less convenient. But unlocking automatically when you use the door handle whilst carrying a phone that's paired with the car - that is convenient and nice, when it works.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: MuskWorld

        "But of course, it's all marketing isn't it? "Look at me, I can unlock my car with an app!""

        And then you watch the DefCon/BlackHat video on the team that can do that to your car from the other side of the world without you knowing. Before long cars will broadcast their VIN number and police/dog catchers and private detectives can all the manufacturer to have the car to slow down and stop, lock the doors and allow The Man to unlock doors one at a time so you can get out, do the hoeky pokey and lie face down on the pavement. They've wanted this for years now, "to protect the children".

        You being able to open the doors with an app is just a way for others to also get in.

  5. Falmari Silver badge

    Don't rule out the app update

    From the BBC report https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-59357306

    "Professor David Bailey from the Birmingham Business School has written extensively on the automotive industry. He also drives a Tesla and experienced the outage on Friday."

    And

    "About 500 users reported an error on the app at around 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT) on Friday, according to the outage tracking site DownDetector."

    So app update released 18/11/21 error reported 19/11/21.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the record...

    You can always unlock the car with the key card they give you, without an internet connection and with your phone battery dead. Even with a phone, you can unlock and start the car without an internet connection (with Bluetooth) so long as you've previously authenticated the phone to the car properly (which requires both an internet connection _and_ physical presence with the aforementioned key card). What you can't do is control the car from outside Bluetooth range, or use some of the more "advanced" control modes available with the app, such as having your car drive itself through the parking lot to where you're standing (handy when it's raining, though I'd definitely pay attention to the admonishment to only use that feature when you have an unbroken line of sight to the vehicle), or to e.g. adjust the charging limits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For the record...

      Sounds complicated. Wouldn't it be cool if someone invented the "key"?

    2. Shane Sturrock

      Re: For the record...

      Correct. I noticed this outage because my TWC Manager couldn’t access the car API to turn on charging and the app showed the 500 error. However, despite what the various claims are, I was always able to walk up to the car, unlock it and start it using the app. I was not locked out and the car was not useless. I just couldn’t access it from the phone app itself. No way would I go back to the Stone Age of having a key hole and worse, having to actually turn a key or press a button to start the car.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: For the record...

        @Shane Sturrock Correct me if I am wrong, I don’t own a Tesla. From what you and AC posted there are 3 ways to unlock and start a Tesla.

        1) With the keycard.

        2) With the phone app over Bluetooth.

        3) With the phone app through Tesla’s server when not in Bluetooth range. This is the one that failed.

        So, no one was unable to start their car if they walked up to it and used either the keycard or the phone app. They just could not start it when outside Bluetooth range.

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: For the record...

          Assuming the phone had been previously paired with the car, yes.

          I guess it's possible that the app update required re-pairing the phone? I don't know, but it's plausible. Obviously the mainstream media will overhype such failings anyway.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For the record...

          Yup, exactly this.

          So the only people locked out would have been those that hadn't paired the app to the car with Bluetooth AND who didn't carry their keycard. If they'd done either one of these things, they'd have been fine.

          1. Craig 2
            Facepalm

            Re: For the record...

            Ahh, so the same class of idiots who can't turn on their house lights or open their front door when the internet goes out?

          2. Dog11

            Re: For the record...

            Non Tesla owner question. If you have the keycard, what's the benefit of a paired phone?

        3. Shane Sturrock

          Re: For the record...

          Happy to reply to you because you’re being nice about it.

          Yes, I have two keycards and carry one with me in my wallet but rarely use it. It is useful to have a card I can give to someone if they need to do work on my car such as when someone dented the door.

          The phone itself opens the car up via Bluetooth. You don’t even have to open the app and this method wasn’t affected by the server outage because the phone is the key. I always have my phone with me so it’s by far the best way to open the car up. There’s also no on switch in the car. My LEAF has a fob but you still have to press the button on the door to unlock it and when you get in you have another button to ‘start’ the car. The Tesla doesn’t do this, you just walk up and the door is already unlocked. You get in and there’s no ‘on’ switch, it is already on. If you want to drive it there is an optional PIN that the owner can set which prevents someone driving off if they do get in with your phone or keycard as an added security measure.

          The phone app has a lot of great features such as setting climate control, setting charge rate and turning charging on and off as well as summon where you can call the car out of a tight parking space. Had a few times where someone parked a big old car too close to mine so I couldn’t get in the door so I just summon the car out of the space and go on my way. With advanced summon I can even tell the car to come to me which I have done when it is raining heavily and I just call the car which pulls out of the space and drives up to where I am. The app is great but it relies on the Tesla API and that’s what failed.

          The nice thing about the API (and I don’t get all the hate of a technology driven vehicle that runs Linux here on The Register but the media seems to have done a great job of pushing an awful lot of bull) is that you can access the car from other software. I have a Raspberry Pi hooked up to my wall connector which monitors solar production, Powerwall state of charge and house use and when there’s solar excess it puts that into the car rather than selling it to the grid. It can dial the amps up and down to soak up the excess and no more and when there’s no longer enough excess it can stop charging, then start again later when there is an excess again. I leave my car plugged in all the time so it is always ready to take this excess power and it covers most of my daily driving just from ‘free’ solar power. The API issue meant this stopped working and I couldn’t access the car via the app. Irritating but not the end of the world.

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: For the record...

            @Shane Sturrock Cheers for the reply, very informative on what the app does.

            So as I thought the article is 'much ado about nothing'. An alternative method of unlocking a Tesla failed but the supplied key (keycard, fob) still worked. Just like key would in my car.

      2. sabroni Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: worse, having to actually turn a key or press a button to start the car.

        Oh, the horror! You poor thing, just thinking about such terrible concepts must be traumatic.

        Still, at least you have the love of your lord Elon to guide you through these dark times....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For the record...

        "No way would I go back to the Stone Age of having a key hole and worse, having to actually turn a key or press a button to start the car"

        It's just as well you're being sarcastic, because otherwise you'd sound like a right nob, the sort of person who is easily impressed with the "shiny shiny" due to general cluelessness, and an overwheliming need for a phalic comfort.

      4. Plest Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: For the record...

        "No way would I go back to the Stone Age of having a key hole and worse, having to actually turn a key or press a button to start the car."

        Ugh! Me able to drive my car with local electric keyfob, car still work fine. You no go nowhere without internet!

      5. Piro Silver badge

        Re: For the record...

        I hope you're not serious, a key in the keyhole and turning it is a fine solution. Who wants a pocket full of phones or fobs when driving?

        Might as well put it somewhere... a special hole for the starting device would be convenient.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tesla

    It’s a cult for some

    1. Unoriginal Handle

      Re: Tesla

      Close...

      1. mark4155

        Re: Tesla

        Too close for comfort! :-)

    2. David Nash

      Re: Tesla

      Only some. Please don't tar us all with the same brush.

      Signed a Tesla owner who bought it on its merits and price, not for gimmicks like app unlock or making the fart noises by pressing the horn.

      I am also an Amazon user, and worship neither Bezos nor Musk.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Tesla

        This thread is an outlet for people who can’t cope with changes and their way of life being left behind. It’s all a bit insecure and emotional.

        Me? I have a hasp and padlock across my door.

  8. ghp

    So, every time some poor sod wants to get into his or her tesla, Melon Usk gets notified? True, you probably don't buy them out of concern for your privacy.

  9. Filippo Silver badge

    No key?

    I'm fairly sure they all have a keycard or something, in addition to the phone app; otherwise, you'd be screwed every time you're somewhere with no Internet. So, I don't think anyone was actually unable to use the car because of this; at most, they had to fish out the real key. A minor annoyance. Unless they lost it, which would be on them.

  10. pavel.petrman

    500

    When one spits out a round hundred error code over HTTP, it means either the error is really unexpected (one didn't pave the path to a more specific code, like, say, the usual and quite often seen 418) or that the implementer didn't really bother. Like, when selling a feature called autopilot, which actually is no autopilot at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 500

      excuse smells of fish.

      not sure why a 500 error would be due to verbosity.

      Normally that's the code/server is fucked. (if server if out of memory, maybe, but then the code would be fucked and not fit for purpose, presuming not crazy amount of unlock requests suddenly taking server down)

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: 500

        500 is unexpected error, a lot of API calls return that in all sorts of situations.

        e.g. (assuming exception based language)

        Your API typically handles a few known scenarios & gives appropriate error numbers e.g. forbidden, too many requests , timeout, authentication etc.

        But an unexpected exception will typically give generic 500 (though typically you will code API so that the additional info is logged somewhere for troubleshooting issues & maybe even return exception message to calling user).

        Unexpected error could be anything from server out of memory issues through to coding errors such as division by zero or race conditions giving an error.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 500

          none of that would account for "verbosity", it was working after app update then died.

          How big a return value do you need for a simple unlock? are you running it all on a single 8086 with 1 core and 1mb of ram?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: 500

          The more effort you put into expecting errors the less likely you are to have errors, let alone unexpected ones.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 500

      Autopilot is actually a pretty good description of the feature.

      In an airplane, turning on the autopilot in no way relieves the pilot of the responsibility of paying attention to what the plane is doing. A simple autopilot is essentially cruise control for the sky. A sophisticated autopilot can almost take the plane from takeoff to touchdown without pilot input. But the pilot in charge is - or at least should be - still monitoring progress and ready to take control for the entire flight.

      So yes, autopilot is very much accurate.

      It's the "full self driving" feature that Tesla is lying about. Because that's not ready yet, and with Tesla ditching radar for camera-only, it never will be.

      1. David Nash

        Re: 500

        This is true, but the problem there is the general public thinks that an aircraft autopilot you know, automatically pilots (ie flies) the plane.

        So would naturally think that a car "autopilot" automatically drives the car.

        I wouldn't trust it to do so anyway.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: 500

        "A simple autopilot is essentially cruise control for the sky."

        The average person doesn't know that. There are more advanced autopilot controls now that will navigate the plane from point to point with the pilot hands off. If ATC gives the pilot an update, they can just edit the path in the FMC. A few newer planes such that the Daher TBM have a dead pilot button that a passenger can push so the plane will locate the nearest suitable airport and land itself.

  11. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic

    Was he trying to fob everyone off with this explanation?

    1. mark4155

      Re: Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic

      An extra point for comedy at it's best.

  12. David Lewis 2
    Boffin

    Only 20 years late?

    I’m sorry Dave, I can’t let you do that.

  13. wolfetone Silver badge

    The state of it.

    Imagine you stood next to your car - and you want to get in to it. Normally you would either blip the key and the car opens, or put the key in the car, twist, and you're in. Tesla decide that's far too crap of an idea, so it's much better to have an app on your phone, request the car to open that's 1ft away from you, and for that request to go on to the internet and back round to the car, which then opens it.

    The only thing worse than the idea that this is a better way to do things, is for people to actually defend this as a good idea.

    It's not a good idea. It's a shit idea. There is absolutely no problem with a key, or a remote fob, or Mercedes' way of having a key that you keep upon your person - which contains a key which you can still open the car if the fob don't work. There is no middle man, it's just you and the car. There is no need for that request or feature to even see the internet.

    Good luck in 10 years time when Tesla decide to shut the servers down!

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Check the other comments. This only stopped people managing their car from their phones when outside of bluetooth range.

      Fobs and keycards are provided (and anybody who relies upon their phone not running out of battery rather than bringing the keycard is blatantly asking to get screwed)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "anybody who relies upon their phone not running out of battery rather than bringing the keycard is blatantly asking to get screwed"

        Well it does confirm tesla fan boys are fuckwits with too much money

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "The only thing worse than the idea that this is a better way to do things, is for people to actually defend this as a good idea."

      I have a feeling that some people got this feature to work and just stopped there. Since it worked, they didn't bother to pair the car via bluetooth or didn't re-pair when they replaced their phone. I now that when I dress up to go out, I sometimes just take my driving license, debit and credit cards with me in a posh wallet rather than the lump with all of other crap in it.

  14. GlenP Silver badge

    The earlier reports I read made it clear that the people unable to get into their cars had left the key card at home, after all the app always works, doesn't it?

    As the app will work without connecting to the server, and it seems to be a server issue, I wonder if they'd have been OK if they'd turned off mobile data?

  15. IceC0ld

    Tesla - PHONE HOME

    could be just me, BUT

    do we REALLY need our CAR ffs, to be calling home for EVERYTHING ?

    and does the Musky one REALLY need all that data ?

    got to say, for ME, I prefer the old style, key / fob access, and NO data leak worries

    but as we all know nowadays, if there's data, someone will want it, and monetize it, won't be that long before it gets weaponized, and I DON'T mean blowing us to bits, it just needs to deny access / deny usage / deny us what is ours, and possibly use the data to cause issues further down the line

    we already got FB, sorry, mean META :o) with their loose ideas of morality and safekeeping

    why can't we just have a car, that does what cars do, gets us from A to B ?

    or is that just too much to ask ? :o(

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wondering if CEOs responding to tweets is the new best practice for tech support

    That used to be the only way to get support from uk2.net. BTDTGTTS

  17. Fursty Ferret

    Tesla owner here - hopefully this post will be surrounded by a warning cloud of smug so that you can skip past if necessary.

    This is a clickbait story and a non-event. People weren't locked out of their cars. Teslas use Bluetooth to unlock, and as a backup you can touch the phone or a key-card to the NFC reader on the door pillar. You get two of these keys with the car, and spares are ten quid each.

    Do you honestly think that if a lack of network connection resulted in a stranded car, it wouldn't already have been mentioned at some point?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      It's a warning.

      Can you or anyone else guarantee that your car, or ANY car that relies on network connectivity to operate, will one day, suddenly and without warning, no longer operate?

      No, you cannot.

      1. jtaylor

        "Can you or anyone else guarantee that your car, or ANY car that relies on network connectivity to operate, will one day, suddenly and without warning, no longer operate?"

        Several times my car suddenly, without warning, ceased to operate. Ignition and transmission failures, nothing related to networks. Heck, nobody can guarantee that you or I as humans will not one day, suddenly and without warning, cease to operate.

        There are legitimate concerns about connectivity. This is not one.

  18. casaloco

    Supposed to be the future?

    Tesla is supposed to be the future, so why doesn't it open using a palm reader built in tot the drivers window?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Supposed to be the future?

      Have you ever tried to unlock your phone when your hands are wet or cold?

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Supposed to be the future?

        "Have you ever tried to unlock your phone when your hands are wet or cold?"

        Forget that, my current phone only works with my right index finger. For some reason it's dead set against me using any other. That phone is going way this next week so I'll see if the new one is finger agnostic or not.

    2. NXM Silver badge

      Re: Supposed to be the future?

      Would it tell you you'll have a long life and three children?

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Supposed to be the future?

      That would work in many warm countries, in the UK we're now getting condensation and frost on the windows, there are also places where it gets sufficiently cold that you don't want to place your bare hand on to an exposed surface...

  19. JavaJester

    420 Error -- driver impaired

    A useful error would be a 420 error if the app detects the driver is impaired.

  20. confused and dazed
    Flame

    Thermostat

    Seems a bit like my fantastic British Gas wifi enabled thermostat. Instead of having a dial on my wall that was linked to my boiler I have a battery powered monstrosity that has to link to my router and then to the connected boiler controller..... Not once did the old thermostat give me an error code or complained about connectivity. Not once did I need to download an app ....

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Thermostat

      The Hive does not require an internet connection or the Hive hub unless you want to have remote control. If you don't you can set it up in "Stand alone" mode in which the thermostat communicates directly with the boiler controller. Page 18 onwards in the installation instructions.

    2. Bruce Ordway

      Re: Thermostat

      >> battery powered monstrosity...

      Yes, everyone I know hates their "smart" thermostats.

      (Difficult to operate, nuisance battery maintenance and easily "friable" electronics).

      >> instead of.... a dial

      New "old fashioned" dials are a very popular item in hardware stores - in the USA at least.

      I know I am so much happier since I replaced my "smart" controller with a dial ( and it wasn't difficult).

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Thermostat

        My Hive is great. Thermostat batteries (normal Duracell) seem to last about two year and it's far easier to set schedules than on a conventional one. Also I can carry the thermostat round the house so that the room I am in is the right temperature.

      2. confused and dazed

        Re: Thermostat

        Thanks, yes I had my new thermostat for about a year when I was contacted by British Gas. For the paltry sum of £150 , I could upgrade my thermostat to the latest model.

        Not once in my life previously have I thought ...."mmmmm - that dial needs an upgrade"

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Thermostat

      My heating is passive solar (if you discount the little tiny fan) and uses an Arduino. A bit more complex that the old fashioned Mercury tilt switch thermostats from my youth. I'm adding another panel to the system this winter since I'm in a good place for sun and also a thermal battery so when the house is plenty hot, heat will be routed to the battery and re-radiated when the sun goes down. I use an evaporative cooler in the summer and just turn it on and off manually since when it's really hot, I just leave it on.

      I don't have any need to remotely control the functionality. The heating system is darn near free and the swamp cooler doesn't cost much so If I leave it on, no big deal. I can just set the temp I would like to have and not worry about it.

      The original solar heating system used to just work with a bimetallic switch and would trigger the little fan when the panel reached a certain temperature. For me, adding more panels and an Arduino is just DIY fun. Part serious too as I am trying to get to the point where my monthly nut is as low as possible without sacrificing comfort. I might add some logging in the future to stretch my coding skills and see where I have room to optimize some more. I might also build a swamp cooler control system that uses a variable DC motor on the main fan to get the best cooling for given conditions. It's just high/med/low and requires me to figure out what will work best. The low setting for the fan typically gives the best Delta T, but it would be fun to really dial that in. I'm on the look out for a particular used unit that seems to be the easiest to modify.

  21. imanidiot Silver badge

    And this is why I hate always connected cars

    How in the Ruttin' world does an update like this get pas any sort of testing and released to user cars? And why in the world can a software or connectivity glitch prevent something as basic as opening the car or turning it on?

    Oh, your dad had a heart-attack, might not have long to live and you need to get to hospital? Or you're just driving the kids to soccer? Well sucks to be you, car says No "500 Server Error"

    Makes me more and more inclined to just stick to my good old 2001 Volvo.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: And this is why I hate always connected cars

      "Oh, your dad had a heart-attack, might not have long to live and you need to get to hospital? Or you're just driving the kids to soccer? "

      Those are the extreme cases, but nobody wants to be held up for hours with something so stupid as this. Something that should be taught in schools is formulating back-up plans. What do you do if your key snaps off in the lock? What do you do if the water is shut off for repairs? What's your move if you drop your phone in the loo? At work? After a particularly hot curry lunch? How do you access your car if the internet is down and that's the only way you can open the door and turn it on?

      I was often the devil's advocate when I was working in aerospace. We were always running through scenarios and how we can improve designs. We tried to keep it rational, but throwing in a few low probability issues that could lead to catastrophe was good exercise. Some risks we would just have to accept and in doing so, make sure that the consequences wouldn't injure or kill anybody. I was also the safety officer which meant I was always keeping an eye out for things that could lead to injuries.

  22. Davegoody
    Devil

    Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

    I love the Register, and always have done, but this report is just wrong. Yes, some (and I mean a few) Tesla drivers were inconvenienced, however, ALL Teslas are supplied with a Key (or a keycard for M3 / MY). I CAN unlock the car using my iPhone if I want to, I choose to be sensible and carry my key with me. The users that were really inconvenienced here were Model 3 / Model Y owners, who didn't take their key with them, and it's a credit card sized bit of plastic, so hardly difficult to have it in the wallet / purse......

    Using a phone as a key is a convenience at best. What happens if it crashes, the battery expires, you drop it etc, quite apart from a Tesla-related issue ?

    Common-sense should prevail. I have to declare I am a Tesla Driver (Model X), but was wholly unaffected apart from noticing that the app wouldn't connect to my car, which meant a 30 second walk outside to check how much charge it had. That was the limit of my inconvenience.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

      >but this report is just wrong.

      Sorry, which bit exactly is wrong?

      1. Davegoody

        Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

        The bit that says "Teslas don't use conventional keys. Instead they require the presence of a fob, key card, or authenticated mobile phone app that links to the electric vehicles over Bluetooth. This is apparently easier and/or more convenient than a key, or something. Heck, everything's better with Bluetooth, right?"

        If your phone was connected via BT then it would have still worked..... it's just those that were not in range of BT, and were stupid enough to not have a real keycard with them. VERY few Tesla drivers were affected, this was really a non-story. Non-technical press you can understand going with the sensationalist headlines, but The Register is better than this. Absolutely right to report on it, as it's right in the ballpark for the readership, but the context was all wrong. This was such a non-event, it's "news" like this that the anti-EV brigade just love pouncing on.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

          The article is accurate, but that hasn't stopped plenty of commenters from coming over all "omg lol tesla fail", because they fail to understand that there are other ways (normal ways) into the car.

          I have two electric cars, neither are Tesla. Both have apps. Both apps are so utterly useless I wouldn't rely on them to open themselves without crashing, let alone open the car. My takeaway from this article is not "tesla fail", it's that there are people in this world that rely on apps for critical operations. I find this terrifying.

          1. Mike 125

            Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

            >My takeaway from this article is not "tesla fail", it's that there are people in this world that rely on apps for critical operations

            Then you're extremely late to the party. Hope you brought good beer and drugs.

            1. ecofeco Silver badge

              Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

              Lots of beer and drugs. It's the only way to cope with a world gone mad.

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

            "there are people in this world that rely on apps for critical operations. I find this terrifying."

            Nobody is teaching them to do the failure analysis. Thinking should be taught in school. Instead of updating your InstaPintaTwitFace account, perhaps it's a good idea to sit quietly and run through some "what-if" scenarios for important things. I've rescued a few people in my life that have gotten themselves stuck in a situation they didn't know how to get out of. Nothing really major, but worrying none the less.

    2. David Nash

      Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

      Why was davegoody downvoted? because he admitted driving a Tesla? Because he stated a few objective facts? Because he ruined the narrative?

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Unusually uninformed and biased article by the Register here.....

        I didn't downvote Davegoody, but it was right at the top of the article: "**Some** Tesla drivers ... (emphasis added)". So Mr. Sharwood prefers a physical key to "a fob, key card, or authenticated mobile phone app that links to the electric vehicles over Bluetooth". Him suggesting that Tesla could have physical keys doesn't make anything in his report inaccurate. Finally, it's not a non-event. The CEO does not reply to non-events! It's a story, just like any other tech-related news we get at El Reg.

  23. Ozan

    OK, I am NOT buying tesla definitely.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Tesla's overall QC is not good. That alone is a good enough reason.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        People make the mistake of thinking that a £50k Tesla is a £50k car and therefore somewhere in the "Mercedes" quality area. It's not; it's a £25k car with a £25k battery, which means that as far as structure, mechanics and interior go you're in Ford Mondeo territory, or would be if Tesla could do QC.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Tesla QC is horrible even for Dacia Sandero territory. I've seen Austin Princesses put together better than some Tesla's. I've seen a model 3 where I couldn't find a single straight consistent panel gap, the interior had bad gaping, seat stitching coming loose, etc. All basics that other car manufacturers have all figures out for a long time.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "All basics that other car manufacturers have all figures out for a long time."

            That's the big difference I see between the new EV startups and the legacy manufacturers. All of the old makers have experience putting different power plants in their vehicles and electric motors are just one more variation. The expertise in building everything else that makes up a car is also very important.

            GM's Bolt was car by Chevy and drive train by LG. Granted, LG messed up the battery, but that car seemed to go from concept to shipping pretty fast. Many of the parts are off-the-shelf GM parts which likely was a huge factor. No design time and no time/cost for tooling. The work was in the shell to fit the drivetrain and battery. Everything else was bog standard. Like them or not, they beat the Model 3 to the shipping line.

            The Bolt is on my list. Off-lease good quality copies used to be around for a reasonable price. Right now, they are rather too expensive. When the time comes to pull the trigger on a purchase, there might be other candidates. If I could find one right now cheap, I'd get it. GM will be stuffing new battery packs in them under a recall so getting a higher mileage used unit cheap will mean something that's going to have a new battery and restored range.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Tesla's overall QC is not good. That alone is a good enough reason."

        I'm not impressed with the build quality but the bigger issues for me are parts availability/cost and how they have made it nearly impossible to work on them yourself or have another trusted mechanic do the work without them being blessed by Tesla. I don't expect that they'd give me the source code, but I would want to be able to get a full service manual and be able to replace parts without needing a computer and interface to register various modules to the car for them to work. They seem to have adopted the John Deere method of locking the owners away from their property (the car owner's property). I'm not thrilled about the hoovering of data either. I'd like to start a company that disables that sort of thing on cars.

  24. WhoAmI?
    Trollface

    I know a Tesla owner and knowing that they might have been locked out of their car gives me a warm glowing feeling.

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer chap

  25. NXM Silver badge

    Our 17 year old Defender has none of these problems.

    Along with no anti-lock brakes, lack of decent heater, manual aircon (flaps below the windscreen), ill-fitting doors, wipers as good as old pencils, ear-shattering noise, uncomfortable seating, and manual window winders.

    I'd still have it over a Tesla.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Were it a more recent Range Rover, there's a good chance you wouldn't have it all, due to it being nicked due to the security on the key fob being broken - as reported in the Reg and elsewhere many years ago.

      I was on the police crime report email a while back where I work (SW London) - the vast, vast majority of vehicle theft was scooters and Range Rovers.

      (as a former Defender owner myself I didn't have a great problem with this. And I recognise most of those symptoms too!)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Obvious improvement…

    Future Tesla models need something iPad-like mounted in the driver’s door.

    If you can’t get in because of no internet, then you’d simply identify 376 grainy images of fire hydrants then tap in the 14 digit number rendered on your screen in Captcha Drunk Doctor 14 point bold.

    Or use your key.

  27. Plest Silver badge
    Facepalm

    KISS

    Brave New World sounds wonderful.

    You know why I love my Hyundai? I have a local key fob with 3 choices....

    1) I can simply walk up to the car ( fob in pocket ) , pull the drivers door handle and car unlocks.

    2) I can click button on key fob to unlock car.

    3) I can click another button and out pops a physical metal key that I can insert into the drivers door to "force it" open in a dire emergency.

    Heck, the boot even opens automatically if I'm standing within 3 feet of it as a nice little bonus. All these are standard on most average cars above the smaller runaround type cars. Most situations covered all of which are at least 2-3 times faster than faffing about with my phone to get my car working, my mobile phone which is often in an inside pocket ( along with my car key fob ) to stop some sod nicking it. Stop making like more complicated than it has to be.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: KISS

      You're making a basic mistake here. You're assuming the objective is to get into the car.

      The real objective is the gratification of getting into the car by a means not available to those outside the cult. Bonus points for being seen to do so by those outside the cult and imagining them to be jealous.

      1. David Nash

        Re: KISS

        I think with the number of Teslas now being sold it's moved beyond a cult.

        Plenty of normal people now drive them.

        1. Davegoody

          Re: KISS

          I have to agree, but I am far from normal - WIBBLE.....

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: KISS

          Tesla are selling about 30,000 cars per year in the UK. That's about a quarter of what VW (not VW group) sells and is a shade under 2.5% of the market. Or to put it another way, Tesla sells around the same number of cars per year in the UK as Reliant were selling tricycles in the late 60s.

          And when I say "sells" of course I mean "palms off with crazily expensive PCP deals".

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: KISS

            Tesla Model 3 was the top selling car in the UK in September 2021.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fob = carjacking?

    On a tangent, I've been seeing a rise in "car jacking" stories on news.

    In the days before fobs, it was (pretty) easy to hot wire an unattended vehicle.

    Possible that "car jacking" is how would be car thief's of today have adapted to anti-theft technology. e.g. the fob?

  29. Quotes

    Error Codes

    Is a 500 error the best they could come up with? Even the health sector has codes for ‘pecked by turkey’, ‘sucked into jet engine’, and ‘spacecraft collision injuring occupant’.

    #PEBCASW (problem exists between chair and steering wheel)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Increased verbosity of bull**** seems more likely

    I feel sorry for anyone that fell for the Tesla scam. What Elon Musk knows about software engineering is equal to my knowledge of nuclear physics.

  31. ecofeco Silver badge

    So....

    How's that cloud thing working for ya?

    Bwhahahahahahahaha

  32. xyz123 Silver badge

    So does this mean you can't start your car in the middle of a power blackout or a distant holiday location with no signal or internet access?

    Thats definitely a purchase killer.

    1. EveryTime

      Of course you can.

      The typical operation is PaaK -- local bluetooth recognition. This requires no internet connectivity, but does require a working phone.

      Backup operation is using a keycard or equivalent. Some have the transponder embedded in a ring or other jewelry.

      An alternative is explicitly using the app, which contacts Tesla's servers and tells the connected vehicle to unlock. This obviously requires both the phone and car to have internet connectivity and Tesla's servers to be online.

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