Tesla Model 3 Owners Locked Out of Cars Thanks to App Outage
The Tesla Model 3 is the budget offering in Tesla’s lineup, but it’s still jam-packed with fancy technology like custom driver profiles, autonomous driving, and a top speed of 162 miles per hour. You can even control the car from the smartphone app. That app support is usually a selling point, but it was a big problem for some Tesla owners over the weekend. The company experienced an app outage that left some Model 3 owners unable to use their vehicles for hours.
Unlike most cars, the Tesla Model 3 doesn’t have a key. In fact, you don’t even get a key fob with the car like other Teslas. Tesla has designed the experience around the smartphone app, which supports passive entry (the doors automatically unlock) and remote operation. The included key cards don’t do that, either. You have to physically tap the card on the door to open it and on the dash to start the car. Naturally, many Model 3 owners have gotten used to just relying on the phone to access their vehicles.
@Tesla your server is down for maintenance and we’re locked out of the car. What’s your ETA?
— Melissa Chan (@melissachanhk) September 2, 2019
Starting late on Monday, Model 3 owners began reporting issues with the mobile app. Many users found themselves logged out of the app and unable to get back in. Some who could successfully log in saw no cars listed. Approaching the car as usual did not unlock the door. With no recourse, these unfortunate Model 3 owners had to call Tesla, complain, and wait for a resolution. One Model 3 owner inconvenienced by the server maintenance says the outage lasted about three and a half hours.
This is one of those instances where you have to miss the foolproof systems of yesteryear. No one ever got locked out of their boring gasoline-powered sedan because their key needed to connect to a remote server.
While Tesla makes the phone app its “first-class” Model 3 experience, this incident should be a reminder to owners to always carry their key card as a backup. It’s not as convenient, but it won’t rely on an external server to validate your app should you ever get logged out. In addition, Tesla offers a key fob for the Model 3, but it’s $150 and doesn’t support passive entry like other Tesla vehicle fobs.
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