Teslas use technology that allows you to use your phone as the key. The Model 3 uses Bluetooth to recognize the phone that you’ve paired with the car and automatically locks/unlocks the doors depending on your proximity. Other Teslas (Model S and Model X) require a cellular connection in order for this “phone as key” tech to work. The Tesla app is also a critical part of this whole interface, as it must be paired with your car for everything to work. That app was the cause of many frustrations over Labor Day, as it went down for a few hours. The outage was originally reported by NBC Bay Area and brought to our attention via Jalopnik.
When a social media app like Instagram or Snapchat goes down, most of us go to Twitter and yell about it. When the Tesla app goes down, some Tesla owners get locked out of their car. That’s exactly what happened for a few hours on Labor Day, and folks let their frustrations be heard on Twitter.
@Tesla what’s the status of the network? I’m stuck at a supercharger, plugged in. Trying to get home with a dead key fob, was using the app to run the car. Now the system’s down for 3 hours. Help!— Kristian Kicinski (@kkicinski) September 3, 2019
Tesla app appears to be down. Is it just mine or is your’s working? pic.twitter.com/OmxY1P9JHe— Dakotah Massie (@dakotahmassie) September 2, 2019
After seeing numerous reports of a @Tesla app outage, I confirmed that I'm also locked out. Southern California FWIW.— Kyle Field (@mrkylefield) September 3, 2019
Tesla does have a backup plan for this nightmare scenario. All Model 3 owners are given a “credit card” key they can use to unlock the doors and drive with. There’s also an optional key fob owners could’ve bought for extra cost. Model S and Model X owners should have an actual key fob, but it’s not required. The problem here is that none of these folks who were “locked out” seemed to have one of these backup devices with them. It’s estimated that the app was down for about four hours.
So, what’s the moral of the story here? You should always have a backup solution with you, because the app can’t be relied upon to work 100 percent of the time. Otherwise, you might be stuck using a different app like Uber or Lyft to find your way home.