I could drive off Model S without the key!!!

I could drive off Model S without the key!!!

This morning I unlocked my car with the key, accidentally left the key outside the car on a table in my garage, got into my car and drove off. After I reached my destination(5 miles away) and put the car in park, the dashboard showed a message "Key not in car". After that I was unable to put the car back in drive mode. So I was stuck and had to call my friend to pick me up.

Is this the expected behaviour?

I thought this was not possible with the Tesla, thought the car would stop or atleast warn driver that the key was not in the car. Has anyone else had this issue?

Alex K | 07. Juni 2013

@krowed | JUNE 7, 2013: Is this the expected behaviour?

Several people have reported this. I was also able to verify this some time ago. Other threads have discussed this or variation of this:

Obviously, this is not expected behavior. I would think you should get a warning as soon as you drive off. Hopefully Tesla is aware of this and is correcting it.

Carefree | 07. Juni 2013

My ICE car does the same thing. Start the car by pressing the button, leave the car outside and drive off. It is not uncommon and certainly not unique to Tesla.

Carefree | 07. Juni 2013

leave the KEY outside, of course:-)

PBEndo | 07. Juni 2013

as Carefree said, the other keyless ignition ICE cars I have driven act exactly the same way.
When I first had a keyless ignition car years ago, it took some getting used to. More than once a valet had to find me in a restaurant and get my keys, after he had already driven and parked the car.
A warning would be nice when the key is not in the car, but you definitely wouldn't want to the car to stop.

jerryyang | 07. Juni 2013

it is by designed and all other keyless cars in the market like the same way. thought a warning pop up should be nice.

Pungoteague_Dave | 07. Juni 2013

This is not a problem - our Prius is the same way.

AmpedRealtor | 07. Juni 2013

With all the technology in the car, why can't it warn you if it loses communication with the key fob? Seems like a simple enough thing.

logicalthinker | 07. Juni 2013

It should perhaps notify you that the key is not in the car.
Attempting to start the car later would require a secure PIN entry on your phone or the touch screen. (The owner SHOULD be able to drive it without the fob, if needed).

skymaster | 07. Juni 2013

Last week, my wife locked herself out of our home. Should our home notify us if we walk out without the key?

defmonk | 07. Juni 2013

+1 Pungoteague_Dave

Same issue with my wife's Prius. She has the key in her hand bag, I drop her off, drive to the next destination and wham-o! I can't restart the car to pick her up. (I think that the Prius has a "key not present" light, though).

Tesla should be better, but the problem isn't unique.

AmpedRealtor | 07. Juni 2013

@ skymaster

Does your house have the requisite technology to warn you? Also, if you leave your house without your key, can someone drive your house away? :)

Tâm | 07. Juni 2013

I don't know the reasons. Others also indicated that this is the same way as other ICE do as well, but I can guess:

Interrogate FOB's presence only ONCE at the time of driving saves FOB's battery.

Continuous pinging for FOB presence would drain FOB's battery.

riceuguy | 07. Juni 2013

Yeah, the warning is the key (buh-dum-dum...thanks, I am here all week!). Seriously, this has happened to us twice and thankfully my wife realized it and turned around without shutting off the car, but my Infiniti did the same thing and the warning made a big difference. It is an easy and updateable fix that I look forward to!

EclecticCitizen | 07. Juni 2013

This just happened to me today at the carwash. I left the fob in the cup holder so that they could drive it through their hand wash stations. After they finished, I drove off, and luckily got stopped at a red light just outside the area of the car wash (maybe 150 yards from where I picked it up). A young worker came sprinting through the landscaping into the street and tapped on my passenger window---Ta -da, they had taken the fob out of the car. There was no warning about the fob no being in the car. I'm not sure what distance trips the warning, but I have seen the warning on 1 prior occasion. | 08. Juni 2013



That was good.

Rmanulkin | 08. Juni 2013

I've had keyless entry in other cars for years. When the key leaves the car - even if I go outside while it's running to, say, open the trunk, there's a 'ding' and messages flashing on the dash saying 'key not in car - restarting will not be possible'.

I guess you guys have the wrong cars? :)

Seriously, without that warning, Keyless is, dare I say, dangerous?

tcung11 | 25. Juli 2013

Tesla, Please add an alarm sound and a warning message on the screen when key fob is not in range while car is in Drive! It happened to me once as I stepped out of the car with key fob in my pants pocket. I closed the driver door for my wife who was able to drive away due to proximity of the key being next to the driver door. My wife could not start the car after she left and came back to the car 2 miles away!

Donato | 25. Juli 2013

I have a 2011 Avalon Limited and if you start the car, leave without the fob, as soon as the fob is outside the car, there is three beeps and an image of a key with an exclamation mark through it appear on the dash.

Tosca | 25. Juli 2013

Headed to the airport I loaded my luggage in the trunk with the fob in my pocket. Because I was getting out, I got in passenger seat, my partner drove. At airport I got out, got luggage and headed for security where I was rather rudely reminded that I had something in my pocket....the fob. Panic calls to driver who returned to get the fob. Could not do that with my Prius. It dinged at me and told me the key was out of the car every time I tried to exit the car with the key. Tesla needs to create a warning.

TMS P85 | 25. Juli 2013

@ Amped Realtor - You can always get this. ;) | 25. Juli 2013

Hopefully, this is a SW fix. My 2007 M45 could tell if the fob was not in the car and would even prevent me from locking it in the trunk.


akikiki | 25. Juli 2013

@riceuguy, your clever pun didn't go unnoticed. I got it. Yes, funny, and glad you are here all week. :)

@krowed, I have done exactly the same thing. Lucky I had a sympathic friend close by.

derek | 25. Juli 2013

I had this problem when my brother lent me his BMW, but not his key!! Fortunately, I only had a 5 minute walk back.

But, I agree that Tesla's should handle this better, and pop up a warning.

Dr. Bob Reinke | 25. Juli 2013

We left to vote at the spring electon and didn't notice that the FOB was on the cabinet next to the driver's door. Arriving at the pole, when we exited the car it locked itself. That was when we both realized that neither of us had a FOB. Fortunatly, a nice lady in an SUV offered us a ride home to get the FOB. Even though she was a Teapublican.

fritzlan | 25. Juli 2013

Mu Model S is five days old. Yesterday I took it to the car wash for the first time. Everything was fine until I came home. I got out of the car but suddenly realized that I couldn't get back in. Fortunately, my wife came home with the spare key. It turned out at the car wash guy had put the key in his pocket and I had driven off without the key. They were very apologetic and gave me a credit for a free car wash next time.

Hopefully there is a fix for this coming soon.