Funny Thing about Proximity Keys & Child Safety Concern!!

Funny Thing about Proximity Keys & Child Safety Concern!!

Tesla has packed a plethora of conveniences and tech into the Model S. I feel spoiled every time I sit in it, much less drive it. Unfortunately, I often lose the battle over who gets to drive Tessy and have to use the "other car." I'm learning, though, that funny things can happen when you're repeatedly spoiled.

The proximity key is a great convenience. We've had our P85 for 2 months now and I still smile every time the door handles present themselves as you walk up to the car. It took some time to get used to tapping the selector for Park and then just walking away. Unfortunately, the other car still requires a manual key. Anyone else find themselves walking away from their "other car" with it still running in a parking lot? Or worse, has anyone else driven off in their Tesla from home on a quick errand only to find themselves parked away from home without proximity key or phone? We recently went to the gym for a swim with my wife and I each thinking the other had a key and their phone. Once parked, we realized the error of our ways. If this ever happens to you, once parked at your destination your Tesla will inform you that the car is locked and cannot be turned on without the key. If you did have the forethought to bring your phone along, no problem, call Tesla service and they'll unlock your car for you, no problem, but without a phone...SOL.

Doesn't it seem logical for the Tesla to sense that the key is not within 5' of the car and not allow you to engage a gear and drive off without it in or near the vehicle? This is a major safety issue if a child can enter the car in the garage and drive off without a key. My 6 year old is enamored with the car and how the door handles pop out.

I find the Tesla app on my smartphone to be another great piece of tech. I can control almost anything on the car with my phone. Why not extend this further and, with a passcode, allow my phone to act as a proximity key. One less thing to have to carry and I always (well almost... ) have my phone with me.

Tech is such a wonderful thing. Makes every day tasks and routines so much more convenient. So much so, that it's hard to go back. | April 30, 2013

I'm a bit confused - how can you get into the car and drive it without the FOB? For me, the car is locked without the FOB and there is no way to get in, let alone drive off.

I do find on occasion, I've left the FOB in the house and I want to charge it up - of course you need the FOB nearby to do this too.

hkaiser_2000 | April 30, 2013

You are correct that a FOB need to be "near" the vehicle for it to be unlocked, opened, and a gear selected. In our case, our Tesla is parked in our garage closest to the door to the house. Behind a wall and about 8'-10' away from the car is our task area where we keep our keys, wife's purse, etc. I can't park elsewhere as this is where the electric service is located. I suspect a lot of Tesla owners have a similar set up.

Point being, once in gear it does not matter where the FOB is. As long as you do not put the car in Park again you can drive off without the FOB.

I realized after writing the post that I think there is a weight requirement limiting the ability to select a gear, so the child concern may already be addressed.

I guess what would make a great car even better is:

1) allow user adjustment on distance sensitivity to FOB
2) use smartphone app as FOB (passcode restricted, of course)

There are so many fantastic things about these cars. One of them is Tesla's ability to push updates and reconfigure settings. Hopefully with the Tesla community's help can drive innovation far faster than another other conventional auto maker. Overtime Apps will be written specifically for the car by third parties.

tylerhen | April 30, 2013

I have to go back to the car and confirm, but I remember seeing a couple settings dealing with the key FOB which may affect your situation. One was walk away lock, so if the car auto locks when you walk away from the car with the key. The other was something to do with driving away. Forget the exact wording and not sure what exactly it does, but my thinking when I turned it on is that the car stops working if I drive away from the key fob.

Airpro | April 30, 2013

I was once driving my "other car" to lunch. I did not realize till I returned to my car after lunch that my "other car" was still running.....

hkaiser_2000 | April 30, 2013

tylerhen: thanks for the post. I checked the manual. Drive-Away lock setting when on locks doors and trunk automatically at 5 MPH.

There is no setting that prevents the vehicle from driving away from the FOB. Which could actually be hazardous if the vehicle stopped working while driving.

OK, I might contact Tesla Service or their blog about this.

Airpro: I also now find myself tapping the nav screen in our "other car" expecting to change settings.

Damn you TM! Why did you have to design such a great vehicle!!

therealmach3 | April 30, 2013

This is interesting, because the intent of the proximity sensors on the car was clearly to be able to sense not only that the keyfob is near, but whether it is inside the car. My understanding was that the car would unlock with a keyfob outside the car, but only be able to start with the keyfob inside the car (which is why there are four or five different keyfob antennas).

I could be mistaken, but this sounds like a bug.

rebeccap88 | April 30, 2013

Looks like parts of Alabama are included too.

rebeccap88 | April 30, 2013

Sorry, wrong thread!

jat | April 30, 2013

As soon as you get out of range of the key fob, you get a warning in the center of the dash, something like "key not detected - car will not restart". If you chose to keep driving, then I'm not sure what else the car could do besides refuse to move further.

Also, if you can drive after the car is unlocked remotely, then that sounds more like the key was locked inside the car rather than left at home.

Flaninacupboard | May 1, 2013

I think there's been a few "key not detected" incidents when it's buried at the bottom of a ladies handbag....

Is it possible when you got in and drove away that the car was detecting your wifes key and at some point during the drive it got "buried" under an ipad, or big bunch of keys or.... something, that stopped it being detected?

alsettesla | May 1, 2013

I recently had my car washed at the local "hand wash" center. After he pulled out of the bay and presented the car to me, the attendant and I spent about 5 minutes talking about how amazing the car was. I drove home only to realize that he still had the key. It was easy enough to resolve since I had my second key at home. If there was a warning, I missed it. I think the idea of using the app as an alternative fob is great (I know that there would be some security issues to manage, but this seems doable).

hkaiser_2000 | May 1, 2013

In our case, we definitely did not have the FOB. My wife only brought a pool bag leaving her purse at home. Since she was driving I did not notice any "key not detected" warning. It would be good if Tesla incorporated a progressively louder warning tone the further away from the key FOB you drove. There is already so much information on the displays that warnings can be easily overlooked.

Fortunately, it was a gorgeous day so the 1-1/2 mile walk back home was enjoyable...