Charging key fob idea

Charging key fob idea

I have been hoping that the key fob incorporates a rechargeable battery. However, I was also thinking that it would be cool if there was a dock inside the car so that you could charge the key fob while you were driving!

I don't actually expect this, as it might ruin some of the aesthetic, and, it seems like one of their sort of 'wow' features, is that the key/ignition system will be completely contactless: from the Features page, "With [the key fob] in your pocket, Model S turns on as you buckle in to the driver’s seat."

I can't argue that's not pretty freaking cool, but for practicality's sake, I would actually prefer to have a docking key fob that charged while docked. -Just a thought-

The Froq | 26 février 2012

It would be cool when you could have the information from your Tesla-app on the fob..

Mycroft | 26 février 2012

Sorry, but it would be much cooler if the battery is guaranteed to last at least a year and the car notifies you when replacement is due. It would be like smoke alarm batteries. You just replace it on a regular schedule.

Leofingal | 26 février 2012

What I would prefer even more is that your smartphone could act as the keyfob so I don't have to carry another thing in my pockets. Use the wifi address as my ID. I love elimination/consolidation of crap I carry every day. If it is RF-ID, another option would be a flat key RFID tag like I have for work that I could put in my wallet.

Don't get me wrong, the keyfob is sexy, but no keyfob is sexier.

Brad Holt | 26 février 2012

@Leofingal: Agreed.

jbherman | 26 février 2012

+ 1 to a no key fob wallet card solution. I hate having keys in my pocket!

michiganmodels | 26 février 2012

@LeoFingal: +1 Agreed.

gagliardilou | 26 février 2012


+1 no keyfob is best. How about voice recognition?? Now that would be cool.

Sudre_ | 26 février 2012

I want HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. LOL just without the psycho bits unless it's a car thief.

stephen.kamichik | 26 février 2012

I like the key. I would place it in the space (where no console is) provided.

Timo | 26 février 2012

Thief: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative. I read you.
Thief: Open the car door, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Thief: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Thief: What are you talking about, HAL?

Jason S | 26 février 2012

Just reading this I'm realizing this is another habit of mine that will need to change when I finally get the car. I already leave mailbox and front door keys on my car keyring for ease of use and many times leave my wallet in the car or in my backpack.

What will I do with a key fob? If it is too big it'll be a hassle. If small then I'll want to put it on a keyring, which will work with my habits. But if it doesn't allow keyring then it'll be this key-sized thing that acts like a key but doesn't go with the other keys.

A wallet card shifts my habits in a generally good way (will always have my ID with me when I drive) so that's a good solution.

My list of changes from getting this car:
- will tell car to heat/cool itself 10m before entering it
- never visit another gas station (I can even air the tires at home)
- CDs won't ever leave the house, mix lists will be MP3 compatible or stay on the iPhone
- will need to set aside time to give folks test rides and talk about the car
- will need to store my keys differently

Liz G | 26 février 2012

Mine will need to come with a tracking device. I'm always putting down things and forgetting where I put them. More than once I've had to retrieve my phone or credit card from security and I've lost my badge twice. Don't know what I'd do if I lost my key fob. Hope they give us a spare that I can keep at home.

Mycroft | 26 février 2012

My Mercedes key fob is huge! Only a woman with a purse would put it on a key ring. As a guy with regular size pockets, I keep the fob separate in my pocket.

The nice thing about the Model S fob, like other more recent cars than my Merc, the fob can stay in your pocket. So it just gets tucked down at the bottom of the pocket and stays there.

Of course, if you don't buy the tech package, then you'll need to reach in your pocket and press a button to unlock the car.

wtrask4 | 26 février 2012

ZipCar has an iPhone Unlock that the tesla could do.

The iPhone works as the interface to push a button to unlock.

I like the ability of a proximity unlock that the FOB can provide... I don't want to take my phone out to unlock the car every time.

But the RF-ID would possibly be able to unlock with proximity, just close to the door.

wtrask4 | 26 février 2012
wtrask4 | 26 février 2012

Sorry... here is the movie of the car unlocking with an iPhone app. | 26 février 2012

I love the idea of my smartphone being my key! It would be even cooler if for safety's sake, if you happened to lose your phone, you could go to a website and disable that ability tied to your phone and assign it to a new Mac Address on another phone. Taking it even one step further... if you could temporarily assign that privilege to another mac address then you could give a family member or friend temporary access to your car without having to worry about getting a key to him or her. Then you could disable it thereafter.

Max Mindel

petero | 26 février 2012

I vote for the smart phone being my key. Otherwise, I will buy a thick gold chain and hang it around my neck- the ultimate status jewelry!

Jason S | 26 février 2012

Petero, that sounds like a good solution for me too. I like it!

Mark K | 26 février 2012

+1 for crap reduction. No fob is best.

You can get the full functionality of proximity unlock with an iPhone app that uses Bluetooth. You don't need NFC or a fob.

Every iPhone and Android has a Bluetooth link, which can communicate up to 70 feet from your car.

For those few times you don't have your phone, the best backup is a code pad.

Without any changes to the Model S design, TM can add a small printed keypad decal with a capacitive touch sensor microchip for about $2 cost. This can be adhered inside the windshield glass, in the lower corner near the driver's door. It can graphically blend-in so you'd only see it when you were looking for it.

Tap in the unlock code through the glass to get in, and a secondary challenge question on the interior touchscreen to start up.

At this point, carrying a lumpy fob in your pocket is absurd. It costs TM much more to have the fob, and this wastes money.

Save money. Simplify lives, and make people happy.

Increase margins too, by charging for the proximity app (which has no marginal cost).

There is so much avant garde thinking in this car, this fob is the curious anachronism.

You know all cars will support this eventually, so why not lead the way TM?

In a culture built on excellence in design (like TM), deciding this stuff is easy. You ask "Will the customer have a better experience?" If the answer is yes, and it saves money too, you do it.

Go for it TM.

dborn | 26 février 2012

The iPhone idea is really cool. However how would that go with the tech package?

Mark K | 26 février 2012

How they sell it is a TM decision. They could make it part of the tech package, or sell it a la carte.

That's a business decision, and TM can ponder the best way to manage their margins while satisfying the largest swath of customers.

But either way, the technical implementation is a straight shot.

Volker.Berlin | 27 février 2012

As much as I like the Tesla key fob -- I'd definitely want one to show it off on occasion! -- I'm all for "crap reduction". RFID-Card would be one way to go, but the reduction could go even further: I'd like to have RFID stickers come with my car, which I can stick on one of the cards that I carry around, anyway. Or on your phone or whatever it is that you have in your pocket.

DriveNow (and some other car sharing providers) work with this kind of "key". They stick it to your license and it is designed such that it gets destroyed when you try to remove it. That way they ensure that you have your license with you when you open one of their cars. Provided that I have a bunch of replacement stickers ready, I can see some value in that, too. If you want your son to be able to use the car, but not lose the key or give it to his buddy, simply stick it onto something that he needs to have with him, anyway.

Timo | 27 février 2012

There are security problems with RFID -chips, they are a bit too easy to crack. Not that it is a huge problem, but it is a problem anyway. You could use RFID with a key to send a message to car to notice that there is a key nearby which then activates a more secure transaction between key and a car to give car proper secure ID that that key is actually the key that has right ID to open the door of the car. However that is no longer a teeny weeny practically invisible tag in a sticker.

Because of high value of the Tesla cars I would be a bit concerned about security of it if RFID-chip itself is the only ID it needs.

Mark K | 27 février 2012

Guys, people get confused by all the flavors of code technology. RFID, NFC, Tesla fob transponders.

But they are all simply containers for numbers. Numbers that you have, and the thief doesn't.

With nothing more than numbers, I wire millions of dollars online. Properly set up, it's plenty safe.

You don't need any physical item to have the numbers, just knowledge.

With your computerized car of the future, you want the peace of mind that if you lost your wallet, keys and everything but you swim trunks, you could get into your car and start it when needed.

We are not talking about a 4 digit PIN either. You can make those numbers (or passwords) as long as you like to have more anti-theft security. Choosing the password(s), and the quantity of inside and outside safety layers is up to you. That's easy to make as a configuration option for the user.

The reason you want the iPhone app is for convenience. It can remember your numbers securely, and it can serve them up automatically when you approach your car, so that in normal use, you don't even think about those numbers. You just get in and go.

And you don't have to carry any more crap.

A car remote fob is nothing more than an radio transceiver and a microcomputer containing numbers and rolling-code algorithms. All of that can be done just as well with the Bluetooth radio and the computer in your iPhone. It has all the same functionality, and then some.

I believe the hybrid of an iPhone Bluetooth app and the thru-glass backup touchpad is the best solution.

Max Securtiy + Lowest Part Cost + Highest Convenience + Least Crap = Happiest Customer

Brian H | 27 février 2012

@Liz G | February 26, 2012

Perhaps you could have yourself "chipped", like a pet, so that anytime you're near the car it opens -- or asks for a voice ID. ;)

Timo | 27 février 2012

@Mark K

The reason you want the iPhone app is for convenience.
And you don't have to carry any more crap.

...except that iPhone. You always need to carry some sort of hardware, at least until cars get smart enough to actually recognize their drivers from their looks. At that point crazy HAL -scenarios are not too far behind.

Also iPhone just like any other cellphone can be stolen or lost just as easily as keys, if not easier, and it can run out of charge which would cause you to wait until it recharges before driving. I'd prefer small RFID -like systems that gets its power from the scanner.

@Brian H

Demolition man, anyone? Retinal scans, deep scanning vascular system pattern ID with body heat sensors (no dead tissues allowed). Something like that. You touch the car and it knows that it is you.

clea | 27 février 2012

Mark K: How would you allow other drivers with the fobless system? You can give the passcode to your significant other but what about the parking attendant? Would you keep a set of numbers for each? I guess The number for the parking guy would also be associated with a restricted power setting ... but I doubt that giving the valet service guy a paper with a code would be feasible in the real world.

Liz G | 27 février 2012

@Brian H

Knowing me I'd find someway to lose it. :-)

jbunn | 27 février 2012

Hopefully not a huge fob. The ford explorer fob seems to run about 6 years before the battery runs out. Could not say, that's the longest I've managed to hang on to it. Rechargable, probably not a great concern.

I just assume I'll have a retnal scanner for valet service.

Mark K | 27 février 2012


Hand the valet a plastic card from the glove box with the code printed on it. It's got a hole punched to hang on their pegboard.

That code only works when you enable valet mode.

Brian H | 28 février 2012

If installed in your situpon*, you could just back up to the car even with an armload of groceries, etc.!

*(I doubt you'll lose that!)


Liz G | 28 février 2012

@Brian H

Do you think that would come standard, the implant, or would that be yet another add on :-)

dhawan | 29 février 2012

+1 for Wallet Key. Key fob is bulky and is redundant if it is a proximity key.

mwu | 29 février 2012

A wallet key would work for those who have the tech package, but many are not planning on getting the tech package. If I still have to push a button to unlock the doors, I don't want to have to open my wallet. It's a cool idea, but one I would tie to the tech package.

I personally don't plan on getting the tech package. The keyless entry and automatic back hatch were the biggest draws for me, but I don't think I need the entire tech package just for those items. I'm happy with a fob. My Jetta has a fob, and I have no problem reaching my hand into my pocket and pressing the button without much trouble. It's more difficult when carrying things, but not that much more of a hassle.

OTOH, I'm sure females would prefer not having to dig a fob out of a purse. Many purses end up to be bottomless pits and given the choice I think many women would chose a key they just have to have in their purse and not necessarily be able to find and pull it out easily.

CPM | 29 février 2012

+1 for wallet key, I use a money clip so this would be perfect. No need for keys in my life. Yes I am getting tech package.

EdG | 29 février 2012

@mwu: Just a few years ago I marveled at the demonstration of wireless with respect to car use. My wife got into a car, started it, and could talk on the phone, all without reaching into her purse for keys to open the door, put into the ignition, or hooking up the phone (which connected automatically with bluetooth).

Our need for un/locking things and dis/connecting has been automatically replaced by changes in our presence. That was revolutionary to me. I'd rather not go back.

EdG | 29 février 2012

(Sorry for the double posting.)

On the other hand, my son was locked out of a car because of a fob. The car he parked had warned of a low fob battery only one or two days before, and no one rushed to change it, thinking it would still last a week or more before death. Wrong. He had to call to get someone to deliver the other key to him. Fortunately, he was only 3 miles away.

MandL | 1 mars 2012

I hate keys and FOBs. I've always been envious of those little keypads on Ford products, but have never had one. I like the idea of NFC/RFID/BT entry with a valet card you can keep in the car and activate when you need it. Though since I won't be able to afford valet parking until I get the Model S paid off, I'm okay if they don't figure that part out for the first few years.

ragnar | 6 août 2016

It's great fun to read these old discussions. I will try to wake it up. More than 4 years later and the Wallet key is still something to hope for.

I only had my P85 for 14 months and I am hoping that someone has heard a way to gat a wallet key. Third party perhaps?

Ragnar / Sweden

Sparkyfletch | 6 août 2016

In the mean time the OP was proposing a rechargeable key fob. A great idea but not new - my 3 year old Land Rover Freelander has this..............
You just have to remember to periodically swap the fobs over to keep them charged.