Driving away without phone

Driving away without phone

This morning I helped my wife load the car and she drove away to her destination. We originally unlocked the Tesla with my phone in my pocket. She did not realize her phone was left in the house. She drove the M3 about a mile away and parked. When she was ready to continue her trip, she noticed the car was unlocked and she could not find her phone. After calling me at home, I found her phone still on the charger, miles away from the car. I can't say for sure, but I assume, even with the car unlocked, she would not have been able to drive it away. Fortunately, she was able to use her Tesla key card to continue her trip around town. It seems Tesla should warn you when you don't have the phone as you depart unless you are using the key card.

On a somewhat unrelated topic, I thought there was a software update to set up the driver preferences to match the phone used to unlock the car. If so, it does not work for us. Our Tesla sets the driver preferences to my wife's phone. When I get to drive alone, I must manually set the preferences (seat setting) to me. It stays on my settings until she gets in with her phone and then it switches to her preferences automatically (I think). When we unlocked the car this morning with my phone, her driver preferences remained since she was the last to drive the car the day before.

It was a good thing she had her key card to use in this case. Have others found this to be an issue?

hokiegir1 | 29 november 2019

1) If she didn't have her card, you could have opened the app and started the car for her remotely.
2) Attaching a phone to a profile is a setting that must be done -- it's not automatic. So it sounds like she made the change for her profile so that it changes when she gets in, but you have not on yours.

Scrannel | 29 november 2019

When I take my 3 out I carry both keys and my phone. Redundancy over coolness.

WardT | 29 november 2019

Hokiegir1: Thanks for the tip on using the app to "start" the car! I would not have thought of that in an emergency! We carry both the card key in our wallets/purse as a backup always. I thought I set up both our phones to separate preferences and will confirm. My sweet wife and phone are not always closely related!

Still seems there should be a limit on how far you can drive without the phone onboard. If you are outside your unlocked car, someone can get in and drive away. It is as if every time you unlocked your 20th Century car, you put the keys in the ignition. I suppose if the truck or door is open the Tesla cannot drive away. Of course they will eventually get caught, but I live under the assumption that all bad guys get caught eventually.

EVRider | 29 november 2019

@WardT: Limiting how far you can drive without the phone would conflict the feature that allows you to remotely start your car for someone else to drive.

Unless you've disabled walk away locking, your car will lock shortly after you exit (even if you're standing right next to it), so I don't think you have to worry too much about someone else getting in and driving away. Of course, you still need to be aware of your surroundings, and you can always lock the car immediately when you exit (using the app).

WardT | 29 november 2019

EVRider: Like almost everything we try to change, it can get complicated and confusing pretty quickly. Case 1) Car drives away without phone or key card that opened it; perhaps you get a warning or maybe in 10' it stops. Case 2) When you remotely start car, Case 1 warnings or stopping in 10' doesn't apply.

What I'm looking for is something to alert my wife when she drives away without her phone. It is probably not worth the complications to make a software change just for my wife and my peace of mind. It is good to know the rules and now I know one rule is you can drive an unlocked car away without a phone. And I'm really not worried about the unlocked car being stolen as I walk away from it.

hokiegir1 | 29 november 2019

Once it's in park, it won't go back into drive without a phone key, card key, or remote start from a phone key. So if it stays unlocked, someone can't get in and just drive off.

Sarah R | 29 november 2019

The whole deal with the key card cries out for a wearable.

kaffine | 29 november 2019

I agree it should have a warning if you start driving away without the cell phone that started the car. It should not shut down though. Your phone may have shut down due to low battery don't want the car stopping for that.

Other cars I have seen with keyless start have warning that the key is not in the car if you start driving off without the key.

For walk away lock to work it has to see the phone when you get out. Otherwise it can't tell you walked away. If your phone dies while driving or you turn bluetooth off before opening the door it wont lock when it doesn't see the phone bluetooth connection.

HighlandPony | 30 november 2019

Sarah R, there are YouTube videos out there for DIY wearables. Also, someone went beyond that and had theirs implanted in their arm.

Sarah R | 30 november 2019

@HighlandPony Indeed! And all of them just confirm the point: It cries out for a wearable device.

Tesla is missing a trick here.

sosmerc | 30 november 2019

Totally agree @Sarah R. I have suggested many times that a Tesla smartwatch would be cool. But in the meantime, now that we have both Apple and Samsung smartwatches available with LTE options, I am wondering if they could be used even if you leave the linked phone at home (but still on)? I don't have a Tesla YET so I can't say, but can the Tesla app be installed on either the Apple Watch or the Galaxy watches?

hokiegir1 | 30 november 2019

@sosmerc - I've got a Fossil Android Wear watch and there is a "Wear for Tesla" app for that with many of the app features. My particular watch doesn't have its own LTE connection, so mine is limited to being in reach of my phone (say if it accidentally locks with the phone inside in my purse or something). I'm sure there's a similar Apple app. Not sure what's got for Samsung yet.

Teslanene | 30 november 2019

My Ford Edge gives me an a phone disconnected alert as soon as I drive away from home.

sosmerc | 30 november 2019

Seems like we should be getting pretty close to standalone smartwatches that won't even need to be paired to a phone....they WILL be a phone/smart device on your wrist. I am wondering if the reason we aren't already there is that the manufacturers want you to buy both the phone and the smartwatch and the carriers want to be able to collect line fees for each as well as one time connection fees?

hokiegir1 | 30 november 2019

@sosmerc - I believe there are standalone watches out there...mine just isn't one of them. I've had it about a year and it was an older model when I got it, but my aunt has an apple watch that, if she leaves her phone home when walking the dog, she can still take calls on it.

Tuning In | 30 november 2019

Strange. I can’t even unlock the car unless the phone is within a few feet from the door. I can’t put it into drive unless I’m in the car.

Anyhow, we always keep the keycard on us. I keep one in my wallet and she keeps one in her purse. It’s a card so it’s not hard to leave in the wallet. You never know if the battery on the phone runs out or the app logs out and there is no cellphone 4g data to log back in (which has happened to us twice time over the almost two years with that car).

Sarah R | 30 november 2019

@sosmerc said:

I am wondering if the reason we aren't already there is that the manufacturers want you to buy both the phone and the smartwatch and the carriers want to be able to collect line fees for each as well as one time connection fees?


Exactly. It's about "market segmentation", or the art and science of creating needlessly complex pricing structures in order to cause your customers to pay more than necessary while delivering less than they're actually paying for.

valenzuelamark64 | 10 mars 2020

Look here for more advice on phone number detection.