A Tesla owner unknowingly unlocked someone else’s Tesla in a parking lot last week and the app allowed him to drive it, an incident that has stirred up concerns about technical malfunctions in Elon Musk’s electric vehicles.
Rajesh Randev, an immigration consultant, got in someone else’s white Tesla Model 3, which he mistook for his own Tesla as the car was the same make and the same color, earlier this month. He was in a hurry to pick up his children from school so he opened the door of the vehicle with his app, got in, and drove off.
Only after 15 minutes, he started to notice that something was unusual. For one, there was a small crack in his windshield that hadn’t been there before. And when he reached for his phone-charging cable, which was always in the center console, he couldn’t find it.
Then his phone started buzzing. “Do you drive a Tesla?” an unknown number messaged. “I think [you’re] driving the wrong car,” the texter added after Randev asked who was messaging him.
Notably, the glitch has worked in the opposite direction, too. The other Tesla driver involved in the mixup was able to unlock Randev’s parked car using his Tesla key card, according to a report by the Post. He then managed to find Randev’s phone number in the car and text him.
Tesla Mixup Stirs Up Saftey Concerns
The recent incident has left Randev concerned about the security of his own Tesla, he said to The Washington Post in an interview, noting that he hasn’t received any replies from the giant electric car market after reporting the incident to the company.
“It’s such an expensive technology,” Randev said. “More than $70,000 to get this car. And my family is not feeling safe right now.”
In short, Randev, after asking the other Tesla owner for permission to use his car to pick up his children from school, was able to drive the Tesla for about 90 minutes to pick up his kids and return the stranger’s vehicle without a hitch, the Post reported.
While Randev shared a laugh with the other Tesla owner as they returned each other’s cars and talked about the strange incident, he mentioned that bad actors can also use this gap for ominous purposes. He said:
“If just a normal person was able to get access [to someone else’s car] due to malfunction or software or whatever reason … the hackers can do anything, right?”
As of late, Tesla has been under increasing scrutiny over technical malfunctions.
As reported, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new probe into Tesla after complaints that steering wheels have fallen off some of the cars while on drive.
Furthermore, Tesla recalled more than 360,000 vehicles over crash risks associated with its Full Self-Driving Beta software earlier this year.