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Can you drive a Tesla without network coverage for an extended period?

Llama.

Lurking somewhere up North
Jan 25, 2021
329
186
Who knows?
I had an interesting experience where my wife went camping with my 2021 M3 in the Lake District this weekend and was outside of network coverage.

She drove into a mobile network black spot with 65% charge with Sentry Mode on and the car didn’t reappear for four days when she drove out of the mountains.. The whole time the car (and my wife’s phone) was ‘off the grid’ and was not accessible via the app.

I was not able to connect to the car to turn off sentry mode the whole time. The car emerged with 32% charge. If it was not for the memory stick glitch which seems to disable sentry mode, the battery would probably have drained to 20% where this happens automatically. This would have made things difficult with the local charging infrastructure.

It got me thinking, can you own and drive a Tesla completely without any network coverage for an extended period. Perhaps just connecting once a year to do a software update? Will it still drive? Any other issues?
 

Undecided_2

Member
Supporting Member
Jan 21, 2022
618
447
Helensburgh
I very much doubt that you can stop it connecting as it’s an eSIM. Unless you move to the Lake District or put the car in a faraday cage.

Without connectivity you wouldn’t get OTA updates, map/navigation updates new (SUC) locations and real time traffic not rerouted to less busy SUC locations, if you use Spotify that wouldn’t work. If your car was stolen Tesla wouldn’t be able to disable it. There’s probably way more that connectivity does.
 

Llama.

Lurking somewhere up North
Jan 25, 2021
329
186
Who knows?
I very much doubt that you can stop it connecting as it’s an eSIM. Unless you move to the Lake District or put the car in a faraday cage.

Without connectivity you wouldn’t get OTA updates, map/navigation updates new (SUC) locations and real time traffic not rerouted to less busy SUC locations, if you use Spotify that wouldn’t work. If your car was stolen Tesla wouldn’t be able to disable it. There’s probably way more that connectivity does.
Yes the OTA update issue is noted, but can you drive a Tesla in very remote regions of the world without network coverage? Or is this a network dependent vehicle?

Can you just drive a Tesla as a ‘dumb’ unconnected EV?
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
12,115
11,140
Visalia, CA
...Perhaps just connecting once a year to do a software update? Will it still drive? Any other issues?

You only lose some convenience features like firmware update, streaming, live sentry view...

I went to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks: I lost the satellite view of the map but the plain basic map was still there. Can't issue a verbal command like "navigate to hotel" but I can manually enter by hand and it would note routing "off line" but it still works although not very accurately.

That means your Tesla does not need internet:
It still works as a basic car without it.
 
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init6

Active Member
Oct 16, 2020
2,263
1,626
Scotland
The software needs to be updated as and when it becomes available (within reason). So once a year wouldn't necessarily be often enough. From the manual:

The software update screen persists until you install the update. You must install a software update as soon it becomes available. Any harm resulting from failure to install a software update is not covered by the vehicle’s warranty. Failure or refusal to install updates can cause some vehicle features to become inaccessible, digital media devices to become incompatible.

Might also be good to get your wife to read the manual so that she is aware of the drain sentry causes. Again from the manual:
Power consumption may increase when Sentry Mode is active.

Factors Affecting Energy Consumption​

  • Sentry mode.

Tips to Maximize Range​

  • Features such as Sentry Mode and Cabin Overheat Protection can impact range. Disable features when not needed.
 

Toblerone

Member
Apr 22, 2022
682
1,522
UK
Saw an interesting video on a Model 3 that had been 'abandoned' for 2 years recently:

Looks like there are no major issues from the software side, it had v10 and upgraded to v11 fine.
I also watched this. It was interesting enough, but ‘Barn find’ is clickbait, as he also said the tyres didn’t have flat spots as the owner had moved it periodically. Perhaps it was driven inside the barn?

I don’t mind his videos, but they are a bit car salesperson-y.
 
Drove around in the Black Hills on vacation a couple weeks ago and lost connection for most of the day. No Spotify and some glitchy GPS readings but everything else worked. Teslafi is missing large portions of our trip and the statistics are all wrong but that's not a big deal.
 

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