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How Secure is the Key Card?

ImEric

Member
Aug 26, 2015
107
143
Los Angeles, CA
In particular, one thing has been bothering me about the key card entrance method. It's not the functionality or the actual security of the card itself. Rather, I'm wondering if there is a way to "Lock down" the card's functionality from being used on other phones. I understand that you use the card and your phone's NFC to connect your own Tesla App to the car, and then you just use your phone as the key in most situations. But let's say you need to valet park the car. You'd give the valet your key card, and go into your restaurant or theatre or party for a couple of hours. What's to stop that valet from using NFC on his own phone to gain permanent access to your Model 3?

And yes, I understand that all you'd need is a simple "Don't allow new phone-keys" button in your Tesla App to prevent this. I'm just wondering if something like this already exists, or if Tesla has thought about it? Can anybody here who has some experience or insight into the Model 3 shed some light on it?
 

swaltner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,630
1,673
Kansas, USA
I'm pretty sure the docs said that the smartphone app had to be logged into the same MyTesla account that was tied to the car to work as a key. Without your MyTesla credentials, the key card can't be "cloned" onto a smartphone. Keeping a valet from cloning your key card onto a smartphone is not a very difficult problem to solve.

This goes without saying that your MyTesla credentials should be good passwords: long, complex, nothing based on dictionary words, not just l33t speak, etc...
 

kengchang

Active Member
Jul 17, 2017
2,457
14,963
California
I'm pretty sure the docs said that the smartphone app had to be logged into the same MyTesla account that was tied to the car to work as a key. Without your MyTesla credentials, the key card can't be "cloned" onto a smartphone. Keeping a valet from cloning your key card onto a smartphone is not a very difficult problem to solve.

This goes without saying that your MyTesla credentials should be good passwords: long, complex, nothing based on dictionary words, not just l33t speak, etc...
How do the valet even guess your password without knowing your email? :D
 

gocken2

Model S: P6931
Jan 24, 2012
111
24
Phoenix, AZ
I am pretty sure your phone doesn't clone the key card and neither uses NFC. They are completely separate. You long into your phone app and then through Bluetooth it will unlock the car. I pretty sure the key card is a RFID card like some security badges.
 
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gregincal

Active Member
Oct 26, 2012
3,774
2,357
Santa Cruz, CA
I am pretty sure your phone doesn't clone the key card and neither uses NFC. They are completely separate. You long into your phone app and then through Bluetooth it will unlock the car. I pretty sure the key card is a RFID card like some security badges.

I believe the card does use NFC, but NFC is just a particular implementation of RFID. The phone unlock uses Bluetooth and has nothing to do with the card. The phone unlock certainly does not use NFC, and there’s no way to “clone” an NFC card with a phone.
 

favo

P3D+ owner
Apr 5, 2012
1,059
1,169
Durham, NC
From the keycard manual:
upload_2017-10-16_2-19-31.png

upload_2017-10-16_2-22-52.png
 

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  • 359618530-Model-3-keycard-manual.pdf
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AustinPowers

Total Smeghead
Jan 27, 2012
2,065
1,162
Frankfurt, Germany
God how I will miss the good old days of having a simple key for my car. Simple, convenient, and will never run out of battery.
I can't wrap my head around why we will have to put up with a system for entering a car that needs its own instruction manual. Where's the simplicity in that?

Plus, how long will the reception distance of the BT sensor be? If I park at our grocery store, get out and walk away, the car supposedly locks. I will have to believe it because I can't check, for as soon as I approach it will automatically open again. But now I enter the grocery store and walk along the aisle which is next to the wall that my car is parked next to*. Will the BT module have a reach far enough to make the car unlock itself because I am just a few feet away, but inside a building? This scenario will apply to any time I am somewhere near the car, but physically separated by building walls. Happens all the time during shopping, at the bank, while eating out, etc.
I am really concerned about this. Brings me back to wishing for an old school style key solution.

*remember over here we have lots of stores with parking spaces right next to the wall of the building, unlike the US where you have to take a golf cart from your parking spot on the vast car park to just get to the store entrance ;)
 
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JoaoD

Tech Enthusiast
Oct 17, 2016
350
695
Portugal, Porto
God how I will miss the good old days of having a simple key for my car. Simple, convenient, and will never run out of battery.
I can't wrap my head around why we will have to put up with a system for entering a car that needs its own instruction manual. Where's the simplicity in that?

Plus, how long will the reception distance of the BT sensor be? If I park at our grocery store, get out and walk away, the car supposedly locks. I will have to believe it because I can't check, for as soon as I approach it will automatically open again. But now I enter the grocery store and walk along the aisle which is next to the wall that my car is parked next to*. Will the BT module have a reach far enough to make the car unlock itself because I am just a few feet away, but inside a building? This scenario will apply to any time I am somewhere near the car, but physically separated by building walls. Happens all the time during shopping, at the bank, while eating out, etc.
I am really concerned about this. Brings me back to wishing for an old school style key solution.

*remember over here we have lots of stores with parking spaces right next to the wall of the building, unlike the US where you have to take a golf cart from your parking spot on the vast car park to just get to the store entrance ;)
You can definitely tell if the car locked when you walk away, if it is like any other car with that feature it will blink and the mirrors will close if they are auto-folding mirrors. And when you approach it it will blink again and the mirrors will unfold.
And if it is like any other keyless system you will have to be pretty close for it to unlock, being inside the store won't be a problem.
 
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melindav

☰ 2018
Apr 10, 2016
741
885
Vancouver, WA
A feature i really don`t want to miss any more is remote trunk opening. Has there been word on that for the model 3?

Opening, not unlocking.
the trunk does not auto-open if that is what you mean. when the doors are unlocked, you can use the button near the license plate light to unlatch/open it (manually)
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,395
14,407
West Vancouver, British Columbia
God how I will miss the good old days of having a simple key for my car. Simple, convenient, and will never run out of battery.
I can't wrap my head around why we will have to put up with a system for entering a car that needs its own instruction manual. Where's the simplicity in that?
I may own a Model 3 at some point in the future but don't have a researvation right now. In my opinion, the Model 3 RFID card/Bluetooth enabled smartphone app approach is clearly targeted at the younger generations who overwhelmingly rely on their phones for all kinds of uses and likely are very comfortable with how the 3 is locked/unlocked. And it makes a lot of sense to me. The app looks to be easy to set up, and once that is done, as long as your phone has power the locking/unlocking happens automatically and seamlessly. You certainly should always carry the key card with you as a backup but it's very thin and easily to carry, and you will only rarely use it, if every.

I think it is a bold move by Tesla that anticipates the future while helping to create it. If I was getting a 3 I would have no concerns about their new system. I'm 63.

As far as the trunk opening remotely, at this point I'm not sure we know the answer about that with certainty. I wonder if there will be a setting in the app for that? Seems possible. It's still early days with the 3; no point in getting upset about a "missing feature" until you are sure it is actually missing. If we do know for certain that the trunk cannot be opened remotely, please point me towards that information, I'd like to see it.
 
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AustinPowers

Total Smeghead
Jan 27, 2012
2,065
1,162
Frankfurt, Germany
I may own a Model 3 at some point in the future but don't have a researvation right now. In my opinion, the Model 3 RFID card/Bluetooth enabled smartphone app approach is clearly targeted at the younger generations who overwhelmingly rely on their phones for all kinds of uses and likely are very comfortable with how the 3 is locked/unlocked. And it makes a lot of sense to me. The app looks to be easy to set up, and once that is done, as long as your phone has power the locking/unlocking happens automatically and seamlessly. You certainly should always carry the key card with you as a backup but it's very thin and easily to carry, and you will only rarely use it, if every.

I think it is a bold move by Tesla that anticipates the future while helping to create it. If I was getting a 3 I would have no concerns about their new system. I'm 63.

I am 40 and I admit this system makes absolutely no sense to me. More often than not I don't have my phone with me, so I would use the card for at least 90% of my driving.

I think Tesla has created a solution for a "problem" that doesn't exist.
No matter what, as soon as you need an instruction manual for something as simple as entering a vehicle with a key, there is something wrong imho.
Sure, in the end it might become a non-issue, but I just don't understand why there is a need for something this complicated and inconvenient when there is a tried and trusted method that has worked for decades and still works beautifully. I thought Tesla was about simplicity and ease of use. Such as system is the exact opposite to me.
I have no problem with changing times, I wouldn't change to a BEV for instance if it was so. But it has to make sense. Such a system doesn't make the least bit sense to me, or at least it doesn't offer any tangible advantage over a classic key or keyfob.
 

tashtibet

Member
Jul 30, 2016
553
478
fort collins, colorado
I am not a fan of "smartphone" -so, I don't own/need one but I like the Nissan Leaf push to start style. Is there any other means to get the app like smart watch that can open/lock/unlock the M3? I would definitely miss the fob. Is it Okay to punch a small whole in the key card to hook it up to neck strap.
 

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