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Phone as key and Tesla WC observations

Yev000

Active Member
May 3, 2019
1,364
963
Knaphill
So having had the car for over a month now, I've come to understand some of the limitations of the smart systems....


1. TWC/UMC won't open your charge port if the car is locked. Had this yesterday, walked out without a key or phone and pressing the button did nothing. So can't pop out just to plug it in, you need your key - or atleast unlock it first.

2. The car will lock your kids inside (presumably they can open the doors from the inside, but the car will lock) if you walk away, or even around the car with your phone. This is constantly annoying for me, get out, close your door, go to the house door to open it, car locks, walk back to the car, bluetooth playing up car wont open, get your phone out, find the unlock button.... Sometimes the car will lock before I even manage to walk around to the boot to get the UMC.

3. Phone as key will stop working on you just as you are demonstrating this feature to your friends. Having to restart bluetooth on more than one occasion.

4. Phone battery drain is significantly higher. Yes I did the whole 'disable battery optimisation' in the settings, but the phone no longer really sleeps unless you turn off bluetooth.

5. Opening the car app does not always wake up the car, but unlocking it via the app does straight away. So car stuck waking up? Hit unlock and it will wake up straight away. I usually end up doing that if it fails to wake up after 2-3 seconds and lock it again, then start conditioning. Why would unlock command wake the car and not a wake command, programmatically that makes no sense.

6. As everyone knows, even touching the app wakes the car up, which then drains the battery faster. Would be nice to look at it without it waking up straight away.

7. No widgets? Really?

As it is I'm leaning more towards getting a fob. From what I read it functions differently to the cards by being a proximity powered key. So I can have it in my pocket and it will reliably unlock the car. Since I'm having to carry my house key around anyway that seems like the best option.
 
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NorfolkMustard

Active Member
Apr 18, 2019
2,214
2,204
M3P w/FSD
I haven’t had those problems, tried restarting the phone and made sure you have the latest app?

I have a widget, had to enable it first

5D97E460-5DEB-4D4B-A39C-0D6F03002995.jpeg
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,910
UK
Interesting observations, thanks. We can't get a mobile 'phone signal here (we live in the ~30% bit of the UK that has no coverage), so our 'phones are rarely switched on (they are really just for emergency use). Having to use the card to lock/unlock seems a bit of a faff, so if the fob becomes available in the UK that would be very useful indeed. From reading around, though, it seems that Tesla has no intention of making a UK fob available, as the US one may not work, as I believe they use a different licence-exempt frequency range to the UK.

Be useful to know if the fob is likely to be available for UK owners, as there are significant areas of the country where mobile 'phones don't yet work.
 

Yev000

Active Member
May 3, 2019
1,364
963
Knaphill
I have a widget, had to enable it first

*android widget

I have the whole notification functions, but you have to swipe down to see the functions, which is a pain. Easier to open the app.

Oh and "Are you sure? This action will remotely open your frunk" is really annoying. I can open the funk without this warning from the notification, so why have it in the app? I get that you cannot close the frunk with the app, but at least be consistent... Maybe require a double tap or something... There has to be a better way.

I want a quick button on my phone to unlock. Or a fob... The whole take your phone out, (maybe turn bluetooth off then on), open the app, hit unlock. Or Take your phone out, unlock it, swipe down on the notifications, swipe down the tesla notification (andoid) it fails to reveal functions, swipe down again, then hit "unlock". Just too much work in the rain while holding a bag.
 

pjuk

Member
Mar 27, 2019
233
130
North London
The app has been pretty good in my opinion and has always alerted me to (false) alarms, updates and charging notifications.

It’s also really useful when I don’t have my keys on me and I quickly need to open the car.

I did freak out the other day when I checked the app in the supermarket to find my doors and frunk open!! Fortunately it hadn’t refreshed after I had shut everything *phew*

5BBD587F-D496-4637-9718-16E1CC6382AE.png
 

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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,910
UK
It works on bluetooth, not your mobile signal.

Thanks, I get that, but we don't bother to turn our 'phones on for weeks on end, no point, as they don't work here. If the 'phone is off, then there's no Bluetooth, and having to turn the phone on, wait for 20 seconds or so for it to boot, get my reading glasses out to log into the thing, then put them away and put my normal distance glasses on for driving, just to open the door of the car seems a lot of faff. It would be a lot less faff to just use the card.

Having a fob would make life a lot simpler, especially when it's raining and it's useful to be able to unlock the doors before going out to the car.
 

Roy W.

Battery running low...
Jun 3, 2019
2,334
2,393
Derby, UK
So having had the car for over a month now, I've come to understand some of the limitations of the smart systems....


1. TWC/UMC won't open your charge port if the car is locked. Had this yesterday, walked out without a key or phone and pressing the button did nothing. So can't pop out just to plug it in, you need your key - or atleast unlock it first.

2. The car will lock your kids inside (presumably they can open the doors from the inside, but the car will lock) if you walk away, or even around the car with your phone. This is constantly annoying for me, get out, close your door, go to the house door to open it, car locks, walk back to the car, bluetooth playing up car wont open, get your phone out, find the unlock button.... Sometimes the car will lock before I even manage to walk around to the boot to get the UMC.

3. Phone as key will stop working on you just as you are demonstrating this feature to your friends. Having to restart bluetooth on more than one occasion.

4. Phone battery drain is significantly higher. Yes I did the whole 'disable battery optimisation' in the settings, but the phone no longer really sleeps unless you turn off bluetooth.

5. Opening the car app does not always wake up the car, but unlocking it via the app does straight away. So car stuck waking up? Hit unlock and it will wake up straight away. I usually end up doing that if it fails to wake up after 2-3 seconds and lock it again, then start conditioning. Why would unlock command wake the car and not a wake command, programmatically that makes no sense.

6. As everyone knows, even touching the app wakes the car up, which then drains the battery faster. Would be nice to look at it without it waking up straight away.

7. No widgets? Really?

As it is I'm leaning more towards getting a fob. From what I read it functions differently to the cards by being a proximity powered key. So I can have it in my pocket and it will reliably unlock the car. Since I'm having to carry my house key around anyway that seems like the best option.
I think a lot of this is because you’re using Android. Whether that’s the Bluetooth implementation on the phone, or the Android version of the Tesla app, I don’t know.

Using an iPhone, for ten weeks now, I’ve never had to restart Bluetooth. There have been several occasions where I’ve gone to open the door and it has stayed locked, but just taking the phone out of my pocket without waking it has been enough for the car to see the Bluetooth signal and unlock.

So not perfect, but nothing like the problems you describe. As mentioned above, I don’t know if Tesla will release a fob that works on UK frequencies. They ought to.
 
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Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,270
3,232
Scotland
Thanks, I get that, but we don't bother to turn our 'phones on for weeks on end, no point, as they don't work here. If the 'phone is off, then there's no Bluetooth, and having to turn the phone on, wait for 20 seconds or so for it to boot, get my reading glasses out to log into the thing, then put them away and put my normal distance glasses on for driving, just to open the door of the car seems a lot of faff. It would be a lot less faff to just use the card.

Having a fob would make life a lot simpler, especially when it's raining and it's useful to be able to unlock the doors before going out to the car.

Just leave your phone on and the app logged in and call it a fob ;) .... joking, I do get what you mean!
 

Yev000

Active Member
May 3, 2019
1,364
963
Knaphill
Just leave your phone on and the app logged in and call it a fob ;) .... joking, I do get what you mean!

You know, you can get a pretty cheap android phone and do just that.... would be cheaper that buying a proper fob ;)

I do wonder what tech the fob uses for passive entry
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,910
UK
I do wonder what tech the fob uses for passive entry

It may be similar to the system my old Prius used, where the fob was a transceiver. It listened all the time for a very low power transmission from the car. In the case of the Prius there were three transmitter antennae, one by each front door handle and one by the rear hatch handle. When the fob detected the car transmission, it would reply with a rolling code that enabled touch unlock/lock to work. I'm pretty sure it used the 868MHz licence exempt band to do this.

The downside of this sort of keyless entry is that it may be subject to a relay attack, where a powerful transceiver is placed near the car, that extends the effective range of the car transmission so that it triggers a fob inside the house, and similarly amplifies the fob transmission back to the car, allowing thieves to unlock the car and perhaps drive it away. My fix for this in a decade of Prius ownership was to replace our key rack in the house with a key rack inside a metal box, to screen the fob.

It may be that Tesla use Bluetooth for the fob, though, as they've already incorporated that for 'phone entry. Can't be too hard to send the same encrypted key as would be used by a 'phone, via a small Bluetooth module inside the fob.
 

Mr Miserable

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jul 8, 2019
5,074
9,592
UK
What I do find annoying, is that the car seems to prioritise to whoever's phone is in the left seat. So if my wife is a passenger the car will unlock and apply her settings to the driver seat and vice versa.
Anyone else? Or have I screwed up the set up somehow?
 

Cogarch

Member
Apr 27, 2019
246
180
Loches
So having had the car for over a month now, I've come to understand some of the limitations of the smart systems....


1. TWC/UMC won't open your charge port if the car is locked. Had this yesterday, walked out without a key or phone and pressing the button did nothing. So can't pop out just to plug it in, you need your key - or atleast unlock it first.

2. The car will lock your kids inside (presumably they can open the doors from the inside, but the car will lock) if you walk away, or even around the car with your phone. This is constantly annoying for me, get out, close your door, go to the house door to open it, car locks, walk back to the car, bluetooth playing up car wont open, get your phone out, find the unlock button.... Sometimes the car will lock before I even manage to walk around to the boot to get the UMC.

3. Phone as key will stop working on you just as you are demonstrating this feature to your friends. Having to restart bluetooth on more than one occasion.

4. Phone battery drain is significantly higher. Yes I did the whole 'disable battery optimisation' in the settings, but the phone no longer really sleeps unless you turn off bluetooth.

5. Opening the car app does not always wake up the car, but unlocking it via the app does straight away. So car stuck waking up? Hit unlock and it will wake up straight away. I usually end up doing that if it fails to wake up after 2-3 seconds and lock it again, then start conditioning. Why would unlock command wake the car and not a wake command, programmatically that makes no sense.

6. As everyone knows, even touching the app wakes the car up, which then drains the battery faster. Would be nice to look at it without it waking up straight away.

7. No widgets? Really?

As it is I'm leaning more towards getting a fob. From what I read it functions differently to the cards by being a proximity powered key. So I can have it in my pocket and it will reliably unlock the car. Since I'm having to carry my house key around anyway that seems like the best option.
I wonder if using NFC tags like this could help with some of these problems? You could stick one inside the tow-eye or the charge port to open the car with your phone.


Of course this would just replicate what you can do anyway by holding your keycard on the B pillar.. For some reason no-one has mentioned that!
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,431
5,966
Surrey, UK
What I do find annoying, is that the car seems to prioritise to whoever's phone is in the left seat. So if my wife is a passenger the car will unlock and apply her settings to the driver seat and vice versa.

Our interpretation of the situation was that it prioritises whoevers phone it picks up first. Just anecdotal evidence.
 

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