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physically opening door with physical key

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by ChrisC, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. ChrisC

    ChrisC see signature

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    Hi all ... I searched the forum up and down and can't find an answer, so apologies for starting a thread if it exists already ...

    All cars I have owned have always had a physical hole in the door that I could insert a physical key into and turn to unlock and open the door. The key mechanism directly drives the unlock and unlatch mechanisms, so I can get into the car even if the remote / RF unlock mechanism is failing for whatever reason.

    As I understand it, the Model S has no such physical key -- the kind you insert into a hole and turn. Instead it has the keyfob with A) an active section that you can press to command the car, and B) a passive (aka RFID) section that will unlock the car as you approach.

    My question is about federal safety standards. While I like RF keyfobs as much as the next guy, I've also always liked that I had a fallback: a physical key that popped out of the keyfob, and a physical hole in the car door that I could open the door with. The Model S appears to rely on ACTIVE electronics to open the doors.

    Similarly, are the door handles on the INSIDE just electronic switches that "request" that the door by unlocked / unlatched?

    So if the battery is dead (and I mean dead) or the electronic brains are somehow failing, you can't open the doors?

    How did this pass muster with the feds?
     
  2. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    There is a spot at the bottom of the windshield where you can put the key fob and the car will sense it, even if the fob runs out of battery. Once inside, you put the fob in the cup holder to start the car.
     
  3. ModelS8794

    ModelS8794 Member

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    #3 ModelS8794, Feb 25, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
    Can't speak to federal regulations with any authority, but I would think getting into the car would not be a concern for regulators. getting out of the car would probably matter though, and on that front, Tesla has physical emergency exit pulls to facilitate exit even if all the power is dead and none of the electronics work.

    I'll update this post if I can find the proper documentation on Tesla's site.

    Update: Owner's manual page 30: http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/ms_owners_guide.pdf
     
  4. Kaivball

    Kaivball Member

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    Front doors are connected "directly" with the latch.

    Rear doors have a latch cable below the seats.


    What is the Fed standard before you ask how it passed?
     
  5. ChrisC

    ChrisC see signature

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    #5 ChrisC, Feb 25, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
    Thanks for the replies so far. I as talking about a dead car battery / electronics, not just keyfob.

    I don't know the federal standard, I'm just sure it's the kind of thing that would be covered in a standard. Some Googling just now tells me that it's probably 49 CFR 571, Standard No. 206 .

    I can see how EXITING the vehicle might be covered under the safety standard, but ENTERING might not. Thanks for the quote from the manual about how EXITING can be done manually, simply by pulling on the interior door handles. I guess the more elaborate rear door mechanism was good enough for the feds. Regarding entering, I guess you need to hope that you don't simultaneously A) locking something important in the car (like your kid) and B) experience a dead battery or otherwise malfunctioning electronics.

    The whole thing bothers me and is frankly in my "reasons not to get a Model S" column. I know it seems trivial, but then again ... when you or someone you love is stuck inside your car, it's not so trivial anymore, is it?

    Preemptive note: please don't attack me for caring about this and asking. I'm just trying to clarify. I've already learned here that I was wrong about exiting.
     
  6. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    You can also unlock the car through the Tesla app on a smartphone. This could be particularly handy if, say, your fob was locked in your car in a place that wasn't detected by the car. (If you locked your smartphone in the car, too, you can install the Tesla app on a friend's smartphone, log in, and unlock the car.)
     
  7. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Yeah but you shouldn't ever get stuck in your car, as there are manual releases. You could conceivably easily get stuck out of your car however.

    When I first got my VW Jetta, the car was setup to autolock at low speeds. And they said all the doors would unlock if I was in an accident. It made me nervous about getting in an accident and have it not be easy to have someone get me out of the car. The dealer was supposed to undo the setting when I purchased the car. But it was a default setting and when I unplugged my battery, and plugged it back in the car was setup to autolock again. I gave up trying to fix it.

    Well about 16 months later I was in a very serious accident. And all my doors were magically unlocked. Someone was very quickly to my drivers door and opening it and helping me get out of my car. And my trunk, and all 4 doors were unlocked. I was amazed. A lot of these electrical systems are actually MORE robust than their mechanical counterparts in many situations.
     
  8. ChrisC

    ChrisC see signature

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    Thanks ES. This came up today when a friend got locked out of his car (not a Tesla) after the battery died, and he gave the example of locking your baby in the car. I've edited my statement above.

    To those suggesting the keyfob-on-windshield solution, or unlock via app, I'm talking about a scenario where the car's electronics are dead due to dead battery or similar malfunction.
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    The Model S has a separate 12V battery, which is recharged from the main pack. If it has no 12V power for some reason, then you pop the front nosecone off and hook up a booster pack. Bingo you're up and running again.
     
  10. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    There's always the "hammer to the window" solution if things are desperate...
     
  11. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    Yes, I suppose you can construct such a scenario. However, I would suggest the odds of this happening (happening to lock your baby in the car at the exact moment when all the electronics in your car goes dead) is far less likely than the normal case of locking your keys in the car with the baby. With the Model S you can either unlock it with the phone app or actually call Tesla and have them unlock remotely.
     
  12. ChrisC

    ChrisC see signature

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    #12 ChrisC, Feb 25, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
    Doug_G: aha, thanks! Another workaround. So the front nosecone comes off fairly easily?

    EDIT: this thread in the TM forums mentions it:
    The plot thickens.
     
  13. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    My Cadillac CTS has solenoid activated door latches (like the Model S), but it does have a physical key hole and a hidden key inside of the remote fob. I tried it for the first time the other day and was surprised to find that turning the physical key doesn't unlock the door...it activates the solenoid and the door actually pops open without even touching the handle. I mention this because it sounds like without 12v power, even the physical key won't get me into the car. This sounds similar to how the Model S would behave if there is no 12v power. At least with Model S you can pop the nose cone and boost it. I don't know how I'd open the CTS's hood (to boost the battery) if I couldn't get into the car.
     
  14. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I think of the standard FAA airline passenger briefing: "In the unlikely event on a water landing"...

    Locking a baby/pet in a car on a hot day AND having the electronics/battery/latching mechanisms fail simultaneously such that you cannot get in would be a pretty rare event. However, in that case just bash the window with a rock/hammer/whatever.

    Not something to worry about at all, IMHO. No safety issue there.
     
  15. Beavis

    Beavis Signature 991

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    You could do what someone did to the prototype. Use a key and try to pry the handle out, chipping the paint in the process.
     
  16. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    Fairly easily, yes. Easily when panicked? No :) With the right pry tools, it is fairly easy. I think that various Tesla people have recommended a credit card if there's a situation that calls for the nosecone to be removed. There's a knack to it, but it's not difficult. Nevertheless, there's easier places they could have placed a positive terminal for charging, and with the newer, one-piece nosecone, it's certainly not 'convenient' having anything that should be user-accessible behind there.
     
  17. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    You can buy one of those emergency window punch tools for about $5 online. I have one of the multipurpose seat belt cutters / window punch tools in my current car, but the ones that just punch out the windows appear to be about the size of a magic marker. I won't get my Model S until this weekend, but I bet there is a spot somewhere on the underside of the car where you could attach a window punch with a bit a bailing wire to deal with the baby-or-pet-locked-in-the-car scenario.
     
  18. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    As has been posted, there are multiple solutions to this problem, the 1 solution the OP is probably hoping for is not going to happen, Tesla will never put a mechanical key on their work of art, perhaps when Bluestar/Gen3 comes out, they do something like that to lower costs, but on the Model S/X? Doubtful.
     
  19. teslasguy

    teslasguy MSP P#1117

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    You do not have to remove the whole nose cone to access jumper posts with the newest nose comes.


    P1117 Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. ChrisC

    ChrisC see signature

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    Thanks mitch672 for the measured summary. Indeed, I'm really just surprised that the feds allow cars to have no mechanical mechanism for entry. Yes, yes, I hear everyone else and their justifications. I'm still surprised. My friend with the problem car today (a 2003 GM model, like mknox and his CTS) also had solenoid-operated door hardware, so this has been around for a decade and I'm just slow on the take. I've always taken it on faith that doors would have a mechanical override, just like the brake light being triggered directly by the brake pedal. (I know, I know, that one's gone too. Oh my god, I'm old!)

    teslasguy: that starts to make more sense now.

    Thanks to all of the early adopters for taking it on the chin as Tesla works out the bugs in their door opening code :)
     

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