Guest essay by Eric Worrall
My question – do you need good cellular internet coverage to be able to drive your Tesla? A surprise new Tesla issue might be a real problem for people in the middle of an emergency.
Server Error 500 sees some Tesla drivers locked out of their MuskMobiles
CEO blames ‘Increased verbosity of network traffic’
Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor Sun 21 Nov 2021 // 23:58 UTC
Some Tesla drivers who fancied going for a spin on Saturday were unable to do so after an update to the cars’ companion app produced server errors.
Teslas don’t use conventional keys. Instead they require the presence of a fob, key card, or authenticated mobile phone app that links to the electric vehicles over Bluetooth. This is apparently easier and/or more convenient than a key, or something. Heck, everything’s better with Bluetooth, right?
Drivers that use the app to kcikstart their cars reported they could not activate their cars with their apps.
— Jaehwan Cho 조재환 (@hohocho) November 19, 2021
Elon Musk to his credit jumped onto Twitter to personally field questions about the outage (h/t The Register).
Server error 500 is one of the most generic internet errors. It usually occurs when the website software crashes while trying to fulfil your request. On most web servers, Server 500 occurs when level system software captures complete failures of the application software layer, and wraps the failures in a “Server 500”, to try to provide some meaningful feedback to the end user.
My question, where does this unexpected vulnerability leave drivers in an emergency situation? If you need cellular coverage to connect your mobile to your automobile, to satisfy the security system, I’m sure we can all think of plenty of scenarios when cellular coverage might be unavailable.
Even if this problem only occurs during a botched software update, in my opinion it is a concern.
Of course, my experience of a major power outage caused by a big flood nine years ago was cellular tends to die about 48 – 72 hours after the electricity dies, so maybe by the time your Tesla security system internet connection breaks down, you don’t have any charge in your vehicle battery anyway.
It is not just your vehicle security system you have to worry about, if you live in California. California recently passed a law outlawing gasoline backup generators and mandating zero emission emergency equipment, so batteries everywhere.
Thinking about the problems Tesla drivers just experienced over the weekend, I’m kindof glad I can start my gasoline vehicle with an old fashioned automobile key. During the last big outage, my gasoline vehicle had the range to keep me mobile for multiple short trips to the shop and the local gas station.