Guest essay by Eric Worrall
My question – do you need good mobile internet coverage to be able to drive your Tesla? A new unexpected Tesla problem could be a real problem for people in a state of emergency.
500 server error leaves some Tesla drivers locked out of their MuskMobiles
CEO blames ‘The length of network traffic is increasing’
Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor Sunday, November 21, 2021 // 23:58 UTC
Some Tesla drivers who enjoyed taking a spin on Saturday were unable to do so after an update to the car’s companion app caused a server error.
Teslas do not use regular keys. Instead, they require the presence of an authenticated fob, key card, or mobile phone app linked to the tram via Bluetooth. This seems to be easier and/or more convenient than a key or something. Oops, everything is better with Bluetooth, right?
Drivers who used the app to start their car reported that they were unable to activate their car using their app.
– Jaehwan Cho (@hohocho) November 19, 2021
Elon Musk to his credit jumped to Twitter to personally question the outage (h/t The Register).
Server error 500 is one of the most common internet errors. It usually happens when website software crashes while trying to fulfill your request. On most web servers, Server 500 occurs when system-level software logs complete application software layer failures and wraps up errors in “Server 500”, in an attempt to provide some meaningful feedback for the end user.
My question, where does this unexpected vulnerability leave the driver in an emergency situation? If you need mobile coverage to connect your cell phone to your car, to fulfill a security system, I’m sure we can all think of many situations when cell coverage may not be available.
Even if this problem only occurs during a faulty software update, it’s a cause for concern in my opinion.
Of course, my experience of a severe power outage due to a major flood 9 years ago is that cell phones tend to die around 48 – 72 hours after the power runs out, so it’s possible by the time your internet connection is out. Your Tesla security system is broken, you shouldn’t have any charge in your car battery.
You don’t just have to worry about your car’s security system, if you live in California. California recently passed legislation bans gasoline backup generators and mandates zero-emissions emergency equipment, so batteries are everywhere.
Thinking about the problems Tesla drivers just went through over the weekend, I’m glad I could start my gas-powered car with an old-fashioned car key. During the last major power outage, my gas-powered car was more than enough to keep me moving for many short trips to the local store and gas station.