Open Card Surgery: How To Hack A Tesla Model 3 Key Card


Zack Nelson searches for a better form factor for the Model 3’s RFID chip.

There are currently several ways to enter your Tesla Model 3. The most common way is via Bluetooth on your smartphone. But Tesla provides two backup methods. Every Model 3 comes with a credit card sized key card. A more traditional key fob is also available as an optional purchase.

Well, three means of entry just isn’t enough for YouTube creator Zack Nelson. He is the host of the DIY channel Jerry Rig Everything. So it is in his nature to fiddle with technology to fit his personal taste. So why is he slaughtering these poor Model 3 key cards?

Personally, I think the shape of this key card is quite obnoxious. (…) I vote we hack into the card, see how it works, and try to physically modify it into something else.

Zack begins his work by cutting along the edge, exposing the copper wiring of the RFID card’s antenna. Unfortunately he destroys the first card in this process.

Model 3 Key Card Cut

The real experiment begins on the second card as he dips it into a jar of acetone. The chemical eats away at materials like plastic and rubber without causing harm to the chip and wiring hidden within. This allows him to safely remove the tiny RFID chip and wiring without damaging either.

Model 3 Removing Chip

He then tests the bare antenna with the Model 3 in different shapes in preparation of a new design. So far he has not decided on a final form factor. Should he make a bracelet? A ring? Perhaps a necklace?

Be sure to check out the full video above and let us know what you would find most convenient in the comments below!

Model 3 Key Card Antenna

Video Description By JerryRigEverything On YouTube

Its time to see how the Tesla Model 3 Key card works. Lets physically hack it open and see what components are inside.

Huge thanks to Ben Sullins for letting me sacrifice his Tesla key.

What should I make with the dismantled key?

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18 Comments on "Open Card Surgery: How To Hack A Tesla Model 3 Key Card"

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I must be missing something. . . is there a secret to finding the video?

No, It’s on top of the story as usual.

Not finding it either. Clicking the image at the top of the article just pops up a zoomed in version of it. No play button or link to a video that I could find.

Strange! It was there previously today.

Looks like it’s there now for me (it didn’t show up for me an hour ago).


Off topic (as I cannot find a contact link on your homepage): Found this very interesting Tesla related article. Maybe you can get permission to publish it on insideevs. Have a look:

There is a link to contact us in the menu at the top right of the page. See: “TIP US/CONTACT US.”

Sorry, delete. Misread, and thought you were referring to the other site.


Google Chrome shows the menu incl. contact link etc. Explorer 11 which I’ve been using unfortunately not. Next time I will know where to look 🙂

I would put the device beneath my skin. Won’t lose again, end of story.

(but what if I sell the car ???)

You can easily be deactivated.

Easy just cut your finger off where the chip is and sell it with the car. 😀

So to make it go into a key chain poke the hole near the middle so you don’t break the antenna.

I already drilled a hole near the corner of one card. Inspecting carefully, you can see small curved traces near each corner showing (perhaps) parts of the antenna outline.
Using a 1/16″ plastic drill (has a much more acutely pointed tip than a regular one) a hole can be successfully made, without damaging anything, between the curve trace and the corner. I put a wire loop through it so it can be kept in my wallet or handed to a valet to hang.


Put it in sunglasses like the 12th Doctor did with his sonic screwdriver.

Embed into a watch band

Jaguar has an Activity Key that’s basically a key embedded into a Fitbit-like rubber water-resistant/proof wristband. Great for people who do outdoor activities but don’t want to lug around a phone or huge card. This would be an ideal form factor for this (I miss my Activity Key).