Tesla Model 3 Uses Key Card Instead Of Key Fob?

Tesla Model 3


Perhaps there will be no traditional key fob for the Tesla Model 3?

This recent video shows Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Doug Field, with a very obvious small, black book or “credit-card-like” item in his right hand as he gets into a Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3

Perhaps the elusive Tesla Model 3 key card, or a little black book containing a key card to access the vehicle?

It’s pretty cool to see another Model 3, which could be Field’s newest personal vehicle. But, the Tesla key card could be something even more exciting, and yet another way for the Silicon Valley electric automaker to keep costs down.

A closer look shows that Field is carrying the card inside of some kind of case or little back booklet. Based on the zoomed in picture to the right, one could even suggest that Field is simply holding a thin mobile device. However, further inspection, as well as other pictures, suggest that Field inserts it — or at least its contents — into the cupholder area of the Tesla Model 3. A closer picture of the cupholder area shows a white card with the Tesla moniker stamped on it.

The Model3OwnersClub and TheTeslaShow took to Twitter to post images of what they’re agreeing is set to be the “key” for the Tesla Model 3. If this is true, there will not likely be a standard Tesla key fob like the vehicle-shaped one that we’re all familiar with. Perhaps you can still opt for the traditional Tesla key fob as an option, or maybe it comes on certain “special” trims.

There’s still so much we don’t know about the upcoming Model 3, but all of that’s set to change this Friday, July 28, when Tesla hosts the Model 3 handover party in Fremont. Of course, we will be filling you in with all of the details from the event as they occur.

Source: Model 3 Owners Club via Teslarati

Categories: Tesla

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46 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Uses Key Card Instead Of Key Fob?"

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The cup holders would need to be able to hold cups, if the key has to go in there that is bad design

That’s not a cup holder. That’s clearly a binocular holder, so that you can see the cars you left behind at traffic lights…



Why do you think it needs to go there? Just because he happened to put it there. It likely just needs to be somewhere in the car.

Kacey Green posted exactly what I was thinking… altho I would have made the joke more obvious by putting a smiley after the comment. 🙂

Using what tech?
That’s card too thin to hold a battery or any kind of cheap power supply (and if you had to make custom cards and swap them every so often it wouldn’t be user-friendly or cheap to produce); NFC wouldn’t work across more than 4cm. Anything else would require pretty expensive transmitter/receiver in the car.
Makes more sense you need to swipe the car somewhere once on entry to turn it on (maybe next to the car door handle), but not later.

“That’s card too thin to hold a battery…”

Are you sure?

RFID. Look it up.

Drinks are for stationary activity! Driving, requires the cop holders to hold the card, as indicated in the Tesla manual!

Well, you aren’t driving so much as checking into a room.

Or, and bear with me here, that thing has nothing to do with the car. Maybe the fob is in his pocket and he took whatever that is out of his pocket so it would be more comfortable to sit. Let’s not all jump to conclusions here.


This is inane. All the Tesla fobs have both a proximity reader (with the sensor in the cup-holder/binocular holder – LOL) as well as bluetooth for remote entrance to the vehicle. This is probably a convenience that it is a proximity card, especially if there are multiple people testing it.

That’s it…no key fob shaped like model 3 and I will ask for my $1000 back..lol bullocks I’m not doing that I want my model 3 yesterday.

It sounds strange to have, but if it is a key card it might be good in a way. What do you always have on you – your wallet. Stick it in there and forget about it. No need to carry around an extra keyfob to lose. If it works by proximity I’m sure it would be close enough in your pocket. Or in a purse on the seat.

I agree with you Marcel. The card is a great idea. I hope that’s what it is.

Indeed. I’ve read complaints about the MX key fob shape being awkward to carry in your pocket, so for some people at least, a “key card” would be an improvement, not just a cost-saving measure.

My phone is what I always have, I would think the electronics could be easy to add, although a card in my wallet would be excellent. Love the proximity fob for our Leaf, but it’s all a slippery slope, I often forget to dig out my keys at the front door. Those locks are pricey to convert.

That was my first response…it would be nice to get rid of the pocket full of keys.

Of course, this raises the amount of harm if you lose your wallet.

It is rather building upon the Model 3 as taxi concept. If people want to drive your car they use a credit card to enter instead of a bulky key fob. If you give your car available to car sharing, the credit card will open it.

They are really making this car as a taxi not as a driver’s car. It is a continuation on the no driver dashboard in the car, that’s a bit annoying for real drivers. Becoming a taxi passenger is not what they look for.

I dunno if this is true or just fans desperately seeking new information lol.

As long as we never have to remove the card from a wallet or purse and physically swipe it, I will be fine with this.

But… I like the little tesla key fobs shaped like the car! ;( lol

“I dunno if this is true or just fans desperately seeking new information lol. ”

Yup way to many fans and way too many new web sites trying to make a buck off the Tesla frenzy.

I have to carry house-keys & work-keys with me anyway, so it’s not like my keychain is going to go away.

Yeah same here. My home key, mail box key, office key and my Bolt key fob will all still be there. So I don’t particularly care one way or the other.

“…fans desperately seeking new information…”

I resemble that remark. 😉

I think most of us do! 😉

We can’t possibly wait until Friday for more details… so must invent details to keep us busy in the mean time!

“Please, insert your card with the stripe facing up”, an infinite audio loop repeats as you approach.

Let’s be honest. There is no real reason why we don’t know more information about this car if it is 100% done. Why is the reveal almost 30 days after the first car was “delivered”

Because Tesla wants to sell the Model S and the Model X in preference to the Model 3. Keeping mum about the M3 until the final Reveal is one way to keep up demand for the MS & MX.

Tesla would much rather sell you a car that you’d pay for within 3-6 weeks, rather than have you wait for a couple of years on a Model 3. Plus, Tesla has had time to whittle away at the cost of making a Model S, and perhaps has been able to trim the cost of the Model X slightly, or at least it has worked out a lot of production problems with the car.

With the Model 3 comes a whole new set of startup costs and production problems, so it will be awhile before Tesla can start making a profit off the M3. (It is said that most car models only start making an overall profit in the second year of production.)

So, naturally, Tesla would rather you buy a MS or MX now, rather than wait until later to buy a M3, for multiple reasons.

P.S. — I think you’re confused over just when the first production M3 was delivered, or will be.

Elon tweeted on July 9:

“Production unit 1 of Model 3 is now built and going through final checkout. Pics soon.”

That was only 15 days ago, and we don’t just when that car was actually delivered to Elon. How long does “final checkout” take? And with his very busy schedule, would he have have had time to take delivery on the earliest possible date?

I see this the opposite way. I was relatively unconvinced the car would even be released in a week (or so), that it would just be the second reveal and it would be sent to employees only.

But there’s no point in leaking features out as you see with this and the 48A charger if you aren’t going to publicize the order list soon.

I have been on a factory tour. That looks more like the employee key card to get in the factory door.


To funny.

Does make for quick news story.

That’s exactly what I think as well, just a door access card.
There’s a reason the key fob has lasted so long. It is simple, it is robust, it is cheap. They might change that, but really why bother reinventing something that just works?
If they want more service calls and more headaches, then just give everyone that flimsy door access card, which gets broken with monotonous regularity, no room for the transmitter so you have to be really close to the sensor, and really doesn’t add any value to vehicle usage IMO.

A key card would be fine. I don’t see a reason to have a separate fob. A card I could fit in my wallet would be great.

I’m not sure that would fit in my wallet, it looks thick.

I also have concerns similar to Aaron’s, that this card is for something else, not the car.

I’ve got one of those wallets which are RFID resistant (prevent people stealing your cash from your contactless cards, unable to read them with a portable reader). Guess If this is true and I get a Model 3 I will have to take the card out of my Wallet each time 🙁

Why do you need a physical item like a fob or a card anyway? Just make the key a smartphone app.

Because that would be far too easy for car thieves to copy. You definitely want a physical object for security, not just software which could be copied virtually for free, instantly and in very large numbers.

If the physical object does not require physical contact (like a key which must be inserted in a keyhole), then there is no real distinction between that and an app.

The key to avoiding theft is good singal encryption. Anyone can copy the code used in public/private key encryption, yet it appears to be secure enough to be used for things like online banking.

I know people who have used their smartphone to access their Teslas. Too many downsides for me right now.

If your phone battery dies you can’t open your car. If you park in an underground parking garage without cell reception you can’t get into your car (because the system isn’t direct, it goes through the internet).

I’m not ruling out the idea but right now I’m not convinced I’d like it.

All the auto-present and motorized functions of the Tesla key fob are luxury automation devices. Without motorized doors and liftgates, the need for such functions drops considerably.

I don’t really like the remote lock/unlock/alarm features of my current vehicle’s keyless entry fob. It take up extra space in my pocket, and the risk of inadvertent button presses is high, to the point where I never put it in with other keys or objects.

But I love the proximity unlock feature. It’s become second nature for me to simply reach for the driver’s door and hear the click of it unlocking. If I could get that without the hazard and bulk of a keyfob, I’d be very happy.

The remote alarm function… I suppose there’s some utility in being able to draw attention to yourself in case of an assault or emergency; I’ve never studied the usage or efficacy of such features. I’d personally be happy with using a smartphone app to quietly locate my car in a large parking lot, rather than listening for it honking.

Quickly skimmed the comments, didn’t see anything…

First, a thin “keycard”, even if it did nothing, would be welcomed…Some manufactures a keycard…

However, this could be an employee only thing or possible part of the ride sharing thing (only get a keycard after signing up for ride sharing)…

For folks out of Europe: here’s Renault key card, 15 years ago….

Proximity keys are not new. Making them a thin card or using an app would be better.

It’s not a large thing to change a house door as well. Except I got 5 keyed doors (keyed alike) and a shed (different key. It would cost a small fortune to make them all smart door locks.

So, like others here, I’m stuck with a keychain for a while.