Tesla Releases New Model 3 Images With Keycard And Phone App

Tesla Model 3

AUG 20 2017 BY MARK KANE 58

Tesla has released a few more photos of the Model 3, this time centered around the keycard and phone app for door entry, and starting the car.

Tesla Model 3 – Keycard Door Entry

The base way to open the car and drive seems to focus on an app for iOs and Android, that enables keyless entry, provided one configures the Bluetooth connection.

Once the connection is set, the owner simply approaches the vehicle to unlock it and drive. That’s an entirely different approach than today in the Model S or Model X, which uses a key fob as the default mode for keyless entry.

The second option for operation and entry for the Model 3 is to use a factory provided keycard, embed with a NFC chip that needs to be swipe/tapped on the driver’s door B pillar, below the Autopilot camera.

Unlike a key fob, the keycard is unable to open the doors or trunk via buttons, but is possible to put in one’s wallet (as a reserve option, if something were to happen to your phone).

Tesla Model 3 – Interior Keycard and Phone Dock


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58 Comments on "Tesla Releases New Model 3 Images With Keycard And Phone App"

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Sounds fine to me. The Tesla fob is a bit bulky and easy to lose….and I always have my phone with me anyway. Not to mention it is lower cost.

I’d rather have a fob. That way if someone else needs to borrow my car, I don’t have to give them my phone. Also, I never use Bluetooth on my phone and usually have it turned off to save battery power. Maybe I can buy a cheap Bluetooth device and use it as the keyfob.

Buy a decent phone. I like my bluetooth on so my hamds free phone works in the car.

My phone is free (work phone), and it’s a good Samsung. I just don’t use BT.

You don’t give someone your phone. You give them your card.

You won’t even have to give them the card, you’ll just give them (temporary) permission to use the car with their smartphone (they’ll just have to download the Tesla app).

Don’t forget about the guy who drove his Tesla out to the desert for a hike, taking just his phone. When he returned to his car, he couldn’t unlock it because there was no cell signal where he parked. Oops.

People don’t realize the app on the phone doesn’t communicate with the car directly. An internet connection is required.

Except this uses Bluetooth not cell signal and servers. Big difference

Why worry about facts?

This is the Internet! Facts need not apply. ;-P

Never lost a Fob or had one fail. If it had, there was a key backup in the fob.

I have had phone batteries run out of charge. I have had NFC cards fail.

Different perspectives.

Is it a better way? We’ll hear eventually.

NFC card is a pretty dumb device. Much less inside to fail than a fob. Whatever abuse you put the NFC card through, the fob would have fared worse.

I’ve never had a NFC card fail. They have mis-programmed them, but once programmed, there is really nothing to fail on them.

Where have you had one fail? I’ve only had the NFC for hotel rooms and onboard cruise ships. I know Disney uses them at Disney World. They must be reliable, or they would spend countless employee hours fixing the things.

I’ve lost a Lexus key that cost me $275 to replace and reprogram. I’ve heard that Mercedes charges $400 per key. This card card will also work at a Super Charger.

When we replaced a broken Volt key fob it cost $60.

$250-$400 is ridiculous!

I am sure Tesla will charge us to replace a lost key card too though.

I thought i lost my model s fob and called and asked how much it was and was shocked. Luckily i found it. I now have a tile on it

Nissan keys are ~$300 each after programming. Replaced three in the last 2 years (life with a toddler).

You don’t have to pay that much; you can get an unprogrammed leaf FOB on Amazon for like $65 (make sure you get the correct FCC I’d number), and using the powers of google you should be able to find a shop that can program it for ~$80.

A Nissan Dealer will re-program up to 4 fobs for a flat fee of $99.

As you say buy them on eBay or Amazon and have them paired to your car.

Everyone discusses unlocking but not locking. How do I lock the car when I get out?

You walk out of Bluetooth range, and the car locks.

That’s not a solution that I want. I want an immediate lock. Current keyless-entry cars have a button on the handle.

OK Open the app on your phone and press lock.

IS there some visual/aural (pref. both) for that happening? Bluetooth has a lot of failure modes, as do phone OSes. I always prefer symmetric procedures (and hate door you slam to lock).

How many cards are provided? I expect 2. How much is it to get another card? How long do you have to wait to get it?

How about voice & facial recognition. You walk up to any camera & say open the Fing door, and it’s unlocks the door nearest you.
Reverse for locking.
Convenient\Secure & you can’t lose the key or card, though I suppose you could lose your voice.

Unfortunately, face recognition isn’t reliable (at least the consumer versions). You can trick the camera with a photo.

Voice is pretty good, unless someone recorded your voice. But it has been somewhat unreliable if you have a cold or laryngitis.

How about saying a password? Mine would be “open sasame” 😀


I like it, but maybe a phrase you can change.
Like: “I’ll take this car.” (loudly) The car opens up, and you get in and drive away.

“The second option for operation and entry for the Model 3 is to use a factory provided keycard, embed with a NFC chip that needs to be swipe/tapped on the driver’s door B pillar, below the Autopilot camera.

Unlike a key fob, the keycard is unable to open the doors or trunk via buttons, but is possible to put in one’s wallet (as a reserve option, if something were to happen to your phone).”

I really do not like either option.

Bluetooth is unreliable. I gave up on bluetooth mice and keyboards and headsets. I usually keep bluetooth turned off on my phone.

And swiping an NFC card is more work and a step back from current keyless entry. Putting it in a wallet isn’t convenient if i have to take my wallet out to use it.

I will already have my keys with me. Just redesign the key fob to be smaller if they’re too bulky.

Not a dealbreaker… still want a model 3… but I do not personally like this decision at all.

I agree NFC is not what I would want. How do you open the car from far away? Using the app? This will always be slower than a keyfob. Say it rains, I unlock the car from afar so I don’t get more wet then needed instead of fumbling and stopping by the side of the car to swipe the NFC chip. I have not used Tesla app but have used a lot both Lexus and GM remote apps LexusEnform and RemoteLink/Onstar and they are SLOW at best or don’t reliably work over 1/3 of the time. All those new ways of doing things are making me feel better about choosing the dual motor option in my reservation page, by then any kinks should hopefully be worked out.

Yeah, the fact that my wife isn’t buying until mid-2018 might be a blessing in disguise. Perhaps a keyfob will be offered by then.

If not, I will let Tesla and early owners work out any potential issues with the bluetooth system.

I’m sure one of the enterprising Tesla groups will make a BT fob.

A future world is one where you won’t have your keys with you.

I have keypad deadbolts on two doors of my home. Doing away with the need for fobs or keys for my car is going to be awesome. I won’t need any keys, which means I won’t spend countless hours looking for them anymore!!


Hmmm, the Chevy Bolt has something very similar called Key Pass which allows you to connect your phone to your car via BlueTooth and control various items. When you walk up to the car, it can turn the car “on” (lights, etc.) but I don’t think it currently supports unlocking the car. Owners seem to report a number of issues with it (i.e. typical bluetooth pairing issues, inconsistent behavior, limited usefulness overall). Beyond that, BT range can be a lot longer than the average fob and owners report it triggering the lights to come on, etc. while walking around in their houses, etc.

I read one blurb where one of the primary future use cases involved car sharing and the ability to have share drivers unlock the doors in a second vs. an internet based approach which might require several seconds.

I have a bad feeling we’ll be seeing a meme on this feature in the near future…

Keypass is utter garbage.

You cant open the trunk with the keycard. That was sounds like a brilliant idea. Not.

Indeed I much like the option to open the trunk without unlocking all doors. OnStar / Enform cannot do just trunk in 2016 cars that I have.

Key card is also for valet parking, car wash … You don’t want them to open your trunk or glovebox.

This will be fun. If the battery on our phone dies, we can’t get the trunk open. What could go wrong.

Click unlock on the 15″ display maybe?

Except the model3 opens/unlocks the glovebox via a button on the display – If someone has the keycard I assume they have full access to all functions including opening the glovebox – unless there is a valet mode that uses a password or something to protect other functions.

Love it. It’s so cool. Tesla does it again. You can bet that other car companies are scrambling to have one for their cars.
I am a member of Zipcar,and I have a key card. Every time I use it,I see people looking to see what I just did. not going to lie,I feel cool every time I do it.
Now, what happens when I loose my phone wallet? That’s where my phone and card is. How do I get into my future car??

Is there a mechanical-key backup if the electrical system fails (i.e., dead car battery or the like)? I think this should be legally mandatory.

“I think this should be legally mandatory.”

What do you base this opinion on? A study of the data showing that fob entry has caused X deaths or $Y in lost productivity or whatever? That would be interesting. OTOH if it’s “it seems like a bad idea to me” then you already have a recourse: don’t buy one. If enough people agree with you, the manufacturer will give in, no regulation required.

FWIW the Models S and X have no mechanical key. For that matter, the rental VW I’m driving right now has no mechanical key either. I imagine electronic-only is common by now.

Don’t like either option. Not at all. I waited in line for a futuristic car, not horribly thought out futuristic options.

Says the person who has zero experience using the options yet.

Cancel your order and let the next guy who does like the car get it a tad earlier.

I can tell you I can almost always get on my app and unlock my car. And it isn’t that slow but I wouldn’t want to do that all the time.

I also have never had a pairing issue with bluetooth and my car. Other cars absolutely but not my S.

The car can lock when you close the door after X seconds (currently not programmable). So it doesn’t require being out of BT range. Where does that come from?

Tesla has a fair amount of experience here. It is actually one of the most reliable parts of the car. So lets not all call foul until we live with it. No mechanical key for 2.5 years

What about living in a house where you’re in and out of bluetooth range? I wonder how long before car theivs start waiting by Teslas for the lights to blink so they can jump in & drive away. Even if they can’t get away, getting it around the corner would be enough for a laugh.

As David Cary says above, Tesla didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. If I remember right [*], the car won’t start unless the key is inside the cab. They are pretty good at localizing the key, there are multiple antennas in the car for this purpose. I expect they’ll be able to do the same trick with BT.

[*] I’m out of town right now, otherwise I’d go confirm by experiment.

This is the 2nd most hated feature on the Model 3 as far as I am concerned (center display only is my #1 complain).

Seriously. Just give a freaking fob. I don’t always have my phone and I actually love the Ford feature that allows me to keep some valuables in the vehicle while I am doing something outdoors. Phone can die and keycard can’t open the trunk is just stupid.

Seriously, just give a simple/small key ring that looks awesome. I am sure Tesla can do that easily.

Keep the key card as backup feature or for ride sharing and allow the phone to work as well, but GIVE ME AN AWESOME FOB!

Actually, if there’s sufficient demand I can’t see why a third party couldn’t produce a nice BT fob. BT accessories are a dime a dozen.

Can you tell Siri to open car door?

“Open the pod bay doors, Siri”?

Give it a try… 🙂

I hate this solution.

I don’t always carry my cell phone with me, but I always have my keys. Keys (or a key fob) are much more compact than a cell phone.

Also, what if I don’t want the car to lock when I walk away on some particular occasion?

I hate it when companies try to dictate what phone I use. I don’t either of the two popular phone systems (iOS, Android). Hopefully they make it work with other phones also by just working with BT.