Tesla’s app, which you can download onto your smart phone and use to activate the phone key feature, went down for at least four hours yesterday evening, NBC Bay Area reported. Tesla owners complained on Twitter that they were stuck or almost stuck in various places after their phone key no longer worked.
@Tesla what’s the status of the network? I’m stuck at a supercharger, plugged in. Trying to get home with a dead key fob, was using the app to run the car. Now the system’s down for 3 hours. Help!— Kristian Kicinski (@kkicinski) September 3, 2019
@Tesla tesla app down, phone not working as key for a few hours now. Luckily I have a key card on me but if I did not I would be stranded— Tony Lourenco (@TonyF_Lourenco) September 3, 2019
A Tesla spokesperson responded to the complaints by pointing to the Model 3 support page and specifically noted that “a paired Phone Key uses Bluetooth frequencies instead of a network connection to communicate with your Model 3. This means that if you’re parked in an underground parking garage with no cell signal on either your phone or your car, you can still lock, unlock, and start your vehicle without issue.”
Tesla does provide users with a physical key card to unlock and start their cars in the event of an emergency, but it appears that owners who have come to rely on the phone app don’t always carry the key card with them.