Model S Stolen- Amsterdam

On the Dutch forum at TMC, an owner reports his Model S was stolen. (He got it back.) Moral: don't leave your fob in the car!

You're just asking for trouble if you leave a key fob in the car.

There's a high percentage of car stolen from gas stations because these schmucks decided to leave the key in the car with the engine running to buy a pack of smoke.

One of the solution suggested was to tie the key fob to his "Prince Albert".

You've got to love Google translate: one response to the OP was translated as "Hans, lucky guy!! violently, I could reasonably go berserk and best man a serious high kick in his neck selling ..."


I've seen a video on You Tube showing a wife holding the key standing a sort distances from the car, husband then driving off in the car leaving his wife with the key. After admit not to good if some one can drive off in your car with out the key is this video true as unfortunately I don't have a Model S yet, intested to hear what you owners know about this?

The scenario is the same for all cars that have a keyless system. This is the same for Lexus, BMW, etc.

The general rule is if the car is running, and the fob disappears (i.e. some one moves it outside the car), you can drive it until you turn the car off. At that point, you can't start it again or drive it. Rarely happens, but semi-humorous when happens (to someone else).

@Mr Odd Job - One can drive off without the key fob but it won't start again once the driver exit the car.

This has been report several time when the valet didn't return the key fob to the owners as they drove off.

This is no different than any other keyless engine start/stop system used by the likes of Nissan or Lexus.

What I don't understand is that there is obviously a proximity sensor in the car to sense the FOB for the auto present handles. So, why can't they tap into this sensor and have the car shut down once you get out of the seat. The car won't run until you sit in it and press the brake, so why doesn't it shut off when you get out?

It shuts off when you get out.

Sorry, non-owner here; can you disable the remote fob detection and only use a physical key to unlock the car?

No place for a physical key to get physical.

The reason they don't shut down the car when the fob is no longer detected, is because if the fob ever simply lost connectivity due to interference, or a weak battery, the car would shut off while on the highway (not a good situation to be in).

My suggestion would be to simply poll for the fob regularly while driving, and bring up a message saying the fob was not detected if it ever lost signal. This way the driver would know to go back to where they left the fob before shutting the car off.



@Panoz, there is no location to insert a physical key. You can disable auto-present handles, but if the fob is in proximity, you can push on the handles and they will present.

Jordan, it does shut down when you get out. Walk away and it locks up. I now have a problem that I keep walking off and leaving my ICE car running. It seems so last year to actually have to start a car or turn off a car.

The problem is if you have the car shut itself down when it loses FOB signal you would have cars shutting down at 60 miles an hour. Easy to turn off auto present on the handles and then the car only unlocks when you have the FOB with you and you touch the door handle.

Every car or motorcycle I have owned that has a key sensing system can be driven off without the key. Only need the key to get in and get it going after that you don't need the key again if you don't turn it off.

"There's a high percentage of car stolen from gas stations because these schmucks decided to leave the key in the car with the engine running to buy a pack of smoke."

Okay, I promise not to take my Tesla to the gas station.

@Panoz - Even if you try to insert your manly "physical" key, there are no tailpipes to insert it into...

You can also use the smartphone app to lock/unlock the car.

@Panoz, You could take the battery out of the FOB and use the emergency dead FOB unlocking and starting procedure.

Place the key FOB without the battery on the magic spot at the bottom of the windshield on the passenger side. To start the car place the FOB on the magic spot below the 12 volt power receptacle.

So yes you can operate the car without a powered FOB and use the Dead FOB like an old school key.

Dang. The car theft scenario is more of a concern than I had made jokes about...just being close to the car makes it available for any driver.

So the phone app should have a "Bait Car" lockdown feature allowing you to shutdown the car, limit it to 10mph, flash the lights and honk the horn. Or something like that.

My car gives me a ding-ding-ding if the fob leaves the car while running. Does the Model S do something similar?

There's a message on the dash that says key fob is not detected in such scenario.

This is the message you get if you try to start the car without the FOB near the car

The car will start if the FOB is NEAR the car.

I put the FOB 20 feet away. No go. Set the fob on the ground next to the driver door. Started and no warning.

40-50% of all car thefts are a result of keys left in the car.

Left the FOB on the garage floor near the drivers door and drove off.

Within about 30 seconds and a quarter of a block away I got a warning chime and this message.

The car will warn you pretty quickly if the key is not present. The key does not have to be in the car to start but it must be pretty close.

My test program is over so back to work.

Thanks for the testing @Roamer.

Like the phone app idea, but a simple upgrade for a two process authentication of some type seems it would be a good option.

I understand the car will shut off when you get 20 feet away, but that to me isn't the issue here. Any car thief that learns about this, isn't going to care that the car won't start again once they shut it off. As a matter of fact if they now about the ability to drive off with out the FOB, they will undoubtedly know to not shut it off and go for their joy ride or to the chop shop. Can the timing of shutdown be changed, like say once you are 10 feet away?

The car shuts off when you get out of the seat and close the door--no proximity issue wrt the fob.

Jordan. All you have to do is get out and click the remote. All locked and happy. Alarm armed.

Only time this is an issue is if you let the car do everything and take no action.

Again, any disabling of the car when the fob is out of range could lead to safety concerns if it ever lost communication while driving. This is not an uncommon occurence if you consider cell phone interference, and dead batteries causing the issue.

The last thing I would want is for the battery in my fob to die while I am driving through the Nevada desert, and it causes my entire car to stop operating.

Also, disabling the car means that you will have a long walk back to get the fob, rather than just getting a warning and driving back to where the fob was left. Meanwhile your car is parked in middle of a roadway causing a hazard.

With the GPS functions of the car, it is tough to steal. You could track the criminal all the way to their chop shop, and show the officer the exact, real-time location of the car just by using your phone.

The caliber of criminal it would take to know how to disable that GPS, is way beyond the type that waits at a gas station to jump in your car when you leave the key inside.

the only issue is how fast you want it to lock. The walk away lock is very convenient but a manual remote click lock is instant. Take your pick depending on the location. My BMW works the same way.

I expect a setting soon ( Tesla soon ) that will allow driver door unlocking only. Right now all doors unlock with the remote.

It isn't based on distance, it is based on time.
The distance the fob is recognized is about 4-5 feet from the front doors.
Once you leave that distance, the car will lock itself.
It is about 30 seconds.

So if you get out of the car, which shuts it off immediately, and stand about 10 feet away for 30 seconds the car will then lock itself.

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