A couple of years ago, a Tesla software update added the ability to unlock the company's all-electric cars remotely using the owner's smartphone, as well as to actually allow the car to be driven without the key. One problem: if you step away from your car when you're out and need to get back into it, you better be somewhere you can get a signal on your phone.
Neowin and the Telegraph picked up recently on the story of Ryan Negri, who decided to go for a joyride in his Tesla with his wife and dogs into the desert outside Las Vegas, after unlocking and starting his Model S through his phone.
After driving six miles and getting out to enjoy the view, Negri found that he couldn't actually get back in to his car, which had switched off and locked when they'd exited. Because they were out of range of mobile coverage -- the US' telcos are notoriously terrible for anywhere outside of metro areas -- both the Tesla and Negri's iPhone weren't able to connect. No connection meant no unlocked car, and the couple were stranded.
In Australia, Tesla's cars all have always-on 3G connectivity through Telstra's mobile network. That network covers the vast majority of Australia, so driving your $100,000-plus supercar outside of at least some kind of mobile coverage isn't going to be as easy as you think. Plenty of black spots exist, though, and especially out in the middle of nowhere -- although that's not really the kind of territory you'd expect to take an electric car that requires hours of charging when away from a Supercharger.
In any case, let this be a warning to you. If you drive your Tesla without the key, and you can't unlock it because your phone (or car) has no mobile reception, you might be in for a long walk or hitch-hike back home to pick up that glossy little fob. [Neowin]