Another woman trapped in a Tesla after its battery dies

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That you even need a “secret” latch to open the door in an emergency is ridiculous. Isn’t there some agency that’s supposed to make sure cars are safe before they get sold?


There are a whole bunch of American companies operating on the assumption that everyone is a criminal and incorporate that assumption into their designs and policies. Eventually that assumption extends to the company’s own customers.


On our model 3 I marked the door latch with yellow tape. But I want to apply these instead


I wonder how much they charged her for that.


There are federal safety standards. Specifically, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), which is made up of several different statutes relating to vehicle safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for maintaining, interpreting, and enforcing those standards. However, they don’t approve vehicle designs before they go into production. Manufacturers are mandated to comply with the standards, but there’s only inspection after the fact, if a problem becomes obvious, either through repeated accidents or a lawsuit. Also, these standards are almost entirely focused on crash avoidance and minimizing injury to occupants in the event of a crash. There is a requirement that there has to be a trunk release inside the trunk, but I’m not sure anyone anticipated a car locking its occupants inside the passenger compartment.


I’m sure a case can be made here. This woman was physically trapped in her car for an extended period of time (article doesn’t specify how long) until she managed to get through to someone via the manufacturer’s app who informed her about an unmarked release latch. Imagine the panic in that scenario, where she’s mostly safe. Now imagine instead her car was on fire, or submerging underwater. Being suddenly trapped with no obvious escape has to be actionable, right? If they can mandate trunk escape latches, they can mandate physical door latches.


Well sure, Congress can address anything with a statute. I just suspect the current safety standards don’t address this scenario. Probably because WHO THE FUCK WOULD DESIGN A CAR THAT TRAPS ITS PASSENGERS INSIDE! Like, rationally, you’d think you wouldn’t need to mandate that. But with Musk, all things are possible, I guess.


We don’t have to imagine. That’s what happened and it killed Angela Chao.

Though, to be fair, you probably won’t be able to open the door of a submerged vehicle, even if it is unlocked.


It’s hardly a secret and it’s not, as the OP says, on the “underside” of the armrest. It’s on the leading edge and your fingers land pretty naturally on it if you place your forearm on the armrest. My mom (80 y.o.) grabs the manual door release accidentally damn near every time if I don’t stop her.

FWIW, assuming no power loss, you shouldn’t use the manual release under normal conditions because it doesn’t drop the window down a bit like the power release does and the window gasket (part of the door frame because the windows are frameless) can be damaged.

I was shown the manual release when my M3 was delivered. That was in the before times, when the company at least pretended to give a damn about their customers. Who knows what they’re doing these days.


The “secret” latch is not that hard to find. It is amazing to me that someone wouldn’t just examine the handle of the door before going into full freakout mode and phoning a friend.


RTFA maybe?


Friends of ours had this happen in their Tesla. They did not find the latch. In fact I’m going to gleefully tell them about it now.

They loved their Tesla for a long time before the battery declined and now this secondary battery they never new about failing. The good news is Tesla came pretty quickly with a new one and let them out.


There looks to be no marking telling you what that is, or even that it is a button or latch.


that just totally #@$! nutz. and here i hate it that my “emergency brake” now depends on having a functional electrical system. an emergency brake should be: handle → cable → brake …dammit


I didn’t find the latch all that easy to find which is why I marked it. I’m usually the passenger and didn’t get the instruction from the vendor saying “how to open the f-ing door if the power is out”. I didn’t have to do that on any other vehicle I own.


I’m more hung up on the fact that the glovebox doesn’t operate without power? I can’t even imagine why things would be that way?


The manual is great, but there also need to be design standards and standard operation assumptions so that an experienced and licensed driver might, for example, hop into a rental car, adjust the mirrors and seat, and drive off without having to RTFM.* One of those standards should be that I can get into the car without having to know how to escape it if it traps me inside.

As you say, a small label on the latch would go a long way to remedying a new standard assumption that “you might get trapped inside an EV”.

[* I’ve asked for a different rental car in a couple of instances when it became clear I couldn’t change even basic settings on the over-engineered vehicle without RTFM]

See my initial comment in this topic. Locks are largely anti-theft measures. And Tesla is a company where meta-level design decisions are made by a majority investor who is a fascism-curious Libertarian.


You don’t even have to go that far. Imagine parked in direct sun when it’s 100oF out. You know, like now. No need for dramatic settings for this to be life-threatening. Now put a baby in the back seat.


In door pocket. At all times.


You don’t even really have to imagine all that hard.

I’m surprised she wasn’t freaking out more.