Recent observations from the electric vehicle community suggest that Tesla may be subtly preparing to roll out key card and phone key access for the Model S and Model X. If such features are set to be released, the electric car maker could take a step towards unifying its fleet. With key cards and phone keys, Tesla would be introducing a standard set of processes for owners to access their vehicle.
Tesla owner-hacker @greentheonly initially reported the existence of a “universal keycard” for the Model S and Model X. According to the Tesla enthusiast, Model S and Model X vehicles with firmware 2020.48 and up now included references to a “service key.” This field, which is used for phone keys and key cards like those adopted by the Model 3 and Model Y, was previously empty on previous iterations of the Model S and Model X’s firmware.
The owner-hacker mentioned some of his other recent observations in later tweets. For one, the enthusiast remarked that the Model S and Model X’s service key seems to be hardcoded, with a random sampling of vehicles having the same key data. Green also noted that he tried deleting the service key, but it just reverts to the original code.
Elon Musk has referenced the rollout of phone key capabilities for the Model S and Model X in the past. Back in 2018, Musk remarked that all Model S and Model X, including first production units, will be compatible with phone key features similar to those adopted by the Model 3. So far, such a feature has yet to be released.
While the Tesla owner-hacker’s observations could simply be references to a feature that was long-promised by Elon Musk, the adoption of phone keys and possibly keycards for the Model S and Model X has resulted in more speculations among the Tesla community about an upcoming update, or perhaps even a refresh for sorts, for the flagship sedan and SUV. Considering that the Model S and Model X are Tesla’s frontline vehicles, it only makes sense to ensure that they have all the convenience features of their more affordable siblings, and perhaps even more.