App outage locks hundreds of Tesla drivers out of cars

Dozen of motorists report error as company’s CEO, Elon Musk, apologises on Twitter.

Elon Musk said Tesla was taking measures to ensure the problem does not happen again. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

“Should be coming back online now. Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic,” Musk said.

The outage was first reported by specialist electric vehicle website Electrek, which started receiving reports from Tesla owners in the US and Canada, then from Europe and Asia.

About 500 users reported they faced an error at about 4.40pm ET (9.40pm GMT), according to outage monitoring website Downdetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from a series of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform. There were just over 60 reports by about 9.20pm ET.

“Apologies, we will take measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Musk said on Twitter.

According to Electek, Tesla’s systems rarely have outages, though the website said that, in September 2020, the company had experienced a complete outage of both its customer-facing servers and internal system for several hours.

Stuart Masson, editor of the Car Expert website, told the BBC that Tesla drivers were not entirely reliant on the app. “There will be a secondary mechanism to get in or out of the car beyond the app, the difficulty will come for drivers if they are not carrying it,” he said.

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