Tesla Keyless Driving: Can You Drive Tesla Without a Key?

Technically speaking, Tesla is a keyless car. These vehicles come with key fobs (small, handheld remote-control devices) instead of the traditional plug-and-rotate keys. But can we get rid of the key fob too? Can Tesla cars drive without the key fob either? EV enthusiasts often come up with such queries.

Yes. Using your smartphone or key cards, you can drive a Tesla without a key. They establish communication with the car and ask you to put the gear into drive mode to start it. Both ways allow you to operate your car without carrying the key.

How Can You Drive Tesla Without a Key?

With Tesla App

You can drive your Tesla without the key using the smartphone application. Just unlock your vehicle using the app, hop into it and follow the instructions on the app and the instrument cluster. Your car will give you a brief time window to start it. 


Let us explain it in steps:

  1. Open the Tesla app and log into it. It will show the unlock button on the main page. Touch it.
  2. Get into your unlocked car. Touch the keys button on the main page of your Tesla app, and the car will give you a 2-minute window to start it without the key.
  3. The car will say that keyless driving is enabled and ask to press certain buttons to start it. Usually, it is about pressing a brake pedal and shifting the car to drive mode. Do it, and done; you are driving your car without the key!

With Tesla Key Card

You can also drive a Tesla with its key card instead of the actual key. Get the keycard provided with the fob and bring it near the door to unlock it. Place it on the drive console and put the car in drive mode to begin driving your car. 

Tesla provides customers the convenience of keeping the keys at home and using the key card instead. Key cards are easy to fit in the wallet. The cards were initially introduced with RFID technology, but now NFC is employed to do the job.

What Are the Advantages of Driving Tesla Without a Key?

1. Convenience

Having a keyless driving system makes interaction with your Tesla hassle-free. Gone are the days when you had to keep the key with you to access your vehicle. If you have forgotten your Tesla’s fob home, you can still drive it off to your destination using your smartphone or key cards.

2. Replacement

If you have lost the key, you can still unlock and drive your car whenever possible. Using your smartphone app, get into your car and delete the lost key from the list of permitter keys. Buy a new one and add it later. You can also do it with the help of your key cards.

3. Cheap

The option to drive a Tesla with a smartphone or a key card is very cheap if you lose your key fob. The Tesla key fob costs around $175. On the other hand, the key card costs only $25. Similarly, you are likely to own a compatible smartphone as well—you would not have to invest in a new one. Based on these figures, if you lose a key fob, you can still drive your Tesla without spending a fair amount of money. Likewise, if you lose a key card, you can get 7 of them for the price of a key fob!


What Are the Cons of Tesla Keyless Driving?

1. Phone Left Inside

If you leave your car unlocked with your phone, you might risk getting your Tesla stolen. Though Tesla the app does offer some protection features, such as pin entry before it enables the keyless driving feature, if someone is abreast of these credentials, she or he will get access to the car features, including driving. 

Unfortunately, Tesla cars do not unlock themselves or refuse to start when you leave your phone inside. They are not smart enough yet. In such situations, you must be careful not to lose your phone.

2. Key Card Hacking

Unfortunately, the technology in Tesla key cards is prone to exploitation by hackers and stealers. Tesla provides a 130 seconds window for the users to put the car in drive mode and begin rolling off after entering it. Hackers can utilize this window to add new key cards without any notification popping up on the screen. These extra key credentials can be used later to steal the car.


A YouTuber has shocked the world with this hacking method. He used the ” Teslakee ” app to get the job done on a 2019 Tesla Model 3. The hacker hides while the owner unlocks her car using the key card. During the 130-second window, he lodges his keys into the authorization list. Later that day, the hacker gets into the car and drives away.

Due to this issue, owners are advised to:

  • Never leave valuable items in the car.
  • Always use the PIN 2 Drive option.
  • Check the list of authorized keys often.

Read: Tesla Rear Window Keeps Opening: Why? How to Fix it? (2022)

Should You Opt for Driving Your Tesla Without a Key?

Yes, as long as you take precautionary measures, you should opt to get the benefit out of the keyless driving system in Tesla. Can you ditch the key fob forever? Yes, technically speaking, you can. But again, ensure that your vehicle’s security is not compromised.

The Tesla key fob is a cool option. It has a unique design and is embedded with reliable features such as passive entry. However, with the advent of smartphone access, carrying a fob everywhere seems to be a hassle. Similarly, we can expect the Tesla keyless driving system’s shortcomings to vanish soon. As other EV brands are also launching their keyless systems, the company will encounter competition. It will have to roll up its sleeves to make the cars safer.

But still, the Tesla key fob is more traditional and a good candidate for being the primary key in several ways. Would you lend your Tesla to your friend with your smartphone? Is not the key fob a better option from this perspective?


The Tesla key fob battery is expected to last for 5 years, at least. But if it dies, the fob still works similarly to the Tesla key card.


Concluding Remarks: Can You Drive Tesla Without a Key?

Affirmative. You can drive a Tesla without a key. Tesla has introduced car entry and driving options using smartphones and key cards. These hassle-free features relieve drivers of the need to carry the fob wherever they go. Technically, these ways to bypass the fob can even eliminate the latter’s use. Though some imperfections exist in Tesla’s keyless driving systems, we can expect them to go away in the future.

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