From dramatic “falcon wing” doors that ascend vertically to handles that lie puzzlingly flush with the car, just getting into a Tesla is supposed to be part of the experience. Now, Tesla owners can even become their own car keys.
In the same way that Apple Pay works, near-field contact, or NFC, uses wirelessly transmitted data to get drivers into their Teslas and on their way with a little tap of their phone, watch, or ring. Or, like subdermal-NFC-chip beta user Brandon Dalaly, by awkwardly rubbing their hands along the driver’s side door.
“The whole idea was that I would have my house key in my left hand and my car key in my right hand,” Dalaly told Teslarati of his two implants. In a video on his YouTube channel, you can see a piercing artist slide the chip with a Tesla app under the skin of Dalaly’s right hand, between his ring and pinkie fingers. In another, you can see the tiny green light flashing under the skin between his thumb and pointer finger of his left hand as he smoothly opens an Ultraloq UL1 smart lock on what appears to be a door inside his house.
The technology, dystopian or convenient depending on whom you ask, isn’t glitchproof. “That’s really sweet, I bought the same lock, hoping to be able to do the same thing, but I can’t even get my implant to light up,” reads the top comment on one of Dalaly’s videos. “I don’t suppose you’d share any tips you’ve come across to get it to read nicely?” (Dalaly said one of the reasons he got the implant was because his Tesla phone app didn’t reliably open his doors. It’s unclear how the skin chip fully resolves this issue.) Tesla doors can also freeze shut in cold weather, much to the disappointment of Tesla drivers in cold climates. One might imagine the feeling of being locked out of your car on a minus-ten-degree morning is even less pleasant when it’s your bare hand you’re futilely rubbing against your Model 3. Maybe Tesla should just try regular handles?