What just happened? Tesla owners around the world found themselves unable to connect to their vehicles from the mobile app on Friday. Initially reported in the U.S. and Canada, reports of the mobile app outage quickly spread across the globe to other owners in the company's European and Asian markets. The outage followed closely behind an upgrade to the company's mobile application, though no link between the two has been found at this time.
The Tesla app provides owners with the ability to start their vehicle, access various vehicle controls, schedule maintenance or assistance, and manage vehicle charging. Any inability to access the app can result in a major inconvenience, potentially leaving the unprepared owner stranded until connectivity is restored. Tesla owners may also carry the vehicle's key card or key fob to ensure they can access the vehicle at any time, regardless of app status.
According to a report by Electrek, the connectivity issue continued to gain traction as Friday afternoon progressed. A Twitter user and EV reporter from Seoul, South Korea, @hohocho, tweeted Tesla and Musk directly regarding the error message received when trying to connect to their vehicle:
After several hundred likes and retweets, Cho received a response directly from Elon Musk, who was personally looking into the matter. The Tesla CEO promptly responded, saying the company had identified the root cause of the issue and was restoring functionality.
Should be coming back online now. Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic.--- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2021
Apologies, we will take measures to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Besides carrying the vehicle's key card/key fob, Tesla owners can plan ahead for this type of app unavailability by taking steps to ensure their phone can still be used as a key via the car's Bluetooth connection.
The outage event is not the first time Tesla owners have experienced an issue affecting access to their app and vehicles. In September 2020, the company's internal and external servers were brought down for several hours, preventing everything from order fulfillment to vehicle access.