What Tesla should have done better regarding a break-in

Not long after I got it, I had a burglary of my Tesla. This led to an upcoming article on what cars of the future might do about break-ins As a background to that article, I am adding some details about what might have happened better.

The fault of the break-in lies with the burglar of course. But there is a reported raft of such break-ins going on, particularly on Teslas, which means Tesla customers hope their car company will do more to protect them.

The burglar smashed in my passenger side rear "quarter window." That's the triangular window at the back. They smashed it in order to reach in and pull down the rear seat, and get a look in the trunk. According to only reports, if they see something in the trunk, they then break the other window, and enter to steal it. This didn't happen to me, fortunately.

However, upon calling Tesla for a repair, I was informed there are so many break-ins that it could take 4-6 weeks to get a replacement. I started scrambling to see what to do as a temporary measure (and slightly damaged some fabric trying to crazy-glue on a fiberglass plate -- don't ask -- but then found a private installer who had some inventory of the windows -- over $500 but you need a window.

So what could Tesla have done better?

  • The ability to access the trunk from the back seat (indeed by reaching in the window) is a flaw which encourages these break-ins. Aftermarket suppliers are now making 3D printed parts to block that latch, and I have bought one. Tesla should make one, or just make it so you can only push down the back seats when the Trunk is already open.
  • It is commonly reported that the Tesla alarm system does not trigger on this sort of break-in, but new plans are the subject of my article on the future.
  • Telsa could have better inventory of windows, and better planning. They also could have pointed me to the 3rd party suppliers.
  • Tesla could also make a replacement plexiglass window and offer a temporary replacement using the existing frame until the window part arives.
  • It would be nice if you didn't have to replace the whole window and trim, and could just swap out the glass like on many other windows.
  • In addition to the complex alarm solutions I have under discussion, the alarm could go off if the seats are lowered while the car is locked and alarmed.
  • Without too much cost, Tesla could have made the "lower trunk" (when you lift up the floor of the regular trunk) secured and lockable, to send the message that breaking into Teslas is usually a waste of time.
  • On the plus side, Tesla's alarm (it says) also sounds on your phone, which is in many ways more useful than the mostly ignored in-car alarms out there.
  • Telsa needs to give all this special attention as there is evidence of people deliberately targeting Teslas, both because of the rear seat access flaw, and anti-Tesla sentiment. At least on the alarm front, they are.
  • In areas where there are so many break-ins that Tesla can't make windows fast enough, it should invest in some private security to track down the burglars and get the message out -- this is the wrong model of car to try to rob from.

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