Dead Tesla Battery Locks in Toddler in Arizona Heat

tesla dead battery, tesla, dead battery, issues, design flaws

A toddler was locked in the backseat of a Tesla Model Y in the Arizona summer heat due to a dead battery.

  • Firefighters managed to save the 20-month-old by breaking the window.
  • There is a safety measure in case you lock yourself in.
  • But there is no solution other than brute force if you lock yourself out.

A dead Tesla battery locked a toddler inside the vehicle in the Arizona heat, shocking people with a very dangerous design flaw in the Tesla Model Y.

Tesla and anything connected to Elon Musk are often unfairly criticized, whether it’s the social media platform X, the Boring Company, or SpaceX. If it is associated with Elon Musk, people love to nitpick it. A lot of the issues with the Cybertruck, for example, were more due to user error than to the design, not that the design was a big hit with the public either way.

But now and then, one of these companies hits the news for one scandal or another. And last week, it was a parent’s worst nightmare.

In the Arizona Heat

A Scottsdale grandmother, Renee Sanchez, was going to the Phoenix Zoo with her granddaughter. She loaded her grandkid into the backseat of her Tesla Model Y and buckled her in her car seat. She then went to get into the driver’s seat after shutting the child’s door, only to find that the doors wouldn’t open. The Tesla battery was dead, and there she was, locked out of her car with the unassuming toddler locked inside in the Arizona heat. It was a matter of seconds.

Sanchez told On Your Side that she “could not get in. [Her] phone key wouldn’t open it. [Her] card key wouldn’t open it.” When all else failed, the grandma had to get the police and fire departments involved. The firefighters had to break the windows with an axe to save the 20-month-old.

For context, while not the hottest state in the U.S.—that honor goes to Florida—Arizona holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in an official weather station in the United States. On June 29th, 1994, it recorded a scorching 53.3 °C. And last week, the temperature during the day often exceeded 37 °C, reaching a worrying 45 °C at one point.

A child that young does not handle the elements well. This situation could have ended much worse than just a broken window, all because of a dead Tesla battery.

An Oversight of Epic Magnitude

Many other people found themselves locked inside the Tesla Model Y with a dead battery. The difference between the two situations is that there is a safety mechanism if you’re stuck inside the car with no power. There’s a latch that opens the front door and a cable for the backdoor. So, the designers did not completely overlook the What-ifs. It also turns out a lot of Model Y owners did not know about this safety feature. It’s baffling how people operate two tons of heavy machinery without figuring out what every button and knob does. That’s a user error.

But what happened with Grandma Sanchez and her darling granddaughter is a very dangerous design flaw. Owners should be able to open the car doors manually, dead Tesla battery or not.

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing that we know about humans, it is that they don’t like reading user manuals and instructions. As a result, companies end up having to answer complaints that were already disclosed in the pamphlet. But sometimes, the company drops the ball on the design itself, just like Tesla did by not having some kind of safety measure in case a delicate being is trapped inside a car because of a dead battery.

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