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Tesla boss Musk apologises after hundreds of drivers are left stranded by app outage

  • Tesla smartphone app crashed on Friday, leaving hundreds of motorists locked out of their cars
  • Users were greeted with a ‘500 server error’ message
  • Boss Elon Musk has now apologised for the outage

Time 2 weeks ago

Tesla boss Elon Musk has been forced to apologise after hundreds of motorists were locked out of their electric cars when the firm’s smartphone app crashed over the weekend.

The app suffered a server outage on Friday leaving a number of drivers unable to get in or out of their cars.

Users who tried to access the app were instead greeted by a ‘500 server error’ message.


Musk, who recently sold three per cent of his Tesla shares only to buy £2.1m of them back again, has now said sorry for the fault.

Writing on Twitter, the multi billionaire entrepreneur pledged to make sure a repeat incident never occurred.

He said: ‘Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic.

‘Apologies, we will take measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.’


Around 500 users reported facing the error message at about 9.40pm on Friday evening.

There then a further 60 reports over the next five hours, according to the outage tracking site DownDetector

The app can be used by Tesla owners to unlock and start their vehicles – although there are a number of secondary measures to start vehicles in the case of faults.

EV experts say most would have been able to continue using their cars, although many would have been left stranded.

Stuart Masson, editor of The Car Expert website, told the BBC: ‘There will be a secondary mechanism to get in or out of the car beyond the app, the difficulty will come for drivers if they are not carrying it.

‘Technology makes things convenient, but relies on a server working 100 per cent of the time.

‘It’s the same as leaving the house without my credit cards, expecting to pay for things with my smartphone.

‘If we are reliant on one mechanism all the time, we can be caught out.’

Professor David Bailey, an automotive expert from the Birmingham Business School, added: ‘To some extent, Tesla is a bit of a victim of its own success.

‘It encourages its customers to use the cutting edge technology it creates and sometimes that will go wrong.

‘Although of course you can use a key to open the car too, the natural instinct of many Tesla drivers, who are buying one of the most high tech models in the market, is to rely on the technology.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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