Elon Musk tweeted after the server outage, stating that Tesla addressed the issue and the vehicles will now be back to normal. Further added that the reason behind this outage might have been because they “increased verbosity of network traffic.” Tesla owners around the world experienced this outage, where they were not able to connect the car to their phone or, also not able to start the car in some cases.
The reports mention an unexplained “500 Internal Server Error,” which is, unfortunately, a pretty generic error. The existence of the outage appears to be corroborated by the website DownDetector.com, with 74% of reports of outages referring to the app. Tesla boss Elon Musk responded to one user that he was checking on the issue, but no resolution has been announced as of the time of publication. It’s not entirely clear why a server error would prevent cars from starting, though some Roadshow staffers posit that it could have something to do with the Tesla app pinging the company’s servers if the owner is using their phone as a key, which many Tesla owners do.
We’ve got a shiny blue long-term test Tesla Model Y, and we’re currently not experiencing any issues with being able to start or drive the car, so it’s unclear what the actual issue may be. We’d typically ask a car company for comment on a story like this, but Tesla doesn’t operate a public relations department to field such requests.
BBC talked with a professor with expertise in the automotive industry. Professor David Bailey from the Birmingham Business School has written extensively on the automotive industry. He also drives a Tesla and experienced the outage on Friday.
“To some extent, Tesla is a bit of a victim of its own success,” he told the BBC. “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 highest tech models in the market, is to rely on the technology.”