In addition to getting rid of much of the traditional dashboard instrumentation for the Model 3, Tesla has also ditched the key.
And not just the old-school physical key, which has been replaced by fobs by most automakers. Tesla has literally dispensed with pretty much anything an owner might need to carry around.
So no key, and instead owners will use a smartphone app that unlocks the Model 3.
Backup is a credit-card-sized rectangle of plastic. If the smartphone app doesn't work, or you lose your phone or don't have it charged, you can keep the card in your pocket, purse, wallet — whatever — and swipe it near the front door handle to get in and fire up the Model 3's electric drivetrain.
The card can also be given to valets for parking.
That's the Model 3 — getting rid of all kinds of stuff that cars have needed for decades.
It would be understandable if some potential owners are anxious over the loss of the good old-fashioned key, but beat this in mind: losing a modern key fob isn't like losing a traditional key, which could be duplicated. Fobs contain small chips and electronics that bond them too your vehicle. Misplace one, and you could be looking at hundreds of dollars and a trip to the dealer for a replacement.
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