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Woman says she was trapped in Tesla in 115-degree heat during upgrade


Brianna Janel said she regained control of her vehicle after 40 minutes.

Tesla tries to give its drivers all kinds of signs and clues on how to use the technology in the futuristic vehicles, but humans often tend to ignore the instructions and see what happens. The divide between Tesla’s user guides and how drivers use Teslas is so notable that federal investigators cited it as a “critical safety gap” when launching a recent investigation into a Tesla recall.

Which brings us to a California woman who said she found herself trapped inside her Tesla in a Chick-Fil-A parking lot while installing a vehicle upgrade.

The TikToker, who goes by the name Brianna Janel on her page, said she installed the 2024.3.10 software update, which was estimated to take 24 minutes, but ended up taking around 40. Fearing damage to the car, she decided not to use the manual output and wait. carry out the process.

“It’s 103 degrees inside my car, so I’m a little scared. I hope I don’t run out of air,” Janel said in the initial video posted last month. “I can’t open the doors or windows otherwise I might damage my car, so I’m stuck here roasting like a fucking sweat-soaked chicken.”

A message displayed on the car’s screen said driving and charging were disabled until the update was complete.

She advised viewers not to make the same mistake she did.

“It’s been 30 minutes since I placed my Chick-fil-A order. I’m literally sitting outside,” she said.

TikToker regained control of the car and turned on the air conditioning

In a follow-up video, he notified his followers that he safely regained access to his vehicle and turned on the air conditioning.

The temperature inside had reached 115 degrees, he added.

“I literally made it out of my car. Look, I’m sweating,” Janel said. “Air conditioning has never felt so good and I have never felt better. I feel like I just took a bath.”

In the video’s caption, he said users commented that he could have gotten out of the vehicle sooner but that he was “scared of messing up my car.”

Tesla among many with electronic interior door opening

Tesla is not the only car manufacturer that has electronic interior door opening. Other vehicles include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Chevrolet Corvette, Audi E-Tron, Lexus NX and Lucid Air, according to Consumer Reports.

In fact, according to Consumer Reports, the driver of a 2006 Cadillac XLR was trapped in his car for 14 hours after the battery died. Although the electronic door would not operate without power, it could have been freed if he had known how to use the manual door opener.

Tesla’s manual release is seamlessly integrated into the front arm of the car; if you don’t know it’s there, you could miss it entirely.

It’s important to note that many cars that use electronic door locks (which are more like a button to push than a door handle to pull) don’t actually have manual locks on the rear seats. Tesla notes that some Model Ys do not.

The driver did not feel in danger

Janel, who has owned a Tesla vehicle for six years, said she never tried to upgrade her car while it was inside.

Janel tried to turn on the air conditioning through the mobile app but said there was no cold air coming out. She read somewhere online that doing it while the power is out could damage the car. If she really felt in danger, she would have gotten out safely, she said.

Despite the experience, he clarified that he has no resentments towards his trip.

“I’ll continue to have it for years and years,” he said. “Don’t update it when you’re sitting in the car. Keep updating it at 2 am like you used to.”

Tesla recommends lifting the manual door opener located in front of the window switches “in the unlikely situation where Model Y is without power.”

Normal door operation lowers the window slightly each time the door is opened (and raises it when closed) to prevent damage to the door frame. Manual unlocking, when opening the car, does not lower the window. It’s unclear if the car’s windows would roll down in this particular circumstance, while the car technically has power and is undergoing a software update.

USA TODAY has contacted Tesla for comment on claims that opening the vehicle without power could cause damage.