Why is it so hard to steal a Tesla?

PARIS: In addition to breaking sales records all over the world, the American automaker also stands out as the manufacturer with the fewest stolen vehicles. Tesla’s latest models, the Model 3 and Model Y, are claimed to be virtually theft-proof. Here's why.

The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are the two cars with the fewest theft claims in the USA, according to the latest statistics from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). These two models come ahead of the Volvo XC90, XC40 and XC60, as well as the GMC Acadia and Lexus UX 250. And there's no denying that Tesla has thought of many ways to keep thieves at bay.

When it comes to stealing a car, there are two main challenges: getting into the vehicle and then getting it to start. And Tesla has developed security solutions for every conceivable scenario.

First of all, Tesla offers its customers a Sentry Mode, designed to monitor any suspicious activity in the vicinity of their car. The car's exterior cameras and sensors remain on alert, recording any unexpected activity.

Should this occur, the car owner is immediately alerted via their smartphone, bearing in mind that the car's alarm may also go off and the headlights flash. In all cases, images of the event are recorded on a USB stick plugged into the car.

Clearly, this type of system has everything it takes to dissuade a thief from breaking in, by breaking a window or forcing open a door, for example. What's more, it's also possible to communicate and scare off thieves remotely via the car's loudspeaker.

In all cases, an alarm sounds automatically if a locked door is opened without a valid key. It can be stopped by the key fob, key card or the Tesla app.

Finally, intrusion sensors can be added to the cabin as an option. It's also worth noting that every Tesla produced since 2021 is equipped with an interior camera, which can record everything that happens inside the car. This means that any thief can be filmed without their knowledge, and subsequently identified by the police.

In fact, to enter a Tesla normally, you need a key on your smartphone (which communicates via Bluetooth with the car). This is the solution favoured by most of the brand's customers. Others, however, can choose the contactless keycard option.

If, despite everything, the thief manages to gain access to the vehicle, they still have to be able to start it. Here again, Tesla offers additional security with a four-digit 'PIN to Drive' code, making it necessary to enter the code before starting the car. Under these conditions, even experienced thieves couldn't hope to steal this kind of car successfully.

If someone does manage to take control of a Tesla that doesn't belong to them, the vehicle can be located by its owner and tracked from its dedicated mobile app. In fact, a stolen Tesla is easy for law enforcement agencies to locate, since it can be tracked.

However, once the car has left its country of origin – which is the case in many theft cases – it becomes difficult to involve local authorities and hopes of retrieving it can be slim.

Tesla's security systems are not infallible, however, and the automaker has already challenged (and paid, in some cases) hackers to identify the slightest security flaw in its systems, which were subsequently fixed. Apart from a few computer geniuses, not many thieves would be able to get into the first Tesla they see. Note that the Model S and Model X are not as secure.

Tesla may be at the forefront of security, but it's not the only carmaker combating theft by digitizing the traditional key. The Digital Key protocol has now been adopted by a majority of automakers, from BMW and Volkswagen to Hyundai, Mercedes and Renault on their latest models.

Thanks to contactless technology (NFC), it enables you to unlock your car from your smartphone or smartwatch. What's more, this system can usually be shared with several people – family members, colleagues or friends.
Autos Tesla