Does The Tesla Model 3 Have A Cheap Key Card?

In Tesla’s bid to follow through with its promise of selling the Model 3 for $35,000, it seems to be employing some cost-cutting measures.

Not only does the Model 3 appear to have one of the sparsest interiors of any car on the market, including the lack of a gauge cluster, recent video of the third Model 3 production car built indicates it may actually use a hotel-like key card rather than a regular key fob.

A couple of days ago, Tesla’s senior vice president of engineering, Doug Field, was seen entering his Model 3 with what appeared to be a small black case, potentially carrying a key card. Images of Model 3s at the company’s Fremont factory have also shown intriguing white key cards with the Tesla logo placed in a cupholder.

On one hand, creating a key card for a car does make some sense. Rather than carrying a key around, you could simply slide the card into your wallet or purse when not driving. However, if the key card theory proves accurate, we can’t help but think it’s been designed as a way for the automaker to save money.


  • TheBelltower

    Another way to save money, use a cell phone and RFID. With all the effort to slim down phones and all the other junk we have to carry around, it’s absurd that automakers are making keys so large and heavy. BMW keys are approaching the size of a mid-1990’s cell phone. I don’t even carry a house key any more. All of my locks are geofenced with either wifi or bluetooth. A key card would be great since it would lay flat in your pocket, but there is really no point to having a key at all.

  • Adam Motomodeon

    Nothing new in comparision with the Renault Laguna II from 2001. The Tesla’s card is much bigger, so where is the progress? 😉

    • Sébastien

      Maybe it’s waterproof

      • SizzleMizzle32

        As was the Laguna’s. It was designed so that it could survive a washing machine cycle 😉

    • S3XY

      we dont even know if thats the card, great conclusion nerd.


    • Matt

      That’s just the leather pouch. The card is inside

  • Kash

    Lexus did this not too long ago as an option on a lot of their cards. cool feature really.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Lexus made cards? And a lot of cards? What did they look like?

      • Kash

        yeah, they were like a $300 option but they were cool. a little thicker than a credit card but otherwise the same size. In Japan they were also available for Toyota models in black, pink, and white. In America Lexus only got them in black.

        edit: apparently you can still get them. The Mazda RX-8 also offered the card key as an option. not really a new concept of a key apparently. lol. Lexus’ didn’t have any buttons but it worked like any passive entry system, Mazda’s had button on it.

        • S3XY

          There is no automaker that issues key cards for their cars. So Model 3 will once again lead the way and do something fundamentally different.

          • Kash

            You’re not just wrong you’re willfully ignorant because you choose to have your head so far of Elon’s arse you can’t even be bothered to do a quick Google search of something.

            I know Lexus has been offering these keys for years because I had one years ago for the IS F I owned. I ordered it from Lexus corporate when I ordered the car. Call your local dealership, give them the part number and ask about ordering one.

            part number: 89904-53511


            And notice the “genuine accessory” sticker on the packaging.

            Not only has Toyota, Lexus, and Mazda all done this sort of key YEARS before Tesla was even selling the Model S, so has Honda. So no, this isn’t some new revolutionary feature that Tesla invented.

          • Galaxium

            I’ll add that Hyundai and KIA have been offering this feature for the past few years as well for the Genesis, Cadenza, K900.

            Interestingly, it also has space to house the actual key in the card.

  • Auto

    Where have I seen those rims? Oh right! The Volkswagen XL1.

  • Erzhik

    Me thinks it’s just a keycard for building access.

  • dolsh

    Why is it cost cutting? (Answer: click bait!) The cards I’ve used at work aren’t cheap to replace.

    This is just a good idea. Cards are the authentication method for high tech companies now, so this makes sense.
    Slip it into your phone case. Slip it into your wallet. Pocketable without key bulge in your pocket. If it’s RFID or NFC, you can probably train your phone to be the card just like the systems at work.

    Just because we’ve had key fobs for the past ~20 years doesn’t mean that has to continue.

  • Blade t

    What do you expect for 35 grand….

  • S3XY

    Why is the word cheap mentioned as if its a bad thing. Sounds better than a pack of gum in my pocket

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