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Teslas with dead batteries are reportedly trapping passengers inside EVs: Find out where the manual door releases are

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Tesla’s electric vehicles (EVs) have been reported to lock passengers inside when the battery dies. This alarming issue is linked to a smaller, separate 12V battery that controls the internal electronics of the vehicle. Even with a fully charged main battery, the car can trap people inside if this secondary battery drains or malfunctions.


Firefighters recently had to resort to breaking a Tesla’s window with an axe to free a 20-month-old child locked inside after one of the vehicle’s batteries died. This occurence, as reported by Arizona CBS, shocked the Scottsdale grandmother who loaded her granddaughter into the car for a planned trip to the zoo. Despite Tesla’s claim that owners are supposed to receive three alert warnings before power is completely drained, the episode was said to have unfolded without warning. 


In another incident last year, a man said he was stuck inside his car when he learned his Tesla Model Y's 12V battery died on a fateful day with soaring temperatures above 100-degrees Fahrenheit. The man told ABC15 that he wasn't able to open the doors or windows, even though his main lithium-ion battery had plenty of range left. He later found out there was another lower-voltage battery that powers the computer display and openings.


Also in 2023, a similar occurrence led a mother and her teenage daughter unable to exit their Tesla rental car from Hertz. In 2022, another Tesla Model Y driver said he was trapped inside his vehicle when it suddenly powered down during a drive


Tesla equips its vehicles with an emergency release mechanism to open the front and rear doors in case of a battery failure or a door malfunction. Tesla, however, specified on its website that the door manual releases are designed to be used only in situations when the EV has no power. When the car has power, passengers are advised to use the button located at the top of the interior door handle. The automaker further warned that the manual release must not be used while the vehicle is moving. 



Source: Tesla


However, the limited awareness about this safety feature can be attributed to the fact that many drivers do not thoroughly read through their vehicle manuals.


How can Tesla further ensure the safety of its passengers while maintaining the convenience of its electric vehicles? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.




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Top images: Swetlana Kurochkin, Sylvain Robin | Dreamstime.com 

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Guest Jerrold
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