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Published on June 20, 2024
Arizona Tesla Owners Unaware of Manual Door Release, Highlighting Gap in EV Safety KnowledgeSource: Wikipedia/Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With more than 84,000 electric vehicles cruising the roads of Arizona, the state is now ranked 9th in the nation for EV registrations, and a significant number of these are Teslas. Yet, despite the growing popularity of electric cars, a surprising number of Tesla owners seem unaware of an essential feature in their vehicles: the manual door release—a safeguard for when battery life gives out. FOX 10 Phoenix reported on this knowledge gap, highlighting a serious lapse in basic EV education among motorists.

"I have no idea," John Flanigan admitted to FOX 10 Phoenix, conveying the potential dilemma of getting stuck if his Tesla were to run out of power. Meanwhile, Tesla owner Sherry Caforio pondered, "I think I would have to call a friend. Yeah, I'd phone a friend and have them come get me. I've never even thought about having it towed in," as she said in a scenario where crystallizing her predicament isn't calling a tow truck, but reaching out to a friend.

The matter of being locked out of a Tesla became an expensive lesson for Mar Rosas. "It was in sleep mode and I had to break a window because it wouldn't connect to the Wi-Fi. Lots of drama," Rosas recounted in an interview with FOX 10 Phoenix, which led to a window replacement costing $500 and the need for an upgraded system. Her ordeal underscores a critical point: "You have to be knowledgeable of your own our vehicle. You're the owner of it, you know," she stressed.

Amidst the technological marvel that is the modern EV lies a hidden feature designed to be the last line of defense when technology fails, unknown to many of its users. Each Tesla is equipped with a concealed lever located on the door panel, allowing occupants to manually open the doors if the vehicle's battery is ever depleted. "On both the driver and passenger sides, there is a hidden lever right on the door panel that drivers can lift if their Tesla’s battery ever runs out," according to a useful tidbit from La Cheese Week. It’s crucial to note here that online Tesla Owner’s Manuals provide detailed information on using your manual door release, tailored to each specific model.