From Using Children As Props to Embedding Car Keys In a Hand, Tesla Owners Are a Passionate Bunch

Tesla owners are showing their love for their cars in interesting ways.

learn more about Gabrielle Bienasz

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Tesla owners are acting up.

One man, a Michigan resident named Brandon Dalaly, implanted his Tesla key into his hand, CNN reported. Another man, Tad Park, an entrepreneur based in San Francisco, drove his Tesla into a kid to prove its automatic braking system worked.

It's no secret that fans of Elon Musk's electric car company are a passionate bunch. In 2019, Mashable wrote that the company inspires "devoted stans." Tesla also topped Consumer Reports' 2022 car satisfaction survey, and it wasn't the first time.

One Tesla owner — he has the Models 3, Y, and S – told Entrepreneur there are several reasons why he loves his cars so much.

Driving a Tesla versus another type of car, is "the difference between a model T and a horse and buggy," said Greg Tramontin, president and CEO of GoAuto Insurance.

"It's a whole [other] level of driving and technology," he said, noting that he watches Netflix while charging his cars and rarely has to take them in for maintenance or repairs.

But others take this passion to extremes. This week, one Tesla owner showed CNN how he embedded a chip that unlocks his Tesla into his hand so he could never lose his keys.

"I'm a huge tech nerd," Dalaly told the outlet. He also said he hopes to put his credit card in his hand — and already has another chip that unlocks the door to his house.

Then, there's the matter of a man driving a Tesla (slowly) into a child. Or, as Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi put it, "Why are Tesla fanatics putting their children in the path of moving cars?"

The answer is that there is an ongoing online debate about whether Tesla's "Full Self-Driving" technology actually stops if a child is in front of it. (FSD is still in beta mode and has a host of testers. It also is, colloquially speaking, more like assisted driving. The name is a bit of a misnomer.)

The controversy started when a tester posted a video they claimed shows that Tesla's FSD system does not stop for child-like decoys.

Tesla later changed its website to say it is meant to reduce the possibility of collision, not entirely stop one. Electrek, a transportation-focused outlet, said it discovered in an investigation FSD was not engaged during the test.

Tesla fans saw it as a challenge. One shareholder, the CEO of Volt Equity, Tad Park, posted a video of his Tesla approaching a child at 8 mph. The car stopped, according to CNBC.

"We made sure the car recognized the kid. Even if the system completely failed, I was prepared to take over at any time. I had a sense of when I was going to need to brake if the car was not sufficiently slowing down," he told the outlet.

YouTube removed the video last week, the outlet noted.

Tramontin said he would never consider putting his Tesla key in his hand. ("That's crazy," he said.) But he does love the way it drives.

"It is the most well thought out vehicle I have ever seen. Elon Musk and his engineers did a bang-up job," he said.

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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