Tesla Model 3 gets ‘basic’ Thatcham security rating

Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

Thatcham Research has released its first Consumer Security ratings of the year. It’s a poignant topic, given that thefts are up five percent overall, as keyless hacking continues to proliferate. One of the surprise losers in Thatcham’s research is the Tesla Model 3. It achieved only a ‘Basic’ rating.

Thatcham says that the Tesla Model 3, along with models from Hyundai and MG, is “missing some basic security features”. Features like an immobiliser, alarm, double locking system and wheel security are minimum insurer requirements. 

That said, the Tesla is a very different type of car and might not require some of these features given its advanced connectivity capabilities.

Tesla Model 3 Thatcham security criticism

“Thatcham Research has been working closely with Tesla on the security features on the Model 3,” said Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer, Thatcham Research.

“Their ability to enhance security functionality via advanced connectivity across all vehicles is a huge advantage.”

Given the problem of keyless theft and relay attacks at the moment, the Model 3 also enjoys an advantage. Unlike many other cars, with signal-based keyless systems, the Tesla uses NFC (near field communications), which requires a key card to be ‘tapped’ against the car. This means it’s not susceptible to relay attacks.

Tesla Model 3 Thatcham security criticism

There is also Tesla’s Sentry Mode to consider, which has not been mentioned in Thatcham’s summary. This is likely because it’s an opt-in security feature that drivers need to activate.

Nevertheless, alarms, cameras, on-screen warnings – all are valuable security features and deterrents. Albeit, they are optional, and they can be juicy when it comes to battery drain.

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