Elon Musk is Chief Executive Officer of both Tesla and Twitter. Since Tesla has no marketing or PR department, its CEO has long used the social media platform to respond to criticism, make company announcements, and, well, publish a whole lot of other nonsense. Perhaps the best, most useful intersection of Musk’s two companies, though, is when Tesla owners with good ideas are heard by the CEO himself, who responds and promises action. This happened a few days ago when Twitter user @Tesladiva99 reached out to @elonmusk with a request.
Her request was fairly simple. She had an experience where she left her teen and another little one in the car and went into a store. When she returned, the teen told her the car had turned off and they had to turn it back on again by touching the screen. She wondered, though, what would’ve happened if a child were left in the car who couldn’t or wouldn’t realize to touch the screen, and so asked, “Can y’all do something to detect people in the car and keep temp on?”
Musk published an interesting response, revealing that all Teslas keep their interior temperatures in a safe range, even when they’re “off,” in order to protect infants and pets. But then he agreed it would be more convenient to keep the car “on” automatically if the interior camera detects occupants, because they’ll probably want to use the entertainment and comfort features of the Tesla. And then he made his decree: “We will make that change.”
Many Twitter commenters were less nice with their replies to @Tesladiva99. Scanning the thread reveals many questioning her fitness as a parent and others questioning her intelligence for not using the car’s Camp Mode or Dog Mode.
According to the National Safety Council, 33 children died in 2022 due to heatstroke in cars. That was a good year; the annual average is 38 deaths. That statistic doesn’t tell us how many times parents have left their kids in the car while running an errand without disastrous consequences. We’re betting it’s a lot, and this Twitter parent is simply suggesting an automatic solution rather than one requiring a mode be activated before leaving the vehicle.
Unfortunately, not every Tesla will be eligible for this safety upgrade when it becomes available, presumably via an over-the-air update. Early Tesla Model S and Model X models do not have an interior camera. But Musk’s revelation that all Teslas maintain a safe interior temperature even when they’re off means, at the very least, children should be safe from heatstroke deaths, even if they’re bored without video games and YouTube while waiting for a parent.