Dead Tesla TRAPS toddler in hot car, raises concerns about electric doors
06/25/2024 // Ava Grace // Views

A Tesla electric vehicle died in Arizona while a toddler was inside it, trapping the child in the hot car.

Renee Sanchez safely strapped her 20-month-old granddaughter in her car seat and closed the door. But the EV died before she could get in herself, trapping her granddaughter inside the car with no way to get out.

Tesla and other EV makers that offer electronic doors have manual releases owners can pull to open. But they are useless if the passenger inside is a toddler or an infant.

Understanding the severity of the situation, Sanchez quickly called 911. When the fire department arrived, they told her that they couldn't get into the car and asked permission for them to break the window. The grandmother gave the go-signal to break the car window, and first responders managed to retrieve the child from the stalled EV.

According to Carscoops, "the incident highlights the danger to those who own vehicles with electronic door releases." It added that electronic doors are part of the wave of advancements in automotive technology, but "pose a significant danger to young ones" when the EV battery dies. (Related: Tesla in Full Self-Driving mode SLAMS into parked police car.)

The outlet also noted that several owners are unaware of the manual releases that come on vehicles with electronic door latches. They often end up panicking before realizing that all they had to do was pull a manual lever inches from their own hand. While Carscoops acknowledged that Tesla does have a procedure to get into a stalled car with a trapped passenger, "it requires several steps and a battery charger."

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Tesla driver ends up stuck in her car after battery dies

Sanchez isn't the first to experience this predicament. One woman has issued a warning to her fellow Tesla drivers after getting trapped in her electric car.

The woman named Diane has owned her Tesla Model Y for about three years without serious complaints, calling it a "fun car to drive." But her positive perception of the vehicle changed after one incident.

"It was fully charged. I unplugged the car, went in, shut the door and everything just shut down. I couldn't open the windows, I couldn't unlock the doors. I was trapped," Diane recounted. She wanted to check the owner's manual to find out what was going on, but the glove box where the manual was stored wouldn't open.

Dianne called a friend for assistance, but even this friend couldn't figure it out. She went on the Tesla app and requested for emergency roadside assistance, where she was informed of the secret latch to open the door. Diane was finally able to get out after locating the latch.

"It's scary, it's very unnerving to say the least," she said. According to Diane, she had no idea it was there – a sentiment shared by other Tesla owners she talked to. She would like to see the company founded by Elon Musk do more to educate drivers about this important safety feature.

But Sanchez and Dianne aren't the only ones, as numerous reports have been made of Tesla drivers being trapped in their cars when the battery dies and all the electronics shut down.

Like most EVs, Teslas have a main battery that powers the car and a smaller battery that powers the onboard electronics – including the doors and the power windows. When that battery dies, the doors and windows won’t work.

"There is no warning when it's low or about to go out," Diane said. "So it just shuts down."

Head over to for similar stories.

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Tesla in Full Self-Driving mode failed to detect a moving train, nearly causing deadly collision.

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