When asked on Twitter whether new Teslas might feature a "dog mode" that keeps pets left in cars safe, founder Elon Musk simply answered, "yes."
What Twitter user Josh Atchley specifically wanted to know was if the Tesla Model 3 might automatically play music, turn the air conditioning on, and display ‘I’m fine. My owner will be right back’ on a screen. Apparently, Musk had already considered the idea or simply thought it was a great innovation that could be easily integrated into the electric cars.
Teslas, as well as other electric vehicles, usually come with a system that regulates the car’s internal temperature. Cases of dogs dying in hot cars have made headlines, however, electric vehicles are capable of idling and remaining cool with little effort. The issue, though, is that pedestrians may not know that and attempt to free dogs from locked cars, which can end up being quite costly if damage is done.
In July, Musk was asked if the Model 3 might include air vents that prevent the vehicle’s front seats from getting too hot when the car is left out in the sun. Again, he answered with a simple, “OK.” Given that Teslas have panoramic glass roofs, the cars, especially in warmer climates, can get quite hot. The Model 3 will introduce automatic air vents that cool the car while the owner is away. The feature is part of the EV’s new safety features.
Recently, Tesla presented Cabin Overheat Protection in the Model 3, which according to the updated manual “can reduce the temperature of the cabin in extremely hot ambient conditions for a period of up to twelve hours after you exit the vehicle.” The owner has the option of selecting A/C or Fan Only. The air conditioning or fan runs when the cabin temperature exceeds 105° F, therefore, the possibility of keeping the car cool for pets simply involves selecting the A/C option.
The system is crucial to keep pets safe. According to PETA, on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise to 100 degrees in minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the temperature can exceed 105 degrees in less than 10 minutes. “Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting,” the organization adds. Also, it is not just pets who are in danger in hot cars. In 2017, 42 children died after being left or locked in hot cars.