This 'Always Sunny In Philadelphia' Star Angrily Denounces Tesla

One of the stars of FX's hit show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has vowed never to buy a Tesla again after being "sent into a rage" by one of its convenience features. The star's misery was compounded by the company's alleged inability to help him solve the issues, which resulted in his EV being stuck in a garage for at least 24 hours.

Tesla has added a lot of cutting-edge, innovative tech to its cars over the years. This has resulted in performance boosts that put vehicles like the Model S Plaid at the high end of the EV market and convenience features that make both driving and day-to-day life easier for its customers.

One relatively new and for the most part convenient feature is keyless entry, which first appeared on Teslas in 2017. You can either press a button on a fob to unlock the car or if you've set up a "phone key" or have a passive fob, your car will unlock automatically whenever you go near it. This is really convenient in most cases, as anyone who has had to reach for keys while their hands are full will understand. But it does have its issues, as Always Sunny's Glenn Howerton recently found out.

What happened with Howerton

Glenn Howerton, who plays bar owner, philanderer, and possible serial killer, Dennis Reynolds, on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," recently revealed an issue he had with his Tesla's keyless entry system. While speaking on the Always Sunny Podcast, the actor said the incident and subsequent response from Tesla affected him to such an extent that the EV manufacturer has "lost a customer."

Howerton says his car's key fob broke, and he was unable to unlock it with the app as his phone could not connect to Wi-Fi in the part of the LA garage his Tesla was parked in. He called Tesla's customer service department to try and resolve the issue, but the response was less than satisfactory. Howerton says he spent eight hours in the garage trying to get into his vehicle. Some of this time was spent trying to get through to Tesla's customer service representatives, a process the "A.P. Bio" star described as "very difficult." Howerton claims he was repeatedly bounced between two departments while trying to solve the problem, before being told there was "nothing [the customer service representatives] could do" to help Howerton resolve the problem.

The issue was resolved after around 24 hours when a tow truck that could fit into the garage and actually move the Tesla without destroying it was called in. Howerton had worked out he could unlock the car by holding the key fob against a particular part of his Tesla, but the vehicle still wouldn't start. There's also a good chance the issue wouldn't have arisen with a newer model, as the app can be used to unlock those even if the phone the app is installed on isn't connected to the internet (via Business Insider).

There's a bigger issue with Tesla's keyless entry system

While what happened to Howerton was certainly inconvenient, there is a bigger issue with Tesla's keyless entry system. The issue is also the opposite of the problem the "Always Sunny" star was faced with — Keyless entry can actually make a Tesla too easy to get into. With the right know-how and a $20 "device" a thief can get into your Tesla, start it, and drive away with your expensive EV in seconds. The exploit was performed by Sultan Qasim Khan and formed the basis of a video on Donut Media's Youtube channel. Using a method known as a "relay attack," Khan says he was able to pick up a signal from the owner's iPhone 23 feet away and relay that to a device 10 feet from the target Tesla, which his team was able to unlock and start. Khan claims the problem can only be solved with changes to the keyless entry system itself and the hardware installed within the vehicle. Tesla recognized that relay attacks are a "known limitation" of keyless entry systems, but although Khan said he flagged the issue with Tesla, the company does not see the attacks as "a significant risk."

Making a keyless entry system immune to relay attacks involves switching from the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) system, like the one Tesla currently uses, to an ultra-wideband (UWB) system that isn't vulnerable to relay attacks. But UWB is currently more expensive to install than BLE and NFC systems, which may be why manufacturers are hesitating.

Other celebrities have had problems with their Teslas

Teslas are popular cars among celebrities, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Shakira all owning one or more of the electric vehicles. However, one example of Hollywood royalty that got on board early wasn't too pleased with his Musk-mobile's performance. A-lister George Clooney cited how often his Tesla would break down and described his frustration with the now-discontinued Roadster he had.

Clooney said: "I had a Tesla, I was one of the first cats with a Tesla. I think I was, like, number five on the list. But I'm telling you, I've been on the side of the road a while in that thing, and I said to them, 'Look, guys, why am I always stuck on the side of the f****** road? Make it work, one way or another.'" (via Reuters).

The "From Dusk Till Dawn" actor eventually sold the troublesome Tesla for just under $100,000 in 2012. According to reports at the time, the money from the sale went to charity. There's also a good chance the experience put Clooney off EVs for life, as he doesn't seem to have acquired a new one in the ten years since he auctioned off his Tesla Roadster. Despite being frustrated by both his Tesla's issues and the company's inability to help with them, Glenn Howerton hasn't sold his Tesla and is still driving it. Though at the time of writing he has yet to get the key fob repaired and says he is currently relying on both the mobile app and parking spots with available Wi-Fi.