The discovery was made by Tesla hacker @greentheonly, who found a new reference to a Model 3 “service key” on the firmware for Model S/X vehicles. According to the hacker, it was added in the recent 2020.48 series of software updates.
here's the info btw. pic.twitter.com/XPjqsPFicH
— green (@greentheonly) December 22, 2020
Green also mentioned that the service key is hardcoded into the firmware. If he tries to delete the key, the source code reverts back to the original code.
CEO Elon Musk has said this feature would come to the Model S/X as far back as 2018. At that time Musk said that thanks to over-the-air (OTA) software updates, the feature would even be available for first production units.
All X & S will soon work with no key if your phone pairs w Bluetooth, signal strength is high & you enable feature
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2018
This will work on entire S & X fleet, even first production units. Cool thing about software upgrades is that we can keep making your car better long after you bought it.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2018
Despite Musk’s previous comments, the new service key is another hint at a possible Model S/X refresh. Rumours of an update to these cars are nothing new but several clues recently, including an 18-day shutdown of the production lines, are indicating this time it might actually be true.