First, I just want to go on record stating that I love front trunks, or, as Tesla likes to call them, ‘frunks.’ Despite my love for frunks, I have to admit that a frunk that’s not really able to be securely locked isn’t that useful a trunk. And it appears that all Tesla frunks from 2014 on are not secure, so be careful what you put in there.
This came to our attention from this video, but the truth is that this information has been available, on the public internet, for quite a while. The video shows the trunk-opening process on a Model X:
What Salomondrin, the man clad in all gray, is doing is not some mistake; Tesla puts that trunk release there specifically for first responders in case of an emergency, so they can get access to the electrical lines inside the trunk that may need to be cut.
The whole process is described right on their website. Here’s the illustration showing the little pull-tabs for the Model X:
... and here’s where you can do it on a Model S, through the front wheel wells:
These releases exist for a good reason, to help emergency responders put out your burning car or rescue your puppies from the frunk or whatever. What’s less good is the fact that these releases effectively make the frunks useless as a safe place to store valuable stuff.
Prior to 2014, these releases were located under the glove box inside, so you’d have to first break into the car to get to the trunk release to plunder the booty within. These current frunk releases, though, are accessible from outside the vehicle, using tools no more advanced than a flathead screwdriver.
Sure, the alarm does go off when the trunk is opened, but only when its opened, meaning by the time the alarm is wailing, whoever opened the trunk is likely hauling ass away from the car with your laptop bag.
So, while I get why Tesla needs these releases, it’s important for Tesla owners to be aware of what their frunks really are: non-secure storage spaces that maybe really shouldn’t be trusted to hold anything really valuable.
Luckily, all Teslas have rear storage areas inside the car that don’t have external releases. Maybe stick the laptops in the rear and save the trunk for bags of peat moss or those clothes you keep meaning to take to Goodwill.
Since these are mechanical releases, if Tesla wants to improve their frunk security, it’ll take more than a wireless update, too.
We have reached out to Tesla for comment, but have not yet heard back.