Since you can use a smart device to access a Tesla Model 3 instead of a key, it seems like the automaker is setting itself up for an eventual car-sharing scheme. A new tweet from CEO Elon Musk seems to reinforce that idea.
Over the weekend, Musk tweeted that Tesla will eventually adopt cloud-based driver profiles. According to the tweet, you'll be able to access your personalized information and settings in any Tesla vehicle to give a new car an immediate sense of familiarity.
Since it was just a Sunday morning tweet, there's no fleshed-out discussion with a timeline attached. All we know is Tesla plans to bring this to market, and it could happen anytime between tomorrow (unlikely) and years from now (more likely).
Moving user profiles to the cloud would certainly be a good idea if Tesla wanted to create a car-sharing scheme. In conjunction with the near-field communications system it uses in lieu of a traditional key, sharing a Tesla could be as easy as booking a reservation on an app and receiving the key's "code" almost immediately. A user could access their profile and watch as the seat moves to the right spot and all the user's radio favorites appear on the screen.
Cloud-based user profiles are already making their way to production cars. The latest iteration of Cadillac's CUE infotainment system uses online profiles to transfer navigation directions, contacts and favorites between vehicles. BMW has something similar with its new Connected+ system, but it goes a step further by adding Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business integration as well, with a focus on work-related productivity.