Hundreds of pets die each year after baking in cars where they’ve been left unattended, so it’s no wonder that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted in response to a question about this on Twitter that some kind of “dog mode” may be coming soon to the electric carmaker’s rides.
Elon didn’t exactly give away anything in the way of specifics about this, but the hint came about after Twitter user Josh Atchley (@nynex) pinged Elon to ask about the possibility of some kind of Tesla mode that, whenever a doggo is left in the car, plays music, turns the AC on and perhaps displays an on-screen message, like “I’m fine – my owner will be right back.” Could he do that? Elon, in response, simply tweeted back: “Yes.”
As Business Insider notes, Elon has listened to and incorporated suggestions from Twitter users before. Such as earlier this year, when someone sent him a tweet asking if he’d eventually be able to use a Bluetooth-enabled phone to open his Model S the way Model 3 owners could. Elon promised him that was coming.
“Considering that studies show people care more for dogs than they do for other humans, it’s hard to imagine that Tesla owners wouldn’t embrace a ‘dog mode,'” BI goes on to report, about the potential for this new mode. “We can only hope that Musk cares for pets as much as the people who feel they need ‘pawternity leave’ from work and regularly spend over $1,000 each year on their pup.
“The need for such a specific feature for cars is there — hundred of pets die each year when they’re left alone in parked cars. And you’ve likely seen more than your fair share of viral videos that show strangers smashing car windows to rescue a panting, overheated pup inside.”
Assuming this is indeed coming, Elon is of course nothing if not idiosyncratic when it comes to timing. He often makes promises and — maybe they materialize, maybe they keep getting pushed back. His tendency to respond to such requests and suggestions from users via Twitter, though, certainly makes him something of an outlier among typical CEOs. Try to do this same thing with the head of almost any other public company you can think of. You won’t get the same cadence of responses Elon doles out via Twitter — and certainly not the same degree of incorporation of feedback from the social platform into the product.
There are, of course, positives and negatives to that. Again, from BI: “The informal tone in the way Musk replies to users is, compared to other Fortune 500 CEOs, incredibly unorthodox. But more notably and notoriously, Musk is known for his trigger-happy Twitter presence, which has gotten him into trouble (more than once) with his companies’ stockholders and government agencies.”