Driver Walks Away Unharmed After Big Rig Rear Ends Tesla Model S

2 months ago by Steven Loveday 57

Tesla Model S After The Collision

Tesla Model S After The Collision (via Exmachina70/Imgur)

This week, there has been much press about the fact that the Tesla Model S missed the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) coveted “Top Safety Pick” designation this year.

To many, this came as a shock, since the Model S has long been considered one of the safest vehicles on the road.

The Volvo Truck Suffered A Decent Amount Of Damage After Running Into The Back Of The Tesla Model S

The Volvo Truck Suffered A Decent Amount Of Damage After Running Into The Back Of The Tesla Model S (via Exmachina70/Imgur)

While the IIHS scoring is extremely helpful when choosing a vehicle, and provides telling information about the vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses, sometimes you have to read carefully. Other vehicles that actually fared worse than the Model S in crash tests, received the Top Safety Pick designation. However, some more minor details made it ineligible.

The pictures are of a Tesla Model S that was rear-ended by a Volvo Big Rig, and it seems that the two vehicles suffered about the same amount of damage. The Model S is a very heavy vehicle, as is the Volvo, so it is to be expected. The low center of gravity and equalized weight distribution in the Model S, due to the battery pack, helps with structural integrity and keeps the car grounded.

The person that had purchased the car (not the driver) told Reddit that the driver walked away from the crash unharmed. In the pictures, it looks as though the cabin wasn’t affected at all. Even the rear seats look to be intact. The driver believes that if it weren’t for the Model S, he may have been killed or badly injured. Unfortunately, the car never made it to the purchaser (he bought it on eBay), because the accident happened during its delivery. It was the original owner driving the vehicle. We guess it’s much, much more unfortunate for him.

Source: The Drive, Imgur

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57 responses to "Driver Walks Away Unharmed After Big Rig Rear Ends Tesla Model S"

  1. William says:

    Every body walks away, is a good “Truck meets Tesla” encounter.

  2. DJ says:

    Good thing the Tesla wasn’t carrying 7. I never understood how that was remotely safe and this pic proves it.

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      I pretty much agree. I think it’s fine for short neighborhood runs, but probably not a great idea for highway driving.

      1. Jim says:

        I go on trips with my model s and have no problems. 220 mile range. Plenty of charging stations.

        1. Chris says:

          ….Can’t tell if joking.

          1. bogdan says:

            He’s not, he didn’r get the point.

    2. R.S says:

      No it doesn’t. Not that I think it’s totally safe, but 7 seaters have extra strengthening beams in back. So you can’t draw conclusions from this 5 seater to a seven seater.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        How does the strength beam help with the cabin getting crushed?

        The beam help with the frames which are much lower. In rear end crash, the rear vehicle often crash into the cabin when the bumpers don’t meet. That is exactly what happened when that Chevy Tahoe crushed into the Tesla S at hwy speed.

        1. Wait…..Isn’t that Super Dave Osborne’s Voice I hear from under that crushed metal???

          Let’s Check with Fuji: Fuji arranges a stunt for Super Dave that he guarantees will surprise everyone… including Super Dave!

      2. Reed says:

        The model S has optional rear-facing child seats. They would have been right in the crushed section of this car.

        1. Yveric Patry says:

          I think if you add the rear facing seats that Tesla adds also more impact protection in the rear…

  3. Get Real says:

    And how would that be any different from the dozens of other models that have their rear seats within a couple of feet from their back ends?

    1. Like, for instance, the Back Seats in the Fiat 500, the Austin Min, (or BMW Mini, for that matter), Or – maybe even the Front Seats – in a Smart Car!etc.

      1. Get Real says:

        Yeah Robert, DJ doesn’t get it does he.

  4. CLIVE says:

    Unharmed?

    Ask him how he feels tomorrow, or the next day.

    1. ffbj says:

      True. It takes a few days or more for whiplash injuries to show up, to be felt. Been there, done that.

  5. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

    Why would it be different ? I mean when you are rear ended:

    1/the energy is often lower than frontal collision as speed of each vehicle is never added (unless the Tesla was backing of course)
    2/ the body weight is pushed evenly on the whole structure of the seat as opposed to a frontal collision.
    3/ Despite that the rear is a mess one can see that the rear crumple zone was not affected more than a foot or so. No huge forces involved in this accident .

    If Tesla crash tests results are not as good as some expected it won’t be fixed by reporting some random accident that proves exactly nothing. Tesla will do better next time and that’s it. Its a young car company remember.

  6. Four Electrics says:

    Model S found to have less than ideal performance on a scientific test of a *front* collision.

    Internet posts single anecdotal photo of a Tesla involved in a *rear* collision.

    Internet concludes that scientific tests were invalid.

    This is Trump’s America. Good one guys!

    1. scoops says:

      One simulated test is greater than how many real tests?

    2. ffbj says:

      To be specific it was the front overlap test which they failed, not the front impact, which they aced, but typical of your style of commentary.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I see 4E is posting anti-Tesla FUD, as usual.

      That crash test for which the Model S received a less than 4-star rating, which 4E dishonestly describes as a “failure”, was more of a sideswipe than an actual frontal impact. In actual frontal impact crash tests, and even half- and quarter-offset impacts, the Model S gets a top-notch rating, which is part of why it’s earned one of the highest overall crash test ratings of any car, period.

    4. Jerry says:

      Excellent Point. I test drove a Model S and put down a deposit for the Model 3 as the Model X will not fit in my single car garage and the Model S is much to large for 1 person. Having said that, the best way to save yourself and the car is prevention and Tesla has more going for it in 2017 than most other auto companies. I am looking forward to better days ahead.

  7. Priusmaniac says:

    The truck insurance won’t like the bill they will receive for the Model S replacement. Even second end they still go above 50000 $.

  8. DL says:

    The IIHS test only applies to a Model S built after September 2016, previous models were never tested. The “minor detail” that prevented a top safety pick was the dummy’s head hitting the steering wheel at a high rate during a small overlap front collision.

    Rear collisions are not tested at all by IIHS, so this particular accident is irrelevant to the IIHS results.

    No information was given to how the accident occurred. There’s a long scrape down the Tesla’s left side that the truck clearly didn’t cause.

    The damage to the truck appears to be mostly cosmetic. The front end bodywork is probably all fiberglass.

    The accident appears to have occurred in the left lane; trucks generally don’t use the left lane.

    1. Damion says:

      The truck seems to be badly damaged.The grill, headlights Fenders and bumper will need to be replaced, the front axel seems compromise as well and probably need some major work.

      1. ffbj says:

        No kidding. The axle is broken, or bent. It’s a heap, the truck that is. Probably totaled.

        1. DL says:

          I see no evidence of a “broken axle”. The tire deflated and is askew, but that’s all I see in the photos.

    2. Jerry says:

      Excellent point. Tesla, I am told, has already changed the seat belt install at the factory and corrected this problem of the dummy touching its head to the steering wheel. Tesla is very proactive when it comes to safety. All auto companies should take notice.

  9. History 0000 says:

    Tesla Model S may be even safer than a Volvo!
    Driver could have been killed in many other vehicles.

  10. OpelCryer says:

    My Opel Cadet was rear-ended by a tractor trailer and I walked away too. I guess that demonstrates the Opel is as safe as the Tesla😕

    1. Kdawg says:

      I was rear ended while driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais. I was hit by a full size work truck going 45mph and he never touched his brakes. I walked away with a small cut to the back of my head and major headache the next day. The car’s rear end was crushed flat up to the back seats, but not a single window broke. Even one of the small triangle windows popped out and landed on the street, but it didn’t break.

      1. ffbj says:

        Those were tanks. Lots of heavy gauge metal. These days, well, you would probably would have gone to ‘Doggy Heaven’, being hit like that.

        1. Kdawg says:

          I think energy absorption design gets better each year; as well as all other types of crash technology. For example, that car didn’t have air-bags, where one today would.

          1. ffbj says:

            In general the safety systems are better, but big heavy cars have their place.

  11. JyBicycle says:

    Without knowing the speed, the article is useless.

  12. bro1999 says:

    Imagine if this S had kids in the RFS. Yikes.

    1. Braydon Snoddy says:

      Tesla’s with the rear facing seat option are equipped with a double steel reinforced back bumper purely for this reason.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        How does the bumper stop the moving truck if the truck get top of them?

        Remember that big crash from LA where the Chevy Tahoe pretty much destroyed the Model S and crushed the rear cabin all way thru the second row seat? The bumpers went under the Tahoe’s frame… So the cabin took the entire hit.

  13. Kdawg says:

    More salvage parts.

  14. tk says:

    This must be one with jump seats. They are supposed to survive rear ending by a semi. I wonder how a normal S would’ve fared. There was one accident a few months ago where multiple people died when an S got rear ended by a truck.

    1. floydboy says:

      This had the jump seats? Or you don’t know and are just blowing smoke?

      1. ffbj says:

        It did not come with jump seats. It did not have the two extra reinforcing pillars.

  15. Rob32 says:

    Too bad the Model S doesn’t score better in Euro NCAP and IIHS safety testing.

    The Model S100 doesn’t get a good score for roof strength either.

    Hopefully Tesla will be able to bring their designs up to a higher safety standard and not be lagging behind the competition.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Wut?

      The Tesla Model S famously broke the crushing machine the first time they tried to do a roof crush test!

      Unless Tesla has re-engineered the Model S to reduce roof strength, which I find more than slightly unlikely, then your assertion seems sharply contrary to reality.

      1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

        Wrong again Pu-Pu.

        Once the IIHS tested the Model S 60 on a machine in working order, it barely got a good rating in the roof crush test with a strength -to-weight ratio of 4.33. There are plenty of cars that score MUCH higher in the roof crush test than the Model S 60. The much heavier Model S P100D has the same amount of roof deflection as the Model S 60, but got only an acceptable rating since its added weight significantly lowers its strength-to-weight ratio to under 4.

        A good rating requires a strength-to-weight ratio of at least 4. Here’s a comparison of the Model S 60 to the Mercedes C Class, Hyundai Genesis, and the lowly Toyota Highlander:
        – the 4,452 lb Model S 60 was able to withstand a peak force of 19,271 lbs for a 4.33 strength-to-weight ratio;
        – the 3,522 lb Mercedes C Class was able to a withstand a peak force of a whopping 24,642 lbs for an incredible 7.00 strength-to-weight ratio;
        – the 4,323 lb Hyundai Genesis was able to a withstand a peak force of 21,387 lbs for a 4.95 strength-to-weight ratio; and
        – the 4,414 lb Toyota Highlander was able to a withstand a peak force of 23,836 lbs for a 5.40 strength-to-weight ratio.

        The Model S P100D has a much higher curb weight than the Model S 60. I couldn’t find a curb weight for the P100D, but the smaller battery and apparently lighter P85D weighs 4,936 lb. A Model S weighing 4,936 lbs that is able to withstand the same peak force of 19,271 lbs as did the Model S 60 would give it a 3.90 strength-to-weight ratio, garnering only an “acceptable rating” in the roof crush test. Since P100D weighs more than a P85D, its strength-to-wieght ratio is would be lower than 3.90.

        Click on the “Roof strength” button on the left hand side of the page for detailed test results:
        http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/tesla/model-s-4-door-hatchback/2017

        http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/mercedes-benz/c-class-4-door-sedan

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          I forgot to mention, that on the “Roof strength” page of the Model S on the IIHS website it says the following:

          “Tested vehicle” “2016 Tesla Model S 60 4-door”

          “Rating does not apply to Model S P100D. Rating of this model is Acceptable.”

          http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/tesla/model-s-4-door-hatchback/2017

          Pu-Pu said:
          “The Tesla Model S famously broke the crushing machine the first time they tried to do a roof crush test!”

          That’s just fanboi spin and click-bait headlines. A well-used test machine failed while testing the Model S because it was worn out, not because the Model S has a roof that’s so much stronger than all other cars that the machine couldn’t handle it. The test machine required maintenance/repairs to bring it back to spec, and can easily test the Model S without breaking.

          And it wasn’t even the IIHS’s testing machine, but the machine from an independent lab which performed the roof crush test for the IIHS, per Consumer Reports. Who knows how worn out or well maintained was that particular test machine, or whether it was even the same one used to test all the other cars in previous tests.

          “Separately, Tesla Motors had a roof crush test performed by an independent facility, whose machine failed before the roof was compressed. Tesla claims the proven protection is equivalent to stacking four Model S vehicles on top of the test car.”

          http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/tesla-model-s-aces-nhtsa-crash-test/index.htm

          1. ffbj says:

            Speaking of worn out…

          2. Get Real says:

            Keep trolling sven. In about a year when Model 3s are everywhere you and your Fuhrer will be basically avalanched.

            1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

              If you put your head into the roof crush test machine, your thick skull would break the machine! 😀

  16. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Based on the picture, we can say two things. 1. Tesla bumper/frame held up well so it is safe design.
    2. When sedan/cars get rear ended by Truck or vehicles that are higher off the ground, the cabin will take the bulk of the impact which puts people or cargo at risks. Those uneven matched crash is really dangerous! That is why people tend to buying larger SUVs…

  17. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    @ Staff:

    Cannot post to “Tesla To Make Charging Connectors For China’s Charging Standard” article.

    ***mod edit (staff)***
    Interesting. Noted & Fixed – Comments now open. Thanks.
    ***mod edit***

    1. P-P, thanks for getting their attention on that!

  18. Brian says:

    All these comments from you engineers, theorizing about this or that. Why not leave that to actual engineers?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I don’t think we need to be engineers to note that it is a serious safety hazard to not have regulations mandating standard bumper heights for all street-legal vehicles.

      There are places where more government regulation would be beneficial. In this case, it would literally save many lives every year.

      Something to think about for those who claim no government regulation should be the ideal.

  19. floydboy says:

    That poor truck’s steel undercarriage took a whuppin! Damn you Tesla!

    1. ffbj says:

      Yeah, they are both totaled, according to the O.P.

  20. Bill Howland says:

    The biggest risk from the “S” is the batteries. It would be interesting to know at what severity level of crash
    they are damaged.

    My former 2011 VOLT was involved in a rear end crash much worse than this crash – so I have personal concern in the matter.

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