Nearly 100 Tesla Model 3s In Ohio For Independent Crash & Durability Testing


Apparently, there are nearly one hundred Tesla Model 3s in Ohio, believe it or not.

That’s the word from the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club via Twitter.

Remember that Model 3 sighting in Cincinnati, Ohio? The one where the Model 3 was Supercharging in the rain? At the time, we weren’t quite sure why a Model 3 was all the way out in Ohio, so far from its Fremont home. We noted that the vehicle was dropped off and picked up from the Supercharger by enclosed trailer, but beyond that, it wasn’t clear to us why a 3 was in the Cincinnati area.

Know we know…

According to Tesla Model 3 Owners Club, there’s a testing facility in Ohio that’s taken on a bunch of Model 3s (nearly one hundred) for durability and crash testing. The facility is in or around East Liberty, Ohio, which is Northwest of Columbus. This location leads us to believe that testing is being conducted by the Transportation Research Center, which is home to the “Largest independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in the U.S.”

On-site testing includes:

  • safety
  • energy
  • fuel economy
  • emissions
  • durability
  • noise
  • crash
  • crash simulation
  • performance
  • and more

Overhead Image Of TRC Testing Facility

Here are some additional details on the testing facility, via Transportation Research center:

What does it take to be the largest independent vehicle testing facility and proving grounds in the U.S.? Hardworking industry experts; a well-developed infrastructure with an extensive variety of road surfaces; on-site development of leading-edge and emerging technologies; 30-plus years of engineering expertise and industry knowledge; a long-time partnership with a major research university; strong global connections and an eye constantly focused on the client’s needs.

It also takes a secure location – operating 24/7 – with approximately 4,500 acres of road courses, wooded trails, a 7.5-mile (12.1 km) High-speed Oval Test Track, 50-acre (20-hectare) Vehicle Dynamics Area, or “black lake,” and the right mix of testing areas and facilities to make the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio, the best place to test and validate nearly any vehicle imaginable, any time of year.

Nestled in the rolling hills of northwestern Ohio, TRC lies within the heart of the I-75 automotive corridor, less than 40 minutes from Columbus and approximately 2.5 hours from Detroit. This region is known for its continuous growth and future advancement in automotive manufacturing, research and development.

Hot, cold, rainy, overcast or sunny, TRC offers a world of driving conditions, with wet spring weather, hot summers and icy cold, snowy winters. At our proving ground, we conduct programs designed to test for safety, energy, fuel economy, emissions, durability, noise, crash, crash simulation, performance and more. We test a wide range of vehicle types and equipment, including trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, electric vehicles, passenger cars and components – and we even test road surfaces. Private workrooms and garage spaces are available for lease on a daily to yearly basis to maximize productivity, convenience and comfort for our customers.

Finding the right solutions for your complex needs

TRC provides research and development, as well as compliance and certification testing, for vehicles and components, crash avoidance and crashworthiness testing, emissions testing, dynamic testing and durability testing. We’re home to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Research and Test Center – the only federal vehicle research and test laboratory.

We’re also closely aligned with The Ohio State University, a world-renowned research university with experts in advanced automotive technology, as well as the city of Columbus, Ohio, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) “Smart City.”

Our partnership with PMG Technologies Inc., manager of Transport Canada’s sole motor vehicle test center, allows TRC to deliver turnkey solutions to both established and OEM start-ups already selling or looking to expand to the North American market – providing vehicle development, verification, validation and certification per FMVSS and CMVSS requirements. The TRC and PMG partnership – a “Compliance Alliance” – is the North American foundation for a planned global alliance of government-owned, or linked, proving grounds around the globe. The future consortium will provide global coverage for automotive testing regardless of an OEM’s country of origin.

Although we are known as a one-stop source for testing, TRC is also a great location for ride-and-drive events and technology demonstrations. Our ultimate goal is to make TRC your company’s full-service proving ground.

Source: Tesla Model 3 Owners Club on Twitter

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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73 Comments on "Nearly 100 Tesla Model 3s In Ohio For Independent Crash & Durability Testing"

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So those are production vehicles then, as it wouldn’t make any sense testing them otherwise. In other words it seems production is right on schedule, unless they find some major flaws in this testing.

If they were production vehicles, there would be no use in testing them, as the car would already be set in stone. I’m glad the design is far along, though.

Production intent cars then, if you want to be pedantic.

Release Candidates int the new automotive world.

Yep, because in the new world the real world beta testing phase is replaced with computer simulations.

You caught that too?

The outsourcing of durability testing (mere months before start of production) gives Tesla another scapegoat when things don’t go as planned. Suppliers will be hard pressed to incorporate changes needed as a result of this testing so close to official production start.

Shaping up to be interesting times.

I sense sarcasm but this is often true even for mainstream companies like GM.

GM had hundreds of pre-production Bolts out doing real world testing logging tens of thousands of miles 12-18 months in advance of the Bolt’s release in addition to any computer simulations.

It is interesting how the closer we get to the Model 3 going into production, that your numbers for how many Bolts they were testing keeps going up And how soon they were testing all those “hundreds” of Bolts keeps getting earlier and earlier….

I heard it was thousands shipped all over the world to test in every conceivable environment.

It is certainly true that Tesla is breaking the norms but they would argue that is sort of the point. To the extent that their methodology is sound we won’t know until later. I think it is also true that they view certain things such as software tweaks to be doable at a later date. This is true because well it wasn’t possible in the past. It is also true that the time span for a supplier to alter a part has also decreased over the years. The basic question is by how much can this cycle be compressed and still be effective. I would remind everyone that the Bolt when from concept to dealer show rooms in an amazingly fast timeframe by GM standards.

GM built 50-100 test Bolts (integrated engineering vehicle release or IVER) with production tooling to use for this kind of testing. That was 18 MONTHS before first delivery.

GM later built ~300 Bolts pre-production vehicles (PPVs) on the final production line. Some underwent 24×7 endurance testing, some to employees who drove them “normally” and logged issues. This was 8 MONTHS before first delivery.

These Model 3s are IVERS, built with mostly production tooling on a separate little assembly line. Does this mean it’ll be 18 months until first customer delivery? Of course not. Tesla is so much smarter than anyone else in the industry they can skip steps without consequences.

Tesla will build PPVs in July. They’ll also have employees test them and log issues. But the employees will actually pay for these cars, so Tesla can say they’re in full production. Since employees will quickly verify that these PPVs are flawless, Tesla will simply ramp production a few hundred the first week to 1000 by the fifth week and 5000 the 25th week.

Where did you find all that information? Do you work for Tesla?


Some of that information he “found” by pulling it out of… where the sun don’t shine.

Restricting initial sales to Tesla employees only is certainly a good strategy for a car which has had, let us say, abbreviated pre-production testing. Tesla employees will be far less likely to post negative comments on social media about any problems with early production cars, and will be far more likely to work with Tesla, instead of campaigning against the company, to resolve such problems.

But to claim that all Tesla employees are brainwashed drones who will be perfectly happy with any car they’re sold, regardless of any problems… Well, that’s a Tesla basher’s fantasy, and certainly has nothing to do with the real world.

Yep, so much smarter than everyone else. That’s why current Model S and X’s are rolling off the line with 0 defects.

Oh wait

Please list all the mass produced cars, from all auto makers, which roll off the line with zero defects.

I’m sure you’ll have plenty of space for that in your response, as it’s gonna be a very short list indeed.

I believe these are PPV’s — as they were built on the actual production lines (and I believe around 300 were built). I agree that it would normally take up to 8 months for “real” deliveries, but it looks like Tesla is doing a lot of parallel testing and these candidates have already been out for a few months — so a 3Q delivery is still reasonable in my opinion. Especially if the next phase is getting these early cars into the hands of employees who can have and final issues serviced at work before the Model 3 gets into the hands of real customers – likely around September/October.

Actually, Tesla restricting sales of its earliest production Model 3’s to Tesla employees only, is quite similar to GM’s last testing phase for a new model, during which GM puts a few… score? hundreds?… of the cars into the hands of its employees to drive for a few months, to identify problems not found during previous testing.

The difference here is that Tesla will sell the cars to its employees rather than loaning them out, and that Tesla isn’t gonna wait a few months to see the results of that final testing before ramping up production.

Tesla can certainly be criticized for rushing the Model 3 into production, skipping some of the testing stages that a legacy auto maker uses. On the other hand, those established OEMs are selling to a mature market. Tesla, by contrast, is trying to grab as much market share of an emerging market as it can.

Arguably, both Tesla and GM are using the best business strategies for the market they’re selling to. Of course, Tesla’s strategy of rushing the car into production as fast as possible has a much higher risk, but then the potential reward is also much higher.

Doggy — Your assumptions don’t match the evidence that has been published. Tesla was already installing and testing their production assembly line in October 2016 (posted MANY times before, ibid).

They stopped all production of all cars for a week while they brought the paint booth and other components online in Feb. (ibid)

They were stamping body parts using existing stamping machines, until they brought their final stamping machines online about a month ago (ibid). Keep in mind that the dies themselves were built before the stamping machines were installed.

They have been building cars on their production assembly line for a number of months now, built with parts they ordered from their suppliers last summer. (ibid,and ibid)

Nix – Musk said on 5/3/17 “it’s insane how much equipment is arriving and getting installed and being brought online”. Note the present tense. The huge Q2 capex spend confirms this. They are building the prouction line RIGHT NOW.

I start from the assumption that Musk and team are sane people. It would be completely insane to build test cars on the line at the same time they build the line. People would trip over each other and slow both processes down.

Besides the slowdown, it’s pointless. The main purpose of the first fleet is to verify the car. It doesn’t matter how you build these cars, as long as they match the production design.

The main purpose of the second test fleet is to verify the production line. Tesla will start building those cars in July, when the production line is fully installed.

As far as I know and many times has been written, is that those cars are NOT built with a separate or Special production line, but furthermore with the same line that will produce the regular cars. And that is the difference. So if those 100 Test-cars work, the others will do too.

That’s not even possibly true. As noted the actual assembly line is still being put together. These vehicles were made with ‘similar’ machines/methods to get as close as possible but still aren’t full assembly line vehicles. Recall when Model X was rolled out that there was a founder’s and a signature series. Those were pretty much pre-production models for lack of a better term. They were built by incomplete assembly lines and lots of non-automated processes. They were used in order to be able to claim deliveries had been started while selling them to the die hard Tesla fans that would trade a few initial bobbles (such as the gull wing door issues) for being first/special. The X was in its 8th month before production actually began rolling to any decent extent. If you check the scorecard on this site you’ll see the first few months of ‘sales’ looked as follows starting in Sept 2015 (so as to be able to claim a Q3 launch). 6,4,5,199,214, 270,270, and then finally 1860. Those first three months were effectively coach builds on limited parts supplies and machinery. Months 4, 5, 6, and 7 were basically limited assembly capability while the manufacturing and… Read more »

Dont forget, suppliers have until july to get true production parts to tesla. So these cars can’t be considered production cars.

That’s doesn’t mean these M3s are using all one off, custom parts…Many are off the shelf while others were custom made to order but the “production version” part will be made the exact same way as the custom made ordered part…

That’s true, these cars were all made using batches of pre-production (or “production prototype”) parts that Tesla ordered from its suppliers. Common sense said Tesla wanted the parts to be as close to the actual production parts as possible, but then common sense also says there will inevitably be some tweaking before actual production begins.

After all, if there were no changes allowed between pre-production cars and actual production units, then why bother making and testing the pre-production vehicles?

They are “pre-production” or “Beta” test cars because the official production has not started. Chevy did this in March 2016 with the Bolt EV and production started in October (seven months apart). We are in May so if TM did the same, the first production would be in December.

I’m surprised 100 vehicles are required. Is that number normal for such car testing or is this just because of the accelerated timescales for Model 3?

By design, you can only run one crash test per car ?


What? We can’t test rear end survival in conjunction with T-Bone and Offset frontal, all on one car and get 3 tests, all in one go, like a data logging Demolition Derby?

Actually, it seems clear, some quantity will be used for crash testing analysis, but for sure, they will probably test the range on more than one car, one configuration, with various options, tires, rims, etc, on those grounds!

They will also drive the heck out of these Release Candidates, and do it with decent security, determining which ones show the most or least signs of wear, to get a means to set warranty time and terms!

All that, and more! They might also have shipped a few truck loads of Model 3’s to Northern Ontario, Florida, and other test facilities! (Who knows what is inside that truck on the highway that just passed you, anyway?)

Yeah, perhaps some of those reported 100 3’s will be used to validate range as well as other items.

I can’t really see them using 100 3’s for just crash testing purposes.

GO TESLA GO…all the naysayers and haters can kiss your ARSE LOL

And people wonder how Tesla fanbois could possibly get a bad reputation? Look no further than the above post.

I don’t mind the fanbois. They are stupid in an endearing sort of way.

What are you guys doing on this website? Oh wait, I get it.

You’re deceivers.

Well, the technical term is: people who actually drive EVs and aren’t frustrated by their inability to get hold of ‘my precious’. I’ll also take “The Deceivers”. It has a cool, Marvel superhero quality to it.

Not sure what the problem is here as the instructions on the original post were very clear…

What? I leased a 2012 Volt, bought a 2014 Volt, got solar, and bought a 2014 SparkEV. Now I’m looking for a storage battery. I waited in line to order a M3. Does Tesla’s ecosystem theory ring true for me? Yep. I know there are enemy’s out there working for the dark side against the transformative leader. Might be the opposite of a super hero

bro1999 said:

“And people wonder how Tesla fanbois could possibly get a bad reputation? Look no further than the above post.”

Clearly some Tesla bashers are blind to just how offensive their own extremely negative Tesla-bashing posts are. 🙄

Or maybe it’s that they are perfectly aware of it, but simply don’t care. 🙁

“Clearly some Tesla bashers are blind to just how offensive their own extremely negative Tesla-bashing posts are. ?”

The same can be easily said for those Tesla fan bois who bash all other EVs endlessly…

That original poster is one of those classic example.

No one is going anywhere near the ass. They can simply kiss the toes and thank Tesla for changing their bum lives. Soon they will realize what Tesla has done if they haven’t already. rEVolution.

Tesla isn’t here to take part, but to lead and take over.

Tesla Motors already had its arse kicked in December 2016 (five months ago). It must be still hurting Musk!!

Has there been more sightings of model 3 s. In that area beyond the one in the rain?

How did they come up with the number of 100?

If true. That would be awesome

Wow, this is real. I hear BMW will might have a competitive car in 2020.


No Giga-Factory — NO COMPETITOR!

consumers don’t care where the battery comes from. global battery production is increasing substantially and legacy automakers absolutely have the money to buy them and therefor compete.

terminaltrip421 said:

“consumers don’t care where the battery comes from.”

Perfectly true.

“global battery production is increasing substantially…”

Yes, but Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 will be making as many batteries as the global output of all EV battery makers circa 2013. No other battery maker is ramping up production that rapidly, or even within the same ballpark of that rapidly. Tesla, alone, is ramping up EV battery cell production capacity faster than all other EV battery makers put together!

“…and legacy automakers absolutely have the money to buy them and therefor compete.”

Nope. You can’t buy what isn’t being made.

Legacy auto makers absolutely won’t be able to compete on quantity over the next couple of years, at the very least. Not even if they want to, and so far none of them have shown any such intent. Therefore, almost certainly Tesla’s quantity advantage will continue for several years, at a minimum.

The reason I think they are testing 100 vehicles is because they are doing all the testing in parallel, rather than running a small number of vehicles through the tests serially. It accelerates the testing time by a large factor.

This is another example of Tesla refusing to do things “the way they have always been done” and disrupting the process with innovation. I’m sure the testing company had to make some special efforts as well, so thanks to them for coordinating all the staffing requirements to make this possible.

For those of you who doubt the Model III’s viability, I have a few words of warning:

The invasion has begun!

Current Model 3 sales count: 0

Invasion hasn’t quite started yet. 😉

… and the “enemy” took over the field in December 2019 with a five month headstart as of today.

Yes because other car makers use the same car for rollover, front, rear, side, offset impact testing /s.

How can anyone even doubt that Tesla is on track with Model 3 production? They are certainly not fooling around this time, the stakes are way too high. Those ney sayers and shorters can finally kiss their arse goodbye!

Yep, Elon is taking as many shortcuts as possible to stick to his production timeline.

Good luck to the first “real” 3 owners (not Tesla employees). You’ll probably need it!

They are already lucky, lucky to get one, sooner than most, if, they only want rw drive and live in CA.

Does the Tesla owners club indicate a source for their “apparent” news?

Not that I have seen.

“Anonymous sources” 😉

Seriously, if the source of this info is “insider information”, perhaps someone who actually works at the Transportation Research Center, then they will almost certainly be violating an NDA by reporting this info. And therefore, it’s to be expected the source will remain unnamed.

Of course, I’m being optimistic there. Since the info is unsourced it doesn’t qualify as more than a rumor, and there’s no way of knowing if the info is accurate or not.

Somebody pls fly a 4k drone.

This site was recently upgraded through an initiative to expand it’s self driving car testing. Also they put up ads for Tesla technicians. Apparently this has been the works for months.
I have no reason to think the story is not accurate.

“Maintain top level professional integrity and appearance as a Tesla test technician.”
–part of one of the want ads.

Good find. These cars aren’t just crash test cars. Lots of other testing will be done.

I hear all the crirs of incomplete testing before production but i don’t care. If tesla wants to use employees for production validation testing then that’s ok.

Tesla is serious about producing a lot of these cars. Unlike the big 3.

Good grief, it’s right in the headline: “Crash & Durability Testing”. It’s repeated in the article, too. Durability testing, not just crash testing.

George, I can’t figure out why so many of the above comments (not yours!) fail to grasp that rather obvious point. The Slashdot admonition RTFA* certainly applies here. Or at least read the F’ing title of the article!

I doubt Tesla chose a testing facility with a large test track loop merely to do crash tests! One doesn’t need to be Einstein to guess that Tesla probably intends to drive some of those cars on the track. Perhaps drive them a lot, for durability tests.

*Read The F—ing Article

getting old. not so sharp anymore.

I’m tired and my back hurts:)

“Tesla is serious about producing a lot of these cars. Unlike the big 3.”

Tesla got the demand on its EVs, unlike the big 3 which are often the results of STUPID F*(*&)(* Tesla fan boi’s bashing targets..

“Tesla got the demand on its EVs, unlike the big 3 which are often the results of STUPID F*(*&)(* Tesla fan boi’s bashing targets..”

I understand about being a target of Tesla fanboy bashing. I had a Volt for 3 years. One gets a thin skin when one feels like they did something positive by buying a Volt but has to listen to constant criticism….after a while one gets punchy and defensive justifiably.

But after observing GM managements behavior over this time IMO they are just playing the regs. Yes, they do a great job from an engineering point of view. (I’m an engineer). The Volt and the Bolt are exquisite engineering masterpieces.

It is GM management that I hate. Their insisting on CAFE roll back was the last straw for me.

If you want an EV give your money to a company interested in making EV’s happen…Tesla.

“It is GM management that I hate.” Not to defend them since they can certainly do more and better. But being “second best” needs to be hated more than the rest? I mean which other management has brought us a 240 miles BEV that cost less tan $40K? NOBODY! What is all that hate against Toyota? Honda? Hyundai? Oh, that is right, because they don’t have a Bolt like vehicle to bash. Geez… “Their insisting on CAFE roll back was the last straw for me.” I hate the Pruitt more than anyone else. But let us look at the facts. GM didn’t ask for the roll back. It was an alliance from just about all automakers (except for Tesla) to ask for a comment period to be extend and targets aren’t being changed at all. “If you want an EV give your money to a company interested in making EV’s happen…Tesla.” I have my reservation on the Model 3. But that doesn’t mean I should go around unfairly flaming GM while the REST OF MotherF(^&*^*( aren’t even doing enough to match GM. So, seriously. Take a look at the rest of them. GM is only getting flamed because somehow it… Read more »

This is now the third time that that the critics have said Tesla wasn’t building Model 3’s and the third time they’ve been proven 100% wrong.

They said there wouldn’t be any Model 3’s at the reveal last spring, and there would only be computer renderings. They were wrong, two cars showed up on stage.

Then they said those were the only 2 in existence. They were again proven wrong, when we found out months after initial crash testing, that more crash test cars had been built.

Then they said the only testing would be done on cars built for employees, and that there was no way at all that any testing could be going on away from the prying eyes of the press. They dismissed any suggestion that testing could be going on if there weren’t pics. Now they’ve been proven wrong yet again.

But now we’re supposed to believe that after being proven wrong 3 times in a row, that whatever they say must certainly be true THIS TIME.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me three times, stop acting like a damn fool.

Nix, I gotta hand it to you here. I questioned your assertion that Tesla was conducting driving tests of unseen pre-production Model 3’s on closed tracks, away from prying eyes. But you’ve been shown to be absolutely right… as usual!

Your posts to this forum should be given a lot more appreciation than they receive. Take a bow, sir!

“Your posts to this forum should be given a lot more appreciation than they receive.”

I always read Nix comments. I appreciate them.

This is a blog post with comments, not a forum.

For those who don’t know the history, the OTC was build as part of a deal to attract Honda to Ohio. Honda has their operations just a few miles from the test facility. Building OTC was a winning strategy for Ohio!

Time has moved on and now real Tesla model 3’s are showing up at many places in the US and Europe and Australia. So they are to employee’s but regular customers like me will be in October and on. My date in November-December.
I want to do some DESERT HEAT testing here in Phoenix but it will be a little cooler by November. July and August can get to 120F so next year will be the HEAT test for real.