Images of Wrecked Tesla Model 3


It was bound to happen eventually.

The first reported Model 3 wreck occurred awhile ago, but now there’s picture proof.

Model3Guy posted the images on Instagram along with this:

“Crashed my Model 3 a while ago and I am excited to get it back next week! Thankful we were going slow and no one got hurt. Woopsy!”#itsonlyafleshwound#fail #tesla #teslamodel3 #model3

The damage appears rather minor and it seem the wreck likely occurred due to lack of traction issues.

Surely we’ll see some more major wrecks in the Model 3 soon enough. Let’s hope it holds up as well as the top safety rated Model S and X.

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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53 Comments on "Images of Wrecked Tesla Model 3"

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I’d like to know the details of the crash. I’m concerned about a RWD vehicle in snowy Michigan. Wondering if I should wait for the AWD version (or just pass on the Model 3).

RWD isn’t a problem, you just need a good set of snow tires. The center of gravity being as low as it is centrally mounted should make the EV RWD cars behave much better then a normal front engine RWD car.

Front engine, RWD cars suck in winter, speaking as someone who has spent many years driving them.

I’m with you, Kdawg (20 years in Denver).

But in the past my concerns have been dismissed as “different with Tesla weight distro”.

Hope they’re right. But now that we’re back in California, not an issue we have to worry about.

Think about it, why is an engine over the drive wheels important? I suspect that it is the weight. An electric motor isn’t necessarily as heavy as a ICE. It’s the Batteries that add the weight, and where are they?

Weight is a big part of it. I also throw lots of weight into the rear, which would help some, but the a55 would still try to slide out a lot.

I never have that issue w/my FWD cars. They just pull themselves through the snow & ice.

FWIW, having had RWD and AWD teslas, in snow, with and without snow tires, I would take a RWD car with snows over an AWD car without. Despite all the torque, I would bet Model 3’s rear axle shuts the power down just as effectively. For example, it is almost impossible to “have fun” stepping out the rear axle of a RWD S, with traction control on.

How about driving through deeper snow? With your RWD Tesla, were you able to push through 6-12″ of snow no problem? I run into this a few times w/the new snow, or stopping at an intersection where the plows have pushed a pile of deep stuff.

OK, now i’m watching YT vids. This one is impressive.

I just got stuck in snow with a RWD Tesla Model S with stud-less wintertires that were about 3 years old. It was a set of Pirelli, which has most advantages for those not driving a lot in snow. For those who driver a lot in snow there are better tires, for example for Nokian, but they do not last so long on asphalt / concrete with deeper traction and softer rubber. It is also possible to buy some kind of chains to attach to the wheels if you run into trouble.

M3 - reserved -- Niro/Leaf 2.0/Outlander - TBD

Remember those days of sandbags in the trunk before FWD.

Wouldn’t want RWD in MI. Luckily, here in sunny SD. Not bringing our M3 to mammoth.

The consensus of experts is that good snow tires are more important than AWD – but there is no denying that AWD / 4WD is better than 2WD in snow. This is especially true when the two drive wheels are in the rear. Statements that “RWD isn’t a problem” are simply off the mark, as RWD clearly is ONE of the problems.

I’m waiting for the AWD option.

I live in the Swiss mountains. I also made a roadtrip to the Northcape in Norway (way above the arctic circle). I
drive a mid 2014 S85 RWD and with good wintertires, it is NOT a problem.

I used to drive Audi quattro’s before and I was a bit hesitant. But in hindsight, those worries turned out to be unfounded. The low center of gravity plus Tesla’s very good traction control are more than good enough.

People that say “you must have AWD” are simply un-informed.

I would wait for AWD.

I’d move to Phoenix.

Oh I did. No more slipping and sliding. Much better range too. and I run on Solar PV from my home.

I actually like winter.. when the roads are plowed. 🙂

Michigan summers are already too hot for me sometimes. I don’t think I’d survive in AZ. Plus I’d miss the color green.

Right. Everything out there looks like a Georgia O’ Keefe painting. All orange and sandy colored with dead cattle skulls, dotting the landscape.

FWD Bolt would be an order of magnitude better than RWD Model 3. Either hold out for AWD or pass.

It’s all a function of where the weight is and having appropriate tires.

Best car I ever drove on snow was a 69 Beetle with snow tires. Nothing could stop it!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Wait for the AWD.

He’s got chains in the back, but not in the front. I bet proper tires on both ends would’ve prevented what ever happened.

Or a proper AWD or FWD car.

Exactly, why improve the traction at the back only? If the front won’t stick then forget about steering.

I see what happened.

The owner thought it was rear wheel drive.

No wonder he crashed.

AWD is worth the wait, if you can just hold out a little while longer.

I was thinking through the same question. I’ve driven many different RWD, FWD, 4WD vehicles over the past 30 years. Snow tires or not, RWD sucks in snow. This article verified what I already knew, I’m waiting for the Model 3 AWD. This may end up costing me 50% of the Federal Tax Credit, but it’s not that much of a hit when considering the costs of another set of tires plus the cost of switching them 2x a year. Storing and switching tires 2x a year is an expensive hassle and I still end up with inferior snow handling. No thanks, I’ll wait for AWD.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

How long is “a while ago”????

Trying to gauge how long the repair takes.

Hmm. Lets look at the evidence.
1. Snowy mountainous terrain.
2. Pine Forest.
3. Delivery made to an employee.
4. Earliest snowfall in November.
5. Driving on a road that they don’t go on to often (speculation).

Conclusion: Northern CA. Thanksgiving weekend, going to/from family dinner.

Further investigation indicates that it happened on December 5th.

So what if some new Model 3 owner totals their new 3? Would they have to go to the back of the line if they wanted to order a new one?

They probably would.

I think Tesla has in the past slotted buyers in.

My idea of wrecked and this blog’s idea of wrecked are vastly different. Lots of torque, lots of HP, RWD in the snow, what could go wrong? We’ll see plenty of Model 3 “wrecks” in the years to come.

He can use this as an opportunity to get rid of those horrid wheel covers.

Those are aerodynamic covers. More range, more efficiency, and you don’t look at them when you’re driving.

It doesn’t appear you’ve driven these cars. To my above comment, I’d add that you generally end up losing power as RWD faces snow, and in the middle of a turn you apply throttle.

If anything, it’s the boring response people want.

With ICE cars, and much slower mechanical (brake/fuel cut) response, you end up hearing or sensing the car “collect itself” after a slide has already begun.

It is astonishing there haven’t been more disaster stories with Tesla’s, considering many who get behind the wheel are coming from FWD, front-engined, Prius’…yet it hasn’t happened.

Indeed, for comments on them too 😉

Yes, they (moderators) did yank the Troll post that you replied to. Good timely response!

Those of you wishing for AWD thinking it’s going to make driving safer should think again. AWD just gets you into trouble in snow- gives you a false sense of security. What you want is a really good set of snow tires- actual snow tires, not all seasons- and some commonsense when driving. The low centre of gravity and the extra weight of the batteries are going to be a help for stability, not a hindrance.

So your conclusion is not to get AWD because it gives you a false sense of security? I’ve never had any issues with AWD in snow nor has it ever gotten me in trouble. It has helped a lot after being parked during heavy snowfall as 2wd with snow tires still spin a LOT.

“So your conclusion is not to get AWD because it gives you a false sense of security?”

Yeah. I think what you’re responding to is one of the worst bits of advice I’ve ever seen regarding cars, and that’s saying a lot!

Writing as someone who has driven in many a snowy Kansas winter in various cars with rear wheel drive and no traction control, I would love the significantly improved handling in snow and icy conditions with AWD!

Goes in line with the logic : ABS are terrible for safety because some people felt more secure about stopping abilities, thus they tailgate.

You ABS example proves you are a victim of marketing influence. Modern ABS in conjunction with ETC is a proven safety feature hence it is mandated now.

AWD is not a proven safety feature but is marketed like it is as important.

Mountain passes mandate snow tires in my area in the winter, but do not mandate awd.

You compare an old rwd vehicle pre traction control, so to be fair you would need to take an equally old awd vehicle and in addition to not having TC you would need to put the wrong season tires on it. In that case the awd car with the wrong tires really does not handle better in the snow. It will stop slower in the snow than a car with good winter tires (regardless of if the winter tire car was rwd). Same thing with cornering, the car with the better tires for the road conditions will be able to hold the corner better. The exception would be if you go out of your way to accelerate while turning but you shouldn’t do that regardless of your car’s drivetrain layout. Even in that situation an awd car with bad tires will understeer and slide into into the ditch very easily, and if it has a high center of gravity will likely roll.

I have seen this as an EMT many times. You really do not know what you are talking about despite all your posts.

Spinning to gain momentum does not cause this kind of crash. There is no evidence that this accident was caused by oversteer which most rwd cars are more prone to. Most Awd tends to understeer and you can just as easily crash with the wrong tires. Modern stability & traction control improves either (and also helps idiots who apply the accelerate harder when they start to spin) but with the wrong tires it only goes so far.

First vehicles in the ditch when it snows tend to be awd and 4wd trucks and suvs. Overconfident drivers with all seasons that have good enough traction to start but not stop or corner. Having lived in the rockies and midwest I would take a rwd car with the right tires before a 4wd or awd car with the wrong tires.

In addition, a Model 3 has more weight over the rear tires and stability control unlike old rwd vehicles from decades past that novice drivers could not control.

Personally, I’m not as worried about stability as I am about getting stuck in the deep stuff. I’m also worried about the a55 end drifting during a normal turn when the roads are slick.

The picture looks like Bourne’s curve on the Nevada side near South Lake Tahoe, CA (and right across from Bourne’s Meadow, famous from Ponderosa). If so, we haven’t actually had much snow here yet this season, but we had a few inches of ice and snow on Sunday, December 3 and this curve doesn’t get any sun so stays nasty. There were several accidents I saw that day and even slowly approaching a stop in my Subaru, I could feel it slipping that day. I would wait for dual motors personally, though chains and RWD EV should be okay if one knows how to drive in the snow.

News would be: First Reported Tesla 3 Totaled Before Thousands Can Even Reserve Theirs…

You didn’t actually read even the first sentence of the article, did you?

The Model 3 wasn’t totaled.

That is problem with RWD cars that occasionally go to the snow. Many people do that in California when they visit the mountains for the winter. None of those visitors would put on snow tires unless they live in the Sierra. So, for visitors, it is chains, AWD and careful driving that will get you thru.

In this case, RWD cars need extra care because chains are require on the drive wheel. But you would also need chains on the front tires for some traction in steering. With FWD, you can get away with just chains on the front. But with RWD, you almost need chains on both Rear wheel and front wheels. AWD with “good thread all season” tires and some careful driving could have easily survived this drive based on the picture.

FWD with chains on the front have no stabilty by the way. You very easily fishtail. Same thing if you have uneven tire wear – knowledgable shops will put the better tires on the rear for safety even if it is fwd. Winter tires on all 4 wheels is much better than chains in front.


I think the main point of AWD vs FWD or RWD here is missing.

I want my next M3 to be AWD because:

It add range.
It reduce tire wear.
It reduce brake wear.
It improve acceleration in all condition.
It reduce the wear on components, splitting the torque between two drive.
It provide a backup engine(depending on the software setup)

And no matter what, traction is mainly a driver ajustment and skill in the limit of the vehicle and condition.

I agree those are the same top reasons I would prefer an awd one.