Kid Starts Tesla Model S Inside Mall – Strikes A Stroller, Baby Not Injured


According to Car News China, there was an incident this past weekend at a mall in China involving a five-year-old kid, a Tesla Model S and a baby in a stroller.

Fortunately, everyone is okay, but the event has led to an investigation by the local police.

Per Car News China:

“It happened Sunday in the Tongzhou Wanda Plaza Mall in Tongzhou District in the far-eastern suburbs of Beijing. Tesla had hired a booth in the mall, showing off a red and a white Model S.”

“The booth was open for all to enter, and the cars were open too, for all to enter. Most amazingly, the cars were switched on to show the fancy dashboard electronics. The engine was off, but that was not enough to stop a five-year old boy.”

“He got in the white car, sat on the driver’s seat, and on 13:55 exactly managed to start the car. It moved forward six meters and crashed straight into a red stroller with a baby inside. The stroller fell over and the baby fell out. Very fortunately the baby was unhurt. The stroller can be seen just to the north of the white Model S. The mother and child, no doubt shaken and scared, can be seen sitting in front of the book-like display.”

Wooden Block In Place - Image Via Car News China

Wooden Block In Place – Image Via Car News China

Even prior to the incident, Tesla had taken some preventative actions, but apparently they weren’t enough to prevent the vehicle from being moved:

“Tesla had taken the following measures to prevent the cars from being started and moved: a wooden block was stuffed under the brake pedal (the brake needs to be engaged for the car to start) , and there was a sticker on the touch screen saying ‘do not touch’. The wooden block can be seen on the picture of the red car. Tesla personnel on the booth said the same measures were in place in the white car, but that was obviously not good enough.”

This incident could have been easily avoided.  It should not be possible to engage any drive gears on a vehicle inside a mall.  There’s surely a function buried (accessible with a technician’s code) in the Model S’ touch screen that allows the car to be set up so that it’s in display/non-moveable mode.

Car News China concludes that this incident shows how “amateur” Tesla was:

“A brake block and a sticker was all Tesla did. They didn’t disable the accelerator, they didn’t disconnect any flying-by-wire wires, they didn’t put the electronic handbrake on, and they didn’t put any blocks in front of the wheels. Amazing amateurism, and extremely dangerous. That baby could have been dead.”

Tesla has not yet offered comment on this matter.

Source: Car News China

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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54 Comments on "Kid Starts Tesla Model S Inside Mall – Strikes A Stroller, Baby Not Injured"

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Even if the block was removed, his feet would not be able to reach the peddles. Someone else started that car IMO.

Creep Mode.

But how do you start it, by pressing the brake, if you can’t reach the brake?

FUD! Tesla spends $0 dollar in marketing & advertisement. This must be a Ford, made to look like a Tesla.
Tesla demand in China is off-the-charts. Elon told me that. Why will Tesla keep two cars parked in the mall when they can’t keep up with demand? FUD.

Quick, short Tesla!

Yeah, it would have taken a genius to see ST comin on this one. Wow, what a surprise ST! Always quick witted and intelligent.

Probably not the first time a car was unintentionally driven from a mall display. Probably not the last time either.


Or maybe Elon’s worse fears have become true and Tesla’s latest over-the-air software update made the car self-aware. It could have been trying to escape the mall.


Destroy all humans…LOL

I think starting with the smallest humans it can see is a bit cowardly 🙁

Surprised they don’t have a hidden “display” mode that can be engaged that essentially locks out the ability to do any driving.

I’m surprised the fob within range of the car.

Well, they say all publicity is good publicity, I guess. I hope so, anyway.

But there are some more firings on the way. Musk will not be pleased.

Unless… it wasn’t a baby but a very short stuntman…

The wooden block safety measure is not acceptable.

Tesla should have a software solution for this. They need to have a “Demo Mode” which locks out the motors when the cars are on display. There has long been a calling to have “Valet Mode”, maybe the two modes could be a hybrid/optional.

That said, I hope this is a legit report (hate to be skeptical), because the wood block looks almost photoshopped.

would have thought that common sense would have called for the hand brake to be applied!
WHO here doesn’t apply the hand brake when they park their car?


Is there a “Display mode” for an ICE car when it’s shown in the malls?

This should read “Technology so easy to use, even a 5 year old can manage it…..”.

+1 L 🙂 L . There isn’t anything on earth that cannot use some spin…

This indicates why so much job turnover at Tesla China so far. I mean – turn on the car and place a block under the brake pedal?!!!

Yes, they typically take the cables off of the battery leaving the vehicle utterly disabled.

Of course the electronic brake was on, it’s automatically on when the car is in park. For the car to move the following things have to happen:
1. Driver seat occupied (there is a sensor in the seat).
2. Put foot on brake.
3. Move shift lever to drive or reverse.
4. Put foot on accelerator (unless creep mode is on).

It’s unlikely a 5 year old could do this, especially as in the photo his foot doesn’t reach the brake pedal.

Have you ever handled a real live five year old? You’d be amazed. It probably went like this:

1) Oh, that block doesn’t let me press that, let’s move it. This is easy, I’m little and can easily get close to it.

2) Good, now I can press it. I’m not sitting down by the way, I’m five and I don’t sit still. I’m standing, hanging from the steering wheel.

3) This lever looks like business, let’s see what it does…

Creep mode did the rest.

No, the pressure switch in the seat has to be engaged and the brake pressed at the same time in order to put the car in gear. If you’re not sitting in the seat, pressing the brake doesn’t do anything.

What if dad was in the driver’s seat?

And blamed it on the kid? What a cr@ppy father.

Kid stands up, leans hands on seat, foot on pedal…

They need to leave the cars plugged in. As long as the charge port is connected, the car cannot move.


That’s what they did with the LEAF displays at the ride and drive events in 2010.

They had a 120v EVSE padlocked to the charging inlet. Quick and easy.

This is not a foolproof solution. Some 6 year old would have taken the charge cord out.
The problem is that there are just too many people & kids in China/India to keep an eye on everyone around the car.

I suggest, Tesla invent square wheels (an U-shaped tire) to put on the showroom models.

If you lock the EVSE (thorough the little hole in the handle), then it should be fairly fool proof.

Well, there’s stupid comments, and then there’s a See Through comment.



Simpler yet, don’t keep an RF key fob within range of the car it operates.

Don’t over think the problem.

How will they keep the car plugged-it in? Did you not hear Elon speak about charging problems in China?

The only end that needs to be plugged in to disable the car is the end connected to the car… the other end doesn’t need to be plugged in.

Don’t confuse See tRoUgH with any facts, he is just a mindless vulture circling the sky (or trolling here) hoping that Tesla dies.

Thanks you! Much appreciated for my introduction. I’m doing very well; thanks for asking.

S/he’s been asked if s/he works in either the Big Oil or ICE manufacturing industries and never answered the question.

So as far as I’m concerned, there’s the answer.

but then people will trip over the charge cord!

At any rate, Donald Trump should give those Tesla employees a call: “You’re Fired!”

Could have been much much worse. I hate to agree with a Chinese propaganda rag, but amateurish – it was.

Still no autobreak system in the Tesla.

How long do they need to develop a reliable system? It’s not rocket science…

Surely they could program a ‘showroom’ mode or something that immobilizes the car. Fail to spread around on this one.

How stupid. It was enough just to plug the car somewhere, would never let anyone drive with the cord attached, skeeping demo mode activated with a code.

my lord this is so stupid! fire those idiots

Why was the keyfob inside the vehicle??? Id be afraid a kid (or adult) would take it for sure. Considering how it looks like a Tesla matchbox car.

They wanted the display on for people to look at. Otherwise this wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

Ah China, the Florida of the world… I’m flying there in a couple of months…

Wait a minute, at least in Florida we don’t kill baby girls because we want a baby boy.

True, you shoot girls AND boys!
Get some gun control you muppets!

This is a real oversight. I brought up the idea of a “safe demo mode” to Tesla Manhattan when I realized similar dangers there, I think we even reached out to the “mothership” about it a couple of different ways.

Tesla isn’t perfect, but lacks attention to detail sometimes. I’ll work more closely with them.

The U.S. Tesla display standard seems to be to always have Model S charging on level one from underneath to power everything and was to flip the remote battery over after daily setup before that and to put it away.

There still were a few dangerous moments that way.

Did anyone else notice the Tesla pictured seems to already be missing it’s chrome steering wheel logo? Shameful. We have to also be ready for that sort of thing.

The baby in the stroller must be a boy because if it were a baby girl this would not be a story….some Chinese states value boys over girls.

I don’t know…there’s clearly something very fishy about this story, there are Model S all over the world without such ridiculous incident…after all, this is China, where passengers are known to open up doors on a plane.

the baby hacked the car