When Lightning Strikes A Tesla Model S – Video

JUN 2 2015 BY MARK KANE 20

Current button-actuated connector

…now what?

May ended with blast for one Tesla Model S owner who experienced a lightning strike somewhere around the car at the Tesla Supercharger in Columbus, Georgia (see video below).

According to the video description (and story on Teslarati), the Model S went nuts and was unable to disconnect from the charging station.

Sarah Day, Model S owner and video uploader, stated:

“Lightning struck near my Tesla while supercharging. The car went nuts and the 12v battery almost died. It couldn’t even be towed because the supercharger cable couldn’t be disconnected.”

“I heard the crash, and just a second or two after about 9 errors popped up on the dashboard. Some of them were low charge warnings, saying it would disable some functions. Others were on how the car needs to be serviced. I was also getting that the car can’t be charged, and that the 12 volt battery is low.”

“After the storm died down I got out of the car. The charging port wasn’t lit up, and when I tried to remove the cable it wouldn’t come out. I still had most of the functions in the car, including the touchscreen. The other car that was charging just a couple stalls down from me was completely fine and drove away, though I didn’t get to talk to that owner afterwards.”

Well, when you can’t disconnect the car and see bunch of errors with low 12 V battery, then you’ve got a problem.

“Sarah called Tesla but had trouble getting through due to high call volume. The company agreed to send a tow truck, but before it got there, the 12 volt battery failed and the touchscreen shut down. When the tow driver arrived, he attempted to charge up the battery but it took two attempts before the touchscreen came back to life. Even then, the charging cable still would not disconnect from the car. Sarah couldn’t get the sunroof to close, either.”

We are hoping to get more info on this to see what actually happened to the car, but a big positive is that, according to Sarah, “Tesla customer service was amazing“.

“The local Tesla service center will send a technician Monday morning to get the charging cable disconnected and bring the car in to be checked over. Sarah was told that each Supercharger has multiple relays and sensors to protect the cars from surges. At this point, she has no explanation for why her car was disabled, but expects a full report on Monday. She has complete confidence in Tesla service personal to identify the problem and get her car functioning properly again.

“They usually are pretty thorough with their descriptions of what went wrong. I’m hoping that it’s something simple. The technician in Marietta says the car may have sensed the large external voltage spike and disconnected everything as a safety precaution, but I don’t know if that would cause the charging port to malfunction.”

Source: Teslarati via Jalopnik

Categories: Tesla

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20 Comments on "When Lightning Strikes A Tesla Model S – Video"

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But how did he upload this video from 1955?

I see what you did there 🙂

There is a triple feature at our local cinema on October 21, 2015 🙂

1.21 Gigawatts!

Charging + thunderstorms = no

This owner found out the hard way.

What happened?

Ah great. This will now be added to the list of dis-information by the EV fear mongers.

At least it did not catch fire like these ICEs



Good thing she was in the car at the time.

(This website won’t let me type at all, must be the ads).

Hopefully, the car is under warranty and they won’t consider this an “Act of God”, but more like a normal eventuality that should be fixed since a customer is expected to be able to use a supercharger.

But to avoid this complication it may be prudent to disconnect charging cables of any ev’s during thunderstorms.

Tesla should install lighting arresters in supercharging sites as a precautions

I always unplug our Leaf and Volt when a thunderstorm rolls in. Here in Texas I have learned the hard way. I don’t just unplug the cars, I unplug all of my computers and I even shut off the breakers for the EVSE, air conditioner, etc. I have had lightening strike a tree in my yard TWICE since living here and it fried all kinds of electronics in my house. I’m not taking a chance with the cars.

Can’t say enough about using common sense when charging outside in bad weather.

Surge suppression and arrestors will only get you so far, before fate conspires against you. When in doubt: unplug until the lightning passes…

That’s a misleading headline. Lightning did not strike the Tesla. It might have struck a nearby transformer or power line, but it didn’t actually strike the Tesla.

“Sarah couldn’t get the sunroof to close, either.”

Why the heck was the sunroof open during a rainstorm? If Tesla has devised a way to keep rain from pouring through an open sunroof, then those falcon-wing doors on the Model X might not be such a bad idea after all. 😉

She managed to open the sunroof after the air conditioning failed. She put a towel in the crack to keep the water out.


then she’s a moron. A towel cannot absorb infinite water, so it’s a poor solution. If her AC fails maybe she should have just sucked it up got over it. My car doesn’t even HAVE AC.

It was Nikola Tesla giving the car an instant supercharge from the heavens, but the Model S couldn’t handle the power!

Need a Model Z …. (for Zuess)

“When Lightning Strikes A Tesla”

That’s a metaphor for Nikola’s inventive genius, right? 🙂

It was the Grove City Supercharger site near Columbus, OHIO.

I wasn’t aware of Supercharger in Columbus. Did they mean to say Macon?

Easy, they should have CNTL-ALT-DEL, it would have rebooted…