Tesla Model 3 With California Plates Spotted Outside Detroit Having Some Issues

Tesla Model 3


Model 3 dead in a parking lot trying to jump the car to get in

Well, this Tesla Model 3 made it all the way to Detroit, and it’s the first one we’ve seen in the area, but it seems there’s an issue.

We’ve seen and shared some pictures and videos of Tesla Model 3s outside of California, however, not very many. Remember, there’s only a handful of Model 3s out there so far and most are being delivered near the Tesla factory in Fremont, or perhaps the Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. Added to this, even though October has come to a close, we’ve received no word that customer deliveries are underway.

So, what the heck was a Model 3 doing in the land of the Big Three? Honestly, we have no idea. It must not like the cold weather though because as you can see, the owner has the frunk popped. The vehicle was actually noticed by Redditor XxRoyalxTigerxX. It was out in front of Busch’s in Canton, Michigan, which is not too far from the Detroit city limits. The uploader explained via the comment section of Reddit:

“Saw this Model 3 with California plates in Michigan, the car seems to be locked out and dead, and owner / possibly an engineer is trying to jump the car to try and open it.

Thought it was interesting that the car is able to lock him out once the battery gets low

Edit: he keeps leaving the hood open when he puts it down, so I think the car is completely locked out

Edit 2: I think the “jump” from the other car managed to open the frunk but the problem is it didn’t open the doors (again this is from what I saw from 20 minutes of observation, when I pulled up he was opening the frunk, and the other guy was closing his) if you look closely , under the headlight there are 2 black cables hanging , that come out of a little cover in the bumper”

Tesla Model 3

Another look at the car and XxRoyalxTigerxX’s view of the attempted “jump start”.

The comments on the /r/TeslaMotors Reddit feed go on and on and attempt to tell more of the story. We can’t verify the full truth of the matter and there’s much speculation on Reddit as to whether the Model 3 is, in fact, broken down or “locked”, but it’s hard to make such things up. It’s cold and rainy and the driver makes no attempt to get back in the vehicle and drive away. XxRoyalxTigerxX continued:

“He kept looking inside the car, and trying to what looked like push the door handles as if they were like toggle switches.

But not once did he open the car door.

Also he was getting in and out of the car that tried to help him jump it.

In about ~15 minutes he didn’t open the door once and he kept leaving the hood open, this all made it seem that the car was dead.

I didn’t approach him because I figured going ” hey buddy your car seems dead” didn’t seem like it was going to cheer him up

There other guy closed his hood after a failed attempt to get the car to open, but the picture wasnt that straight so I didn’t post it

Here’s the other car

He stuck around to let the guy sit in his car since it was about 40° outside and raining”

Interesting to say the least. What’s your take?

Source: Electrek, Reddit

Categories: Tesla


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80 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 With California Plates Spotted Outside Detroit Having Some Issues"

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This is just too easy. I’ll let someone else claim this one. Lol #TeslaReliability

Easy to spot… Fake photo planted by one of the ICE car manufactures. The first batch of 3 are for the employees with rear E motor. EVERYONE at Tesla should know that there isn’t an “engine” under the hood.

When you’re at the bottom, the only way is but up. I’m not sure if Tesla is at the bottom, though.

Oh, so you think that the driver of a Tesla Model 3 having problems with his car is such an unusual occurrence that it actually qualifies as “news”?

Well hey, I don’t think any model of car is that reliable, but if you’re that big a Tesla fan I certainly won’t argue with you! 😉


Says a lot when this big a deal is made over a single Tesla 3 with a problem.

I think the only thing it says is that people are desperate for any news on the Model 3. XP

Actually, it does say a lot.

The Fisker Karma’s fate was sealed when the sample tested by Consumer Reports bricked and got hauled away on a flatbed.


The spectacle of a dead/locked-out Model 3 is troubling to me, at least, particularly as winter approaches. Plus, this car is out of state, with no easy service recourse.

well, considering there’s like a single Model 3 on the road…

Or desperate to troll, cough MadBro, cough!

How does one “jump” an EV? Is that even possible?

12V, just like other cars. It’s the 48V micro-hybrids, that I’d wonder about strapping 12v to?

That said, no jump start ever filled a tank with gas.

Even all 48V micro hybrids at this point still have a a conventional 12V system to run most of the electronics. Thus, you’d still hook up to the 12V battery to start it.

Can’t get into the car to get my Booster cables if the 12V battery dies ??? this is “OUTRAGIOUS” #1 there shouldn’t even BE a 12V Battery In an EV to Begin with! If all is as they say here. it’s Very P00R engineering at Best! . If the 12V battery dies there should be a BACK UP Better Still Eliminate this 12 Volt Mickey Mouse SetUp!

This potential issue could be eliminated if there was simply a key to open the door as a backup. At least you could get out of the rain and cold!

The phone bluetooth/NFC card entry is the worst feature of the car. A keyfob with an emergency key is tried and true and reliable.

Real or fake, my biggest M3 concern is the monitor going black/blue while I’m in the middle of nowhere… at night.

^^ this.

And this is a good example of why KISS is a good approach to engineering.

“The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” — Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock”

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

AKA “Door handles”.

I agree that the “old school” physical key and lock is the best backup for any car, EV or not. The Ford Fusions have it, and I believe the Chevy Volt does, too. There is a plastic cap at the right side of the driver door handle that comes off, and the key is inserted in and turned.

Hmmm, do we really want 300 volts+ (with an amazing amount of amps behind that) running to the radio, door locks, windshield wiper motor, turn signal bulbs, system processors, dome light… etc., ummmmmm…prolly not. Think about this first, okay?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

o, you’re making an assumtion of never having a DC-DC Step Down.
All EV’s have a DC-DC Step Down to ~12.5VDC.

Everyone is saying if you have that and a 12VDC FLA, why even have an FLA?

So the traction battery can go into a hibernate/sleep mode for extremely low power drain when sitting idle.

Other answer: a lot of things in the car still run off the 12V system.

If you have multiple 80W seat heaters you need a 320W DC-DC converter. Or you can have a smaller converter and use the battery as a reserve to heat the seats, then fill the battery more slowly.

Other advantage: A lead-acid battery is relatively cheaply replaceable. If you run the traction pack down you have to replace it, if you run the lead-acid battery down you just recharge it or replace it for a lot less money.

“#1 there shouldn’t even BE a 12V Battery In an EV to Begin with! If all is as they say here. it’s Very P00R engineering at Best! ”

All EVs do for various reasons. It is FAR CHEAPER to have a 12V system right now to leverage all the interior electronic component. It is also a way to protect the main battery to isolate two system so a “jump” will power on the computer to wake up the rest of the battery system.

I had to jump my 2013 FFE several times when the 12V battery went bad. When the 12V battery dies the high voltage battery pack won’t energize. For most manufacturers many of the EV electrical components are borrowed for gas vehicles so the need for a 12V battery in an EV is going to be around for a while.

A lot of Tesla Ses needed jumps back when they had their lead-acid problems.

The lead-acid battery is needed to turn on everything else. A jump lets that happen.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous



(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Boy oy boy, good thing those fancyschmancy door handles were engineered the way they are……lol

He probably tried to install Kodi on to it…

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


You killin me man.

I’m losing confidence daily.

FYI, the nearest Tesla service center to Detroit is in Cleveland, 200 miles away.

Bet this owner is biting his tongue over the NDA he signed!

Good, buy another brand then. Thank you.

To buy Elsewhere may be the only alternative, Unless Tesla Smartens UP & Corrects these Knuckle Head Factory engineered Flaws. Other brands are looking Better & better as these Asinine engineering Flaws continue to surface.

Look. He is in Detroit. The guy sold the car and Tesla meerly updated the software so it won’t open the doors.

He was warned not to sell it. /SARCASIM

Actually that’s what happen, was going to sell it to a big 3 but got locked

“Saw this Model 3 with California plates in Michigan, the car seems to be locked out and dead, and owner / possibly an engineer is trying to jump the car to try and open it.”

Critical word in that statement: “seems”. A word so easily overlooked but it takes the entire story out of context of what others are interpreting.

All the reddit poster had to do was simply walk over to the person and ask. But he didn’t. So, he and we let speculation run wild. This is truly the essence of how “fake news” works.

OK, but why else would a driver stand outside in 40F rain at night, unless the car broke in some way?

How do you know he isn’t a car their trying to figure out how to steal it…?

I thought that the guy was a car thief, too. Maybe Tesla prefers that type of news than the “dead car” news.

Perhaps he was trying to steal it…?

NO NO NO the guy is white only colored people steal welcome to Trumpland.

Very thoughtful and well stated.

A situation as this might may entice certain people to open that car door with a Hammer A BRICK Or even a Rock! WTF are these engineers thinking?

Do they still use these ancient lead batteries that go dead on a whim in Model 3? I would expect something more contemporary from such “innovative” company.

You can’t really expect reliability from pre-production vehicle. I would not jump to conclusions about model reliability just because CEO decided to pump shares and declare “production” few months early.

There are Li-Ion 12V batteries for sale, but cost over $200 each. Would you want to pay an extra $200 for it or do you prefer a lead-acid classic that is still sold? Most (including all EV manufacturers) prefer the classic.


But.but.but? How about $100/kWh cells from Gigafactory??? They should be 4 bucks from Tesla, not $200. Economies of scale!

Lowly Hyundai hybrids get 12 V from a section of main battery, and you are telling us that for Tesla the ancient lead technology is cheaper?? It must be some conspiracy!

Exactly my thought. When you install a tone of Li-ion batteries, what’s the problem putting a few more for the 12V batttery?

Maybe it has something to do with voltage.
Li-ion cell has voltage between 4,2V and 2,7V. 4 cells would be enough.
But kipping them at a constant voltage for lifetime is not healthy. Lead acid has no problem with that.

I don’t get it, either. A few years ago on the now-defunct TheEEStory forum, it was reported that li-ion batteries were close to price parity with lead-acid in the application of car starter batteries, and predictions that they would soon go into production.

Yet here we are years later, and Tesla (along with every other auto maker) is still using lead-acid starter batteries!

What the heck is up with that?

Led Acid weigh a ton too!

What I’m wondering is if the ‘3’ has the 12 volt battery hidden with all kinds of junk on top of it, like on the “S”.

COuld be since it has a frunk.

Maybe the dude didn’t have the facilities to take the whole front of the car apart like you have to do on an “S” to change the – what is usually easy on most cars – changeout of the 12 volt battery?

Wow! Massive amounts of speculation here!! And not surprisingly from all the usual suspects.


This whole thing seems weird and intended to harm Tesla and the 3. The folks that are in the owner pool at this point would not act this way, right? This seems staged by a hater out to get Tesla. No one who would have a Tesla 3 as an owner, or a Tesla engineer, would be stupid enough to brick it, right? Who bricks their car? This is nonsense. Shame on you for carrying such a lame story.

So what seems more likely: 1. the car simply broke down with some electrical issue or 2. a conspiracy theory that some anti-EV group acquires a Model 3 to make it look bad. Come on, use a little common sense.

Note that very proactive manufacturers will be disproportionately impacted by such reports.

If you replace a part that other dealers would have left in place since it was “good enough”, they get a better rating than the guy who swapped out the motor “just to be sure”.

Your milage may vary.

Maybe the car itself doesn’t want to be in Detroit and the autonomous part of it is trying to block the driver from getting closer to Detroit?

Would you blame the car for thinking this way?

Oh god… Musk has been warning us about AI for years. It has been a coded plea for help! This is proof they are sentient!

He knows what the model 3 is planning, but he cannot stop it!

I for one welcome our new automotive overloards.

The observations in this blog post are clear.

Tesla rushed this out and is hurting the perception of the brand.

Makes me wonder if one of those guys selling their car on craigslist managed to find a buyer from a Detroit based car maker….

So when others speculate it’s bad but when you do it’s apparently alright.

Life’s grand when you’re a hypocrite!

I’m sure whatever the problem is it will be a suppliers fault 😀

Sorry, forgot the /sarc flag. It was a joke.

The pigtails that come out of the front bumper are only to pop the front trunk when the 12 volt power is dead. That is their only purpose.

After you get the front trunk open, you have to remove the plastic cowl in front of the wipers to access the main 12 volt cables for “jumping” the car.

If this guy was just fiddling with the front trunk release wires, no wonder he didn’t make any progress. This is all clearly explained in the Model 3 emergency responder’s guide found here: https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/2017_Model_3_Emergency_Response_Guide_en.pdf

I like the instructions on page 25 that explain if the external door handles do not function, open the doors by reaching inside (so you must break a window?) and use the mechanical release handle.

Raymond, you’re alive!

It’s for emergency responders. I doubt they are reticent to break a window.

Oh my! If REALLY a brand-new 12V battery dies on a Model 3 you have to pop out the tow-hook lid in the bottom left of the bumper and pull a red and black cable out of the hole. Then apply 12C DC to those cables to pop the frunk. Then take out “the plastic access panel” right in front of the driver to jump-start the dead 12V Battery located under there. That would restore the required starting power to unlock the car and actually start it.

But it could just as well be fake news, who knows, “in the lion’s den” so-to-speak…

Ha, VeeDubTDI was quicker 🙂

I can totally understand the people who indicate that maybe it shouldn’t be a big deal to see a single Model 3 broken down. Indeed this might be extraneous drama.

However the real shocking part is the people who are so entranced with Tesla that they feel this must be fake.

It’s not more likely that this is a person going out of their way to smear Tesla than it is that this car is actually broken down.

No, the shock is that a brand new technology already has problems. If the first IBM Personal Computer had problems in April 1981, would the world accept the PC at that time? IBM made sure its PC will be working for every buyer, and that is what makes a technology a “standard”.

There were certainly faulty IBM PCs in April 1981.

Well, Raymond, we can say with fair confidence that you were not old enough to have been using computers when the IBM PC was new. I can tell you, from personal experience, that there were plenty of early reliability problems with that model. It was also very pricey.

It still amazes me that Apple lost the competition for the business/home office desktop computer market to IBM and Microsoft. Apple had a clear lead in the field with the Apple II, and it’s amazing how completely they blew their lead, with the failure of both the Apple III and the Apple Lisa.

Tesla has the ability to monitor all cars, battery usage, mileage, location etc. I don’t think it is out of the possibility that these first cars were specifically banned from being stripped down by a third party and driving all the way to Detroit would be suspicious. Tesla could lock it remotely until they were able to send someone to investigate.

Good grief! Tesla required employees of Tesla and SpaceX to sign an NDA before taking delivery of a Tesla Model 3, an NDA prohibiting posting comments, pictures, or video to social media. But Tesla doesn’t have Big Brother out there following them around and making sure nobody drives a car on vacation, or to visit relatives or friends, out of State! Amazingly enough, some people do live in the Detroit area who don’t work directly for the Big Three.

The real story here is that, apparently, if there is an electrical failure in a TM3, there is no way to get into the car, because it relies entirely on electronic locks. No entry via mechanical key and lock is possible, because the car lacks mechanical locks. The KISS principle has very clearly been violated here; potential Model 3 buyers should take note.

Now, what we do not know is if this is one of the pre-production TM3’s, or if it’s a production unit.

Wow, I am actually NOT shocked about the fact that there might be defective battery to cause problems at this point (after all, all manufacturers would have problems at one point or another).

What I am really concerned is the fact that when those things do happen very rarely, the amount of “effort” it takes to gain access to the inside of the vehicle is beyond “reasonable” to me. Sometimes, I really wonder if Tesla understands how to keep it “simple” while trying to pursuit the ultimate coolness among buyers. That may be Tesla’s downfall for “thinking outside of the box too much” or pushing the limit too much just to stay in the spotlight. This might be one of those cases that come back to haunt them. (Falcon Door Fiasco repeat?)

“He kept looking inside the car, and trying to what looked like push the door handles as if they were like toggle switches.”

Unlike MS the M3 has mechanical door handles (spring loaded). The fat part has to be pushed in in order to hold the thin part of the handle. Either the description is inaccurate or the person doesn’t know how to open the door

Are you speaking from personal experience, or just speculating based on incomplete info?

If the door latches — or at least, the front door latches — worked mechanically, as you suggest, then I think there would be no need for the front doors to have an emergency mechanical release lever on the inside.

As I understand it, the TM3 door latches (at least the front ones) are electronic, not mechanical, despite the fact that the door handle itself pops out mechanically, rather than auto-extending electronically as in the Tesla Model S.

I cannot speak from personal experience. I’ve watched YouTube video clips of people opening TM3 doors. I wouldn’t describe it as “push the door handles as if they were like toggle switches.” For a MS it would be a good description.

I love my Model X. I will never go back to an ICE vehicle. It is nice to have a premium vehicle without the premium maintenance. We have reached a tipping point for EV’s and there is no turning back. So nice to have my Model X with a full tank every morning and not spend 10 minutes every week looking for a dirty gas station to fill the car. Just had the free one second upgrade on my 75 kWh. 0-60 from 5.9 seconds to 4.9 seconds. The Tesla Rangers come to your house vs wasting 3 hours going to the dreaded dealership where the sharks are! Lol!

Why is it having issues? He had the frunk open, no engine. Probably loading it up with groceries. Ice people think something is wrong because the hood is open! Remember no engine!

Look at the picture, dude. That is not how you put groceries in your car. As well you would not wait there for hours in the rain with the frunk open to observe your groceries until other people let you sit inside their car in the time you wait to further observe your frunk full of groceries…

It’s a stolen model 3 and Tesla shut it down as soon as it was reported stolen…BELIEVE ME