Tesla Model S Gets Rear Ended – Damage to EV Virtually Undetectable


Some Tesla Model S owners, especially those with the rear-facing jump seats, have been concerned over the safety of the two rearmost seating positions.

Meanwhile, This Vehicle Appears Totaled

Meanwhile, This Vehicle Appears Totaled

Well, as these two photos show, that concern is likely unwarranted.

Tesla Motors Club member Rutgers of the Netherlands posted the photos you see here, along with this translated (via Google Translate) description, which we’ve edited a bit for clarity:

The rear vehicle seemed a total loss. Tesla stated that the parking sensors [of the Model S] have failed.

Police, ambulance, towing and Rijkswaterstaat [part of the Dutch ministry of transport], the whole circus was plucked. 

Berger [senior ministry of transport advisor] called Tesla a “tank”,  with optically very little damage.

[The Model S] still drove fine, trunk was still [able to] open and close.

Of note is that this particular Model S did not have rear-facing seats, so therefore it did not have the second frame reinforcement bar in the rear.

Source: Tesla Motors Club

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla


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26 Comments on "Tesla Model S Gets Rear Ended – Damage to EV Virtually Undetectable"

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It is a Tank 🙂

Indeed. 2.1ton

The lighter the vehicle, the higher the morbidity and mortality rates typically are for such vehicles.

Audi A8, that has also aluminium frame, weights 2.2 tons. So it is EVEN HEAVIER than same sized Model S.

Unbelievable, the contrast of damages from each side. Seems Tesla engineered the back right.
(And glad to see it’s not one of those tiniest-impact-and-complete-bumper-destruction cars that everyone else seems to be making these days – not structurally, of course – the fragile shell they put over top and charge ridiculous amounts to repair/replace)

..or the other car was just made of aluminum foil. 😉

Actually, its the aluminum (cracks) in the Tesla I’d worry about. Without crumple, energy transfers.

Carfax is useful, for incidents just like this.

Tesla has crumple zones, in fact the entire frunk is a crumple zone.

All you have to do is look at NHTSA Model S crash videos.

It just takes more energy to crumple a Tesla frame.

The power of lightweight, high strength, space shuttle/military grade aluminum. It’s whats going on the 2015 F-150. Which is why Ford stated one of the benefits will be less dings and dents to repair, which should lower insurance premiums.

Do you really believe that it will reduce repair costs? Aluminum is difficult to weld and shape, which is one reason we’ve stayed with steel for so long. I think this will end up increasing repair costs because of all the new equipment the body shops and dealerships need to fix the damage.

I beg to differ, aluminum is not difficult to weld. It is only more challenging because it doesn’t change color as it heats up and melts as iron and steel do.

IMHO, someone who says aluminum is difficult to weld, simply hasn’t welded enough aluminum.

I stand corrected. I like the title of one site on a related search: “Welding aluminum isn’t difficult, just different.”

I have held the panels in my hand (we still have a bunch of them). They don’t seem any more resistant to dings than the sheet metal ones I’ve held before. However I didn’t hit them w/a tack-hammer, as I don’t think Ford would appreciate that.

Except it weighs 2.1 ton. Not exactly light weight

Audi A8 weights 2.2 tons.

Audi is AWD.

I wonder if the anti-ev group will spin this into regenerative braking will cause more accidents.

The break lights go on when in regenerative brake mode.

On my i-MiEV, even on “B” mode (high regen braking), the brake lights don’t come on. Great for tailgaters. 😉

Most people would think “visible” damage is all that matters.

That is NOT true. Although it seems that Model S faired much better from the picture, I am willing to bet the rear bump is bend underneath the cover. That would require some repairs althought it might NOT “look bad”.

Many times, I have friends who demonstrate how good their cars are after some minor crash b/c they can’t see any visible damages. But I have always managed to show them how the fender lines typically don’t match which means that there is underneath damages that is NOT visible due to the cover and various of plastic bumper covers that hides the frame/bumper damages behind the cover….

Until we have a damage report from insurance company, it is “naive” to use a visible photo as indication of how “bad” the damage is. Of course, the damage is definetly more severe in the car that ran into the Model S….

Also, this looks the car behind plowed into the Model S. As the car plowing forward, it typically mean the car has dipped with some kind of braking. In those cases, the radiator of the car behind met the bumper of the Model S. The worst agains the best usually means the worst part loses.

If it was a pickup truck/SUV vs. Model S, it would have been different b/c it would have been the bumper of the SUV/Pickup truck against the trunk of the Model S.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT saying that Model S is NOT superior in safety. But one accident without more details are rarely a determination of how safe a car is overall… I would take the Model S anyday…

So that old POS car rear ended the model s and thats the damage that occurred? Amazing.

Hey, the headlight is still working 😛

Exactly the same with my Bimmer last year, so this is not unique for Tesla. The lightest car is deformed first. If the energy is large enough the heavier cart should also deform. Otherwise people will die in the MS when rear-ended by a larger vehicle.
Barely visual damage does not mean the car is undamaged.

The bimmer does not have a double rear bumper system, like the Tesla…

First: not a naysayers, have test driven the Tesla.

Not saying the Tesla is not safe,just that the above pictures are exactly what should be expected when a small car crashes into a bigger one, single bumper or not.

However, Tesla are compromising: the more deformation, the better for people in regular seats. With increased stiffness in the rear end due to installed jump seats deformation is reduced at the cost of increased impact energy into the car. This will most probably only be an issue when the energy becomes high (large vehicle or speed).

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