Tesla Model S – Life-Saving Electric Car


The world’s safest vehicle gets struck by a massive tree, yet the car is largely intact and the two occupants are okay.

The story, via Tesla Motors Club forum, goes something like this…

A mother, with child in the car, was driving on a cliff road above a lake when a landslide occurred. The landslide fell a massive tree, which landed right on top of the Model S.

The Tesla Motors Club forum poster (yobigd20) states:

“…if that was any other car, first the tree would have crushed them (remember, the Model S broke the NHSTA crush test machine because it can withstand a massive crush load)…”

We can’t say for certain that any other car would’ve been crushed by the tree, but the photos do clearly show that the Model S held up extremely well while under the load of the tree.

Most importantly, the mother and child were okay.  No injuries were reported. And it appears as though the Model S did save their lives.

Tesla Model S Frontal Damage

Tesla Model S Frontal Damage

Tesla Model S Rear Damage

Tesla Model S Rear Damage

Source: Tesla Motors Club via Green Car Reports

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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29 Comments on "Tesla Model S – Life-Saving Electric Car"

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What kind of world is that where the nature attacks a green car…

Just kiddin, glad everyone is safe!

The tree tried to hug back 😉

Nature is like a toddler hugging a cat. “now remember to be gentle”

A US congress tree.

i’m disinclined to believe the hyperbole from a poster on a tesla forum. an impact from above is not the kind of impact for which the battery pack structure would provide much protection. from the photo it looks like the passengers in this car were very lucky as it appears that the primary impact points were in front of and behind the passenger compartment. that had to be a really scary episode for the passengers in that car!

Did you even read the article?

Nobody said anything about the battery pack having saved the lives of the people inside that car. It was the extremely strong cabin structure which did. The reason Tesla’s car broke the NHSTA crush test machine is not because it has a battery pack on the underside of the car!

I’m missing some things in the news like:
Did the fire fighter use fuel motor saws?! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Elon already twittered and deleted again something like
– “Tesla electric motor saw coming, needed to reach all stars when the next crash test specs revision comes up.”
– “Stickers saying “Don’t use fuel motor saws to save me, save the environment instead!” available from November.”


But as already said: The tree didn’t really hit the part where the passengers where. So you can’t really say anything about safety compared with other cars.


Ya’ll aren’t looking very closely. It’s hard to say for sure how much load was felt at various places in the car but it is clear the hood, roof, and rear lid experienced load. The damage looks more significant on the hood and rear lid (and windshield) but those are not design for loads and they would experience significantly more damage than the roof under similar loads. There is very clearly damage from load to the roof and it’s hard to imagine the loads on the hood and rear lid being significantly less than the roof given the roof is most exposed and in such close proximity.

We would need more detail to know for sure but to assume the strength of the roof helped saved the occupants appears a reasonable conclusion.

The tree hit dead center of the car. A normal car would have been crushed much further. The tree looked big too.

It looks like a relatively small limb hit the car dead center. The tree trunk went over the car, missing it and hitting the wall and road. The wall and road absorbed the impact and stopped the tree trunk. The Tesla roof ain’t strong enough to protect its occupants from a direct hit by a massive trunk like this one. The occupants were lucky. If the tree impacted a couple of feet over it would have been lights out.

Why don’t admit that you didn’t really understand the article b/c you actually thought the battery supposedly protected the occupants?

the reason why i mentioned the battery is because the battery structure provides enhanced protection in side impact collisions. this was an impact from above, not from the side.

Wow! That tree is so large it makes the (luxury-sized) Model S look like a kiddie car.

The article says:

“We can’t say for certain that any other car would’ve been crushed by the tree…”

We can’t say for certain that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning, either. But the odds are pretty good! 🙂

There is one thing about which I have no doubt whatsoever: That mother is very glad that she and her child were in a Model S rather than another car!

I’m a Tesla fan but this is pure confirmation bias in action. Other cars CERTAINLY could have had a
The same outcome. We would never know unless this could be repeated

It amazes me how a couple people can claim that the vehicle was struck where there weren’t any passengers.

If that’s true, then why is the middle of the top of the car significantly dented in? You know, right where passengers sit underneath. And I suppose they also chose to ignore the occupant’s account of the incident? 😛

Thankful those deniers are not designing cars…

Repeat customer…check.

It’s good to be rich, as usual. A Kia would’ve been an oily patch in the road after that.

The quality of the comments posted around here have really gone downhill. There is always YouTube for folks who refuse to engage brain before typing.

I would hope that we could all agree that we are happy that the Mother and her Daughter were unhurt.

i think the disagreement is over the crazy assertion that the tesla singularly saved their lives. i look at those photos and conclude that the passengers in that car were extremely fortunate; had the trunk of that tree landed about 8 feet over and made a direct impact on the roof of that car (instead of on the trunk), i’m not sure that the outcome would have been so relatively good.

Both front hood and rear of the car were severely damaged. The tree clearly hit the roof directly, while branches damaged front and rear glasses. Deny as much as you want, but Tesla is a very safe car.

Most modern cars are.

Survival chance in any other modern car would be 99.999999999% too.

Yes, most modern cars are safe, especially when compared to older cars. However, Tesla Model S is almost certainly the safest car produced and this incident only reinforces this.

The only things this incident reinforces are dumb luck and fate.

The meaning of that sentence is fuzzy. It reminds me of the old triptych poem:
“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?”

Though if you replace reinforces with demonstrates then the sentence would make sense. Of course it would still be wrong.
But keep trying.

Broken rolling machine is clear indicator that Tesla can withstand forces greater then any other passenger car out there that would come under same testing regime. Nor Tesla nor testing institution stated otherwise. Tesla used that in advertisement statements few times too.

Tesla S is designed in a way here front and back of the car are used as crumble zones. They are DESIGNED to compress, as such action will sap force out of impact. Which also mean that front and back of Tesla S is “softer” then middle of the car (which by the way can withstand 4 other Tesla S stacked on top!)

With above in mind, provided picture is not strange. Front heavily dented AS IT SHOULD DENT. Middle part / roof lightly affected AS IT SHOULD.

Compliments to Tesla and Space X designers! (Yes Tesla S shared some manufacturing techniques with rockets!)

However this says nothing about other cars performance under similar accident.

Maybe USA incident-response forces provide detailed statistics on road incidents? If so, can somebody knowlegable check if there is statistics on cars hit by trees? (As opposed to cars hitting trees obviously).

Electric cars (Volt in this case) can also survive flash floods/mudslides. And no one got electrocuted!


“World’s safest vehicle” seems to be quite a stretch. Many armored vehicles have much stronger superstructures, and they are, of course, a “vehicle”. Maybe “consumer sedan” is more like it?