Ouch! The Mysterious Case of the Crashed Tesla Model S at Tesla’s Factory

It’s an image which either makes you cringe in sympathy, or laugh uncontrollably. Either way, a Tesla Model S luxury sedan ‘parked’ nose first into a sign at Tesla’s Fremont factory tells a tale that we suspect the owner of the unlucky car — and perhaps Tesla too — would rather forget.

And when we say ‘parked,’ we really mean ‘crashed,’ as the image below from Reddit user s1lentway shows.

In a post made yesterday entitled “So I Went to the Tesla Dealership Today and This Happened…,” the unfortunate car is seen with its front fender crumpled, front and rear passenger side doors open, and the one proud Tesla Store & Delivery Center sign now doing a very good imitation of Pisa’s most famous landmark.

Nightmare from Fremont: brand new Tesla Model S meets company sign.

Just a little context,” s1lentway continued in his post underneath. “We believe this is someone who just got their car. They must have been driving it for less than a minute and lost control, crashing right into the sign missing the show room glass windows only by a few inches. Not the way you want to start out driving a brand new $70K + car that took a few months to make for you”

On first glance, that appears to be exactly what’s happened. But look a little harder and as our eagle eyed Mark spotted, the car in question doesn’t look as perfectly pristine as a Tesla Model S fresh from the factory floor would look. Take in some more of the details, and a Californian white HOV-lane access decal can clearly be seen on the rear quarter panel closest to the camera. A decal which is only usually applied to a car after it’s been sold. Look even harder, and you’ll see some personal effects inside the car, telling us that the car most certainly isn’t new.

As you might expect, there’s been a lot of heresay on the Internet surrounding the real cause of the crash. At the moment, we’re not sure what caused the crash or who was behind the wheel. But we’ve heard some pretty crazy explanations which seem to have a tenuous link to the truth at best. Since we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of this low-speed boo-boo, we’re going to leave other sites to carry on the speculation until we have some solid facts to back the story up.

Whatever the cause, trying to explain to your insurance provider why your nice Model S got over-friendly with a large sign is going to be a tough one to explain.

Still, it could be worse: at least the car won’t have to be trailered anywhere for repairs and the owner can rest assured parts supply — that bane of accident repair — won’t be a problem in this instance.

It’s got us thinking though. We’ve all done silly things in our driving careers. I once managed to bottom out a Honda Prelude in a parking lot.

But what’s your dirty driving secret, electric or otherwise? Share your stories in the Comments below. And if you happen to know what caused the crash, get in touch!

(Photo Credit: Reddit User S1lentway Photo embedded from imgur)


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  • Gaskilla

    You can’t buy a white HOV sticker from the CA DMV until your license plates are issued, so yes this car did NOT get delivered the day this photo was taken.

  • Dennis Pascual

    Actually, one of the only things “some” dealers are good for is to expedite the delivery of the white (and green) stickers for eligible vehicles. The DMV has provided paperwork for dealers to sell cars with the stickers already provided, as long as the dealership has the VIN number. Unfortunately for Tesla buyers, they don’t do this for purchasers.nnnAs for this particular incident, subsequent reports had this as a case of driver confusion over the accelerator and brake pedal. It was further reported that the car was not “just delivered” as was previously reported….nnnStill, made for a heck of a picture in front of the Tesla Factory in Fremont,

    • Gaskilla

      Not true according to the DMV.nn7. Q: Are assigned license plates required before I apply for CAV decals?nnA: Yes. The vehicle must have permanent license plates assigned before CAV decals can be issued.nnhttp://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/decal.htm#q6

      • Dennis Pascual

        Gaskilla, that was the original procedure, and subsequently amended to allow dealers the ability to pre-register decals for new vehicles. nnhttps://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/cav_decal.htmnn”Effective September 16, 2013, dealers selling new vehicles that are eligible for white and green Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decals can obtain decals in advance of selling the vehicles. The CAV decals allow vehicles to be operated by a single occupant in the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes of Californiau2019s freeways. The CAV decals are valid until January 1, 2019, or until federal authorization expires.”nnnnThe FAQs were written for individuals and was not amended for the change.

        • Gaskilla

          I guess the dmv needs to update their FAQs. Thanks for the info. I got my EV in 2012 before this rule change. I have seen some Teslas with white HOV stickers on without license plates so I can only guess some Tesla service centers off this as an option.

          • Dennis Pascual

            We got a couple of EVs before the rule change, and the Model S after the change in the rule, and Tesla did not pre-order the sticker for us. nnnI know of a couple of guys from the Orange County TMC that have their stickers but continue to drive without their plates on. So, that’s not always a good guide, for that.nnnAs for the DMV, that’s why I have an Auto Club membership, I try to do as much there, rather than at the DMV.

          • Gaskilla

            Did you put your front plates on? I’d love to get a model s (it’s a bit out of my price range) but attaching a front plate kills the looks of the car (as it does to most vehicles) so I don’t think I’d put the front plate on if I could avoid it

  • u010eakujem

    From what I can ascertain over the last few months, the Tesla Model S appears to be a superbly engineered vehicle.nTesla Model S drivers on the other hand…

  • vdiv

    As a rather new 17-year-old driver many moons ago I was backing out of a spot. I was all twisted and looking through the rear window and saw a white Buick coming. Instead of stepping on the brake I stepped on the accelerator slamming the rear right corner of my car into the Buick’s driver door making a loud crashing sound with the window shattering. The lady driving the Buick was physically alright, but was in a mad panic. Really felt horrible, refused to drive for days afterwards.nnTo this day I prefer to back into a spot.