Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 9: Safety and post-crash follow-up

This is one part of the review I was not expecting to write, yet events would have it another way. Back in April, while on our way to kindergarten and work, a pedestrian suddenly stepped into the street (just ahead of an SUV on my left). With one bad option, and the other significantly worse, I opted for the bad one, and veered right, ending with the front end planted into a lamp-post. My quick reaction resulted in no serious damage to anyone, though the front end did suffer more than a little:

Before continuing, I’ll point out that, though TACC* was enabled, Auto-Pilot was not. I don’t think TACC did anything, though it is hard to be completely certain about that – and that is really beside the point; hazards moving from the side is one of the well-established weak points of the TACC/AutoPilot. The crumple zone at the front did exactly what it was supposed to; it crumpled, taking the hit in a predictable and safe manner. The seat belt tensioners deployed, as did the airbags. Immediately after the impact, the emergency lights activated.

With the possible exception of the latter point, these are all things that you expect to happen. What I didn’t expect was what happened next. A few minutes post-impact, and after we had ascertained that everyone were safe and sound, my phone called. The person on the other line was a representative of Tesla, who said that their systems indicated that there had been a crash, and asked the following questions, in the following order:

  1. Is everyone OK?
  2. Do you need medical assistance?
  3. Is there anything we can do for you? Call a tow truck, notify the authorities?

From what I’m told, this is not necessarily something they always do, but I was still very impressed that they did it in my case. It made me feel valued and taken care of as a customer. The car was taken away to a body shop, and ten days later, I got an email from another Tesla employee, this time from the Bodyshop Repair team, who told me that the car was listed as out for repair, and that I could contact them should I have any questions. Once more, I felt valued and taken care of as a customer.

After two and a half weeks, the bodyshop had an appraisal ready, and had already ordered parts from Tesla. The appraisal estimated parts and labour costs to the tune of just under NOK 300’000, the bulk of which is the battery pack, which I have learned is swapped out following any incident where the airbags deploy. Having learned this, I immediately reached out to the bodyshop repair team at Tesla, asking them what (if anything) they could do to expedite parts delivery. That done, it became a waiting game.

The battery pack and drive unit ship as one unit, meaning that, not only did I get a new battery pack, I also got a new drive unit. In addition, as the airbags deployed, a new dashboard was also on order, as was a new set of rear-facing child seats (as the kids were in the seats at the time of the crash).

All in all, the car was in the shop for just over two months. After picking it up, it needed to go back into the shop a couple of times in order to correct some minor issues, such as steering wheel alignment (I had to cant the wheel by about ten degrees to the left to go straight) and wiper blade stroke. After those issues were fixed, however, the car behaved in every way as well as it had previously.

TACC: Traffic Aware Cruise Control






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