Update On Tesla Model S vs Tractor Trailer Collision — New Pics & Details + First-Hand Account

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Since our first article on the subject garnered a lot of interest and discussion, it seems worth providing some more details on what happened, an excerpt from a first-hand account from the driver, and some new pictures.

As was clear in the pictures posted in the first article, the Tesla Model S in question clearly had some damage on its side, in addition to the damage on the back from the 40-ton semi-truck (the vehicle’s weight rating sticker was seen by the Model S driver) — this is apparently because the Model S was launched into the Ford Fusion in front of it, then pushed into the center divide, and it then collided with another car in the neighboring lane.

So, 4 vehicles were involved in the collisions, and the Model S hit every one of them.

The driver of the Tesla Model S, Mike Gardner, commented in a discussion with The Drive that the Model S may well have saved his life — that if he had been driving one of his or his wife’s sports cars, he wouldn’t still be living.

Before getting into that more, though, it should be noted here that the Model S in question was not outfitted with the optional rear-facing seats and the additional rear-structural integrity that is installed with them. It was just a normal Tesla Model S.

Now, here are some particularly good bits from the article by The Drive:

“Gardner credits his survival in part to the Tesla itself. ‘I’d be dead,’ said Gardner from his home in Fresno, Calif. Had he been in either his or his wife’s sports car, he says, he doesn’t think he would have survived. If it were his ¾-ton GMC truck taking the hit, he guesses he would have lived, but been seriously injured.

“He was able to walk away from this wreck with only minor whiplash and tightness in his shoulders and lower back, he contends, because of the Model S’s structural integrity and 1,200-lb. flat battery pack that likely prevented the truck’s grill from intruding into the vehicle.

“Gardner estimates that the heavily loaded truck was traveling between 35 mph and 40 mph when it rear-ended his sedan. The crash caused the two vehicles to overlap, and required two-trucks on each end to pull the two apart. When Gardner examined the damage, he found that his Tesla had ripped out the entire bottom of the trucker’s vehicle. The Volvo’s oil was dripping into the Model S’s trunk.”

So, about the comments made by some in original article that the tractor trailer didn’t seem to take much damage … take a look at this pic:

It’s clear that the tractor trailer didn’t just cut through the Model S like butter, like some have claimed.

Also, interestingly, the interior of the vehicle remained serenely “unscathed,” as seen here:

So, what’s the takeaway of all this? It’s clear that our first article on the subject was on the money — the Tesla Model S is a very “safe” car, and the high build quality may well have saved the driver’s life in this case.

Which leads to this final comment from the driver: “When I got home, my wife said we need to order Teslas for everybody else in the family… I told her I’d been thinking the same thing on the way home.”

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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