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Do you think the Tesla Model S is dangerous to other motorists?

It's great that a Model S is incredibly safe to its occupants. But what if its weight, acceleration, and low center of gravity, makes it excessively dangerous to anything in its way?

Any thoughts?

Low center of gravity is an advantage for control. Lots of vehicles with similar or more mass. Acceleration is a double edged sword. An advantage for accident avoidance but a hazard if used without care.

mclary...the point is does it matter what happens to others in crashes or only to those driving in a model S. Maybe the answer is no. What do you think?

So given SUV sales for safety reasons being the largest justification of them I ever hear to ignore everything else wrong with them, it seems perfectly reasonable to bill your car as safer because it'll kill everybody but you.

In fact a few news articles where SUV owners die in crashes with Teslas will drive the waiting list into 2016 I'm sure.

If the stock price starts going down I'm sure the shareholder owners will start crashing into SUVs at 100mph to boost demand. :)

While I do care about what happens to occupants of another car in an accident, I am most concerned about the lives/well being of my family members in any car I purchase, be it a Tesla, Volvo, etc.

Sorry if the model S is like a tank. I want my family in the tank and I will drive responsibly enough to try to keep from being in or causing accidents.

Technically if my science serves me correctly... crumple points absorb energy from the crash making it safer for both car in the accident. Model S will absorb the energy and not put as much into the vehicle being hit.

While it's admirable to be concerned for the occupants of the other car, if that truly is of paramount importance to you I implore you to ride a motorcycle. You'll get 80mpg, very little carbon emissions and if you hit anybody there's a 99.8% chance that they will be unharmed.

At 100+ mph, all bets are off on safety features.

+1 Sudre_

Also, a car that allows for quicker response by the driver can help avoid accidents altogether. Model S is safer for everyone all around.

Sudre_ is absolutely right. These are transportations not weapons. The fact is all current passenger cars are made safer by features like seat belts, air bags, ABS, traction and stability controls, crumple zones...without imposing any negative safety impacts on others. Tesla is just one step ahead of most everybody else in safety design that's all. You seems to say it's a zero sum game which is never the case.

the inflammatory title makes you a menace on this forum, IMO

but at least it's private

A Brinks truck with its 1950's design and extreme weight is far more dangerous than any passenger car. We've been having this discussion since cars got lighter and smaller. The big, heavy bus of a car will always win. In 1977 when GM downsized, there was talk that those cars were not safe against the 1976 Cadillac which weighed 6300 pounds. They were right to a degree. We have better mass equality on the road today than we did back then, so more of a level playing field but a furniture delivery truck is still going to win in a collision with an Accord.

Are you not forgetting about the thousands of car accidents every day that kill people without involving a Tesla at all! Many of these car crashes ignite fires killing people and do not involve a Tesla. All cars are weapons in the wrong hands but I prefer the safety of a Tesla especially when victimized by other drivers.

Your premise has no science or morality support at all!

Rule of gross tonnage applies.

Thomas N. +1

I certainly agree with Sudre_ that the crumple zone in the front of the Tesla should lessen the G-forces for both vehicles and hence help protect the occupants of the other vehicle as well.

The number one selling vehicle in the US, the Ford F-150, weighs more than a Tesla Model S. Handling is horrible and around here a lot of people put a "brush guard" up front so deer don't damage it--negates the crumple zone and is deadly to cars and pedestrians. That said, a menace is a person, not an inanimate object. Number two selling vehicle is Chevy Silverado--see above.

I hope this doesn't sound awful, but I really don't care what happens to the other car. I bought the Model S because of concerns for the safety of myself and my family - not the other vehicle. Do you think any Hummer customers had this thought, ever?

If it is a concern, the government should test for it. They don't. Model S passed all the government testa and even broke an NHTSA machine. It's not like I drive around looking for a car to hit as fast as possible. I'm more concerned with another vehicle hitting me, as I am pretty safe driver. In the event of another vehicle striking me, I would prefer to sit in the vehicle with the largest mass and with the highest level of inertia.

@Bighorn Those F150's take longer to stop as well and they are one of the best large pickups in this area . More than an extra 20 feet 60-0 when empty. Load up some payload and things get worse fast.

Keyword 'excessively.' It's the driver that makes it dangerous, not inherent characteristics of the vehicle. A driver driving reasonably doesn't incidentally create excessive danger.

Vehicle weight and safety features factor, certainly. There is this clip of a '59 Bel Air v. a 2009 Malibu. http://youtu.be/fPF4fBGNK0U The largest factor is drivers. You can be the best driver but if someone pulls out in front of you you may or may not be able to stop or avoid. Then again, a driver may be exceeding the speed limit and not have that ability to stop or avoid. Other traffic also factors into the equation. Driver errors of both parties can influence outcomes. http://youtu.be/bvLaTupw-hk

I try to be the best and conscientious driver I can but ultimately there are other factors and drivers that are out of my control. Tesla gets enough attention without my being a poor example of the people who own and drive them.

I think we agree. If operated as it was designed to be operated, it isn't excessively dangerous, though like anything else, does have danger. It's the driver that tips the scale.

We think of Model S being heavy but there are plenty of SUVs that weigh more and have a high center of gravity which arguably is much more dangerous for who you are hitting.

@michael1800 "A driver driving reasonably"
That is a hard thing to define - not everybody will agree on what is reasonable. Even when they agree what is reasonable for drivers in general, everybody thinks they know when the rules can be bent.

If it turns out the Tesla driver in last nights accident with the Toyota was going 10-15 mph over the limit, many people will say "Throw the book at him!" Many of those same people (probably most) have exceeded the speed limit by that same amount, or more, many times. They all thought it was reasonable to do so at the time.

Tesla Models S's don't kill people. Bad drivers kill people. ;-)

The Model S is not particularly heavy:

- Model S: 4,647 lbs
- Audi RS7: 4,475 lbs
- BMW M5: 4,387 lbs
- Maserati Quattroporte: 4,389 lbs
- MB CLS 550: 4,255 lbs

The MS is ~10% heavier than the lightest car here. As @Bighorn points out, the lightest version of the most popular vehicle in the US, the Ford F150, weighs 4,685lbs. At speed any of these is going to do immense damage.

The best driving safety tech exists between people's ears-no amount of "driver assist" BS is going to make up for stupidity and poor judgement.

O

@PBEndo - Your right, it's hard to define, yet easy to see. Everyone may disagree where a cutoff is (other than the legal one, which is rather conservative), but few actually have issues when they don't try to gnat's ars it. There isn't a black-and-white line...reasonably is a wide spectrum.

10-15 miles over the limit could be reasonable...but not if it's snowing, the speed limit is 10 or 15, there's 3-pronged trailor hitches littering the road, etc.

However, none of that is my point. Those are driver factors. My point is, as a vehicle, the Model S isn't excessively dangerous for others.

@omar
Are the weights of ICE cars including a full fuel tank?
20 gallons of gas adds 120 pounds.
85kWh of electrons is less than a pound, give or take ;)

@michael
I agree, the vehicle is not the problem. I am just thinking ahead to the what will happen when we get more details about the cause of the crash.

A thread that is private to MS purchasers finds respondents who've been made very defensive of the car's reputation by unfair attackers, and thus the word, menace, in its subject line misdirects attention to the vehicle. Menace generally describes a threat by an intelligent being; even when applied to inanimate objects there's at least an unconscious sense of such a creature – a threatening forest projects a feeling that some spirit is lurking therein which is aware of & seeking to harm the visitor. So long as an MS is manufactured & tested with due regard for safety, the menace is not the vehicle but the irresponsible driver it houses.
When given a Crown Vic with a police pursuit package, a light bar, & siren to use in supervising an EMS district I recognized early on the temptation to think I owned the road, both because of the car's capability & because of my assigned duty. Not true, of course – the mission gave me privileges but did not waive the obligation to drive responsibly. Once getting familiar with my glittering MS I caught a taste of that same attitude; part of the car's attraction is its power, and its expense (including the huge state tax) whispered that I had more right to the road than the next guy. Of course, the state & the next guy do not concur, and there can be consequences for indulging that attitude.
Addressing wb11's concerns: the weight of the car is more than some vehicles, less than others, but surely adds to the capacity of a driver to control it, especially considering that it's distributed to make the center of gravity low. Weight is a factor in the formula for the energy of a moving car, but the other factor – its speed – is squared in the computation. The menacing element is the driver.
This thread pops up in conjunction with the others referencing the recent MS accidents, and against a background of other manufacturers releasing blatantly dangerous vehicles. Commentators thus focus on the car, with suggestions about what Tesla could do to increase safety. But the far greater danger is the driver, considering the long list of things – intentional or not – which make him irresponsible. Something bad happens & the natural reaction is an outcry that somebody should do something, as if that 'something' somehow would mitigate the harm already done. But knee-jerk reactions are emotional, not rational, and generally produce unintended, perhaps worse consequences. Thus, consideration of how to make drivers less menacing should be done carefully, and not in the immediate aftermath of an accident.


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