Don't Cry: Tesla Model S Torn Apart For Safety's Sake

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Modern cars feel so substantial and safe they can often feel impregnable--you're just rolling along in your little bubble, protected from the world outside.

The Model S, the luxurious electric car from Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] with its large body, incredible refinement and luxurious interior is just such a vehicle--though as the video above (via Wired) demonstrates, there's only so much extreme force a car can handle.

No car is completely crash-proof, and it can take the work of a split-second out on the road for something to go very, very wrong.

If it does, modern cars really are as safe as they feel, with airbags, deforming crash structures and more, keeping occupants as safe as possible.

But put enough force through a car body and occupants can still become trapped, or incapacitated to such an extent that safety teams need extraction tools like the "jaws of life" to provide better access for ambulance crews.

In an electric car, there's an element of added danger for those crews, with high voltage cables and different body structures to contend with.

It might be excruciating to watch the Model S torn apart, bit by bit, but reassuring to know that if the worst happens, the emergency services still have a way of extracting you from the car.

In the video above, the real action starts around the 27-minute mark, as safety crews rip the front passenger door from its frame. They then remove the front wing and hood, before making cuts into the A-pillar, chassis support struts and finally, the door surround--careful to avoid the electric components nearby.

All this accomplished, some dashboard support struts are cut, before a hydraulic ram pushes the dashboard upward. The resulting gap could be enough to free an injured passenger's legs following a crash--or to give paramedics a larger space to extract a passenger with back or neck injuries.

Tesla itself provided the Model S for Fremont Fire Department to train on--and the resulting video can be used to train other crews to deal with the car.

The rest of the video goes through all the realities and myths faced by first responders to electric vehicle accidents--and it's worth a watch to fully reassure you of the safety of these vehicles.


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Comments (6)
  1. Arrrrgh, my eyes, it burns!

    That's an image that I can never un-see, dammit! A pristine Model S being pealed apart.

    Now, why couldn't they have just used a nice cardboard model, I'd have made one for them, if only for my own benefit.

  2. That doesn't make me want to cry! I feel like I'm going to throw up : (

  3. Here is an edit I did of just the gory parts:

  4. Automotive torture porn! I would like to say that no Model S was harmed in the making of this video but alas...

  5. I wonder if there isn't a switch triggered along with the airbags that switches of the high voltage circuit in case of an accident. That should make nasty snuff movies like this unnecessary.

    Also I wonder if firemen now have to learn for every EV how to peal it apart safely, since the location of high voltage systems are different in every vehicle.

  6. Nissan Leaf has this I think.

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