Car Tech What happens when lightning strikes near a charging Tesla Model S

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,797   +124
Staff member

Electric vehicles like those from Tesla present some pretty unique use case scenarios. For example, what would happen to a Model S if a bolt of lightning struck nearby… while you happened to be tethered to a Supercharger recharging station?

Now we have our answer.

Sarah Day found herself in this very situation recently and incredibly enough, she happened to have her dashcam rolling at the time.

As Day tells Teslaratti, she heard a very loud crash and just a second or two later, nine or so errors popped up on the dashboard. Some were warning her about a low charge that would disable select features while others chimed that the car needed to be serviced, the car couldn’t be charged and that the 12 volt battery was low.

Once the storm passed, Day got out of the car and realized the charging port wasn’t lit up. Interestingly enough, she also wasn’t able to remove the charging cable from its port. Tesla dispatched a tow truck but without being able to remove the charging cable, it was of little use.

That’s all we know at this time as Day hasn’t yet provided an update to the publication or on her YouTube video. She did note, however, that the Tesla support team was excellent and offered to rent her a car and pay for a hotel room (she was out of town at the time).

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,758   +6,384
WOW .... Not surprisely when you consider how much voltage / amperage in the average lightning strike, but I certainly wish FORD was that responsive when you have a problem with one of their products!!!
 
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davislane1

1. Excellent customer service.
2. Excellent reason to avoid EVs in storm-prone areas.
 
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Guest

It would probably activate the time circuits and travel back in time to 1958!!!!!!
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,288
Not serious at all, Tesla will probably sort it out gratis. The safest place to be in an electrical storm is in your vehicle... That or a Faraday cage but they're like cops, there's never one around when you need one.
 
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Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,673   +1,482
Does anyone have a video of what happens when there is a lightning strike while you are filling your gas tank?
 

RebelFlag

Posts: 172   +102
Not serious at all, Tesla will probably sort it out gratis. The safest place to be in an electrical storm is in your vehicle... That or a Faraday cage but they're like cops, there's never one around when you need one.
The best thing to do in a lightning storm is to hold up a 1 iron......because even God can't hit a 1 iron. :)
 

JordLevy

Posts: 49   +15
I'm pretty sure Tesla will disclose what needs to be disclosed about this issue.
To all those saying that being in a petrol car is safer than an a Tesla, I'm pretty sure there's no difference in safety.

Also let's not forget that this person happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, which I'm sure Tesla will implement safeguards to avoid this in the future...
 

risc32

Posts: 209   +96
WOW .... Not surprisely when you consider how much voltage / amperage in the average lightning strike, but I certainly wish FORD was that responsive when you have a problem with one of their products!!!
I've never seen a ford at a as station with the gas pump fused to the vehicle, while it's ecu has gone crazy, and there are millions and millions of them all over the earth.

Also let's not forget that this person happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, which I'm sure Tesla will implement safeguards to avoid this in the future...
yeah, they could add an auto driving feature tied to a gps with weather updates and your car would just route you away from storms.........

Not serious at all, Tesla will probably sort it out gratis. The safest place to be in an electrical storm is in your vehicle... That or a Faraday cage but they're like cops, there's never one around when you need one.
if you think a lighting bolt that arcs across air at great distances is going to be concerned with rubber tires and car roofs, you are more trusting than I.
 
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lipe123

Posts: 958   +544
Also let's not forget that this person happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, which I'm sure Tesla will implement safeguards to avoid this in the future...
yeah, they could add an auto driving feature tied to a gps with weather updates and your car would just route you away from storms.........
It's because it was connected to the grid and the grid nearby got hit, that massive power spike went into the vehicle via the charging cable and fried stuff. You could happily drive through lightning storms as long as its not plugged into external power.
 
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davislane1

If only she were driving 88mph at the time... Now that would make for a cool video.
Poe's law is in effect. At 88, road noise from the tires & rain would have negated much of the thunder and you'd just have a flash.

Unless she was charging at 88 via some type of mobile platform... That would have been spectacular.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,758   +6,384
I've never seen a ford at a as station with the gas pump fused to the vehicle, while it's ecu has gone crazy, and there are millions and millions of them all over the earth.
Hmmmmmmm ..... I wonder if all those Pinto's had a gas pump near by? It sure wasen't lightning that hit them! LOL
 

ypsylon

Posts: 245   +101
It's nothing spectacular. I know a guy who drives trucks for a living and he had similar problems on many occasions. And we talking about normal trucks. He is driving Volvos and MANs most of the times and few times after nearby (anything between 50-1000m) lighting strikes he was helpless. Rig just came to a halt, with half of electronics fried. You don't need EV car for posers. Same thing can happen (with the exception of car being welded to charging point lol) with normal cars which are *****ically overstuffed with electronics (pretty much everything from 2000->).