Car and Driver: Our Tesla Model 3 Suffered ‘Catastrophic Failure’ – While Parked

Elon Musk shrugs
Scott Olsen/Getty

Car and Driver reports that a Tesla Model 3 belonging to its staff photographer suffered a “catastrophic failure” on Christmas Day — becoming completely undrivable — while sitting parked in his driveway.

Car and Driver reports that a Tesla Model 3 belonging to staff photographer Michael Simari broke down in the driveway of his parents’ home where he was visiting for the Christmas holidays. Simari was in his parents home when he received a surprising push notification from his Tesla car on his iPhone, the notification stated that his car had “suffered a failure and will no longer drive.”

The  journalists reported that it is the first time the car enthusiast publication has ever seen a long-term car suffer a catastrophic failure while parked. They write:

Not only is this the first time we’ve ever had a long-term car suffer a catastrophic failure while parked, it’s also an extraordinarily rare case of any car leaving us stranded, something unacceptable for any new vehicle, particularly one that costs $57,690 and with merely 5286 miles on the odometer. Even our problem-prone Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio was at least able to limp to the dealer following each one of its numerous issues.

Tesla roadside assistance was, however, able to provide a tow truck on Christmas Day which brought the vehicle to the closest service center in Toledo, Ohio, as Tesla is not allowed to operate company-owned service centers in Michigan. The website notes that years ago when Tesla vehicles broke down, the company was offered a Model S to drive while the broken vehicle was repaired, but initially, this service was not offered — following the publication of an article by Car and Driver, Tesla contacted the website offering a loaner car, a rental, or $100 per day in Uber credit while the Model 3 was being repaired.

Car and Driver commented on the overall situation stating:

Our opinion on the service experience hasn’t improved much in the subsequent days. We heard back on the afternoon of the 26th that our car was in the queue to be diagnosed, but there was no time frame given for how long that might take. After a two-day wait, we were informed that there are issues with the rear drive unit, the pyrotechnic battery disconnect, and the 12-volt battery and that they are waiting for parts. Again, no estimated time was given for when we might be able to cease scrambling for backup transportation.

Notably, there had been no earlier warning messages that anything was amiss prior to the failure. The only oddity was that when at a nearby Supercharger earlier that day, the car was charging at only 50 kW, which is far lower than the usual 150-kW peak. Initially, we were sharing a stall with another car, which reduces the charging rate, so we moved to an empty one to see if the power level would increase. But it didn’t. We were just about to download the latest software update (2019.40.50.1) but hadn’t yet done it, so that didn’t have anything to do with it.

The car publication said it would continue to update on the repair service of the vehicle.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.