Letting your kids drive the car? (Teenagers specifically)

Letting your kids drive the car? (Teenagers specifically)

Are you going to let your teenager drive your Tesla? I'm letting my 16 year old son use it to drive to school occasionally, at night when he wants to go out, and during the weekend when I don't need it. Thoughts?

noel.smyth | November 25, 2012

I'll let my 18 year old drive it to his senior prom. Outside of that no so much. In fact I bought a used Honda civic for my three kids to learn to drive with years go. My oldest is 24 now' youngest is 18. I'll replace the civic with my 03 accord when I get my S. the civic is in pretty rough shape all around while my accord is without a scratch. Point being, kids will scrape and scratch if not wreck a car as they learn. Best to have them learn on a car that I don't need to drive to work daily.

tork | November 25, 2012

you must have a lot of money

TikiMan | November 25, 2012

IMHO... NO WAY ON EARTH would I allow a teenager to drive a car this powerful!!!!

It's cool if you trust you kid with a $100k+ car, however, this car is FAR too powerful and distracting for a teenage mind and reflexes to handle (even more so if it's the performance version). When I was a teen driver, I had a small four-banger (maybe 100 HP) junker car, and TRUST ME, I drove like a bat-out-of-hell crazy nut in it. If I could have gotten it to go to 150 MPH, I would have done it in a heartbeat!

The average teenage mind also can't comprehend life consequences, like a seasoned adult mind can. Thus, the reason why teenagers will try things without forethought, unlike an adult mind that knows better.

Again, this is just IMHO (I don't know your child, and his worldly experiences), however, if he is anything like my once teenage mind, I would NEVER do it if you remotely care about his life, and your Tesla.

BYT | November 25, 2012

I love you, but there is no way it will happen! Not for another 6 years at least!!

Mark2131@CA-US | November 25, 2012

I know what I did as a teenager... So the answer is NO!

cpetrush | November 25, 2012

I agree with all the above. No way will my teen drive this car. Aside from safety issues mentioned, consider what you're teaching your kids. If they have access to a car like this when they're just a kid, what does the future hold? What will he/she dream of and work for? What will it take to bring him joy later in life? Because you can bet it won't be buying that first brand new Honda, Toyota, whatever. Let them be thankful for the little things and dream of their own Tesla...someday.

Christopher3 | November 25, 2012

I'll let my oldest drive it when he turns 16.
He has 8 years to dream of that day and by then there will be a new and improved tesla in the garage that will be on lock down.

TeslaLABlue | November 25, 2012

I would never let my teenager drive any car that I own... ever.

I totaled my dads car and so did my brother when we were teenagers. It just happens... mistakes etc. We were not bad kids.

My kid is not a teen yet, but he'll have to have an inexpensive car to drive.

I gather the answers within this thread also will depend on a persons wealth. If I have more disposable income I might consider it.

Brant | November 25, 2012

I recall having a lack of common sense and also lacking a sense of my own mortality at that age so.... No way
Might as well give the kid a loaded glock 9 and a fifth of whiskey

kent | November 25, 2012

One drive with my 18 year old son proved enough for me. Never by himself - he was far to fascinated on how fast the Model S could accelerate.

petero | November 25, 2012

I am surprised by the responses. Of course I am going to allow my children to drive my wife’s “S.”
However, my wife may have a different opinion. | November 25, 2012

I keep getting scenes from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" reading this discussion. I will likely eventually let my daughter drive the car at times (she has 18 months accident free in a Prius at this point)

lph | November 25, 2012

In this day and age it must be possible to set the performance level allowed with different key fobs. Has this ever been done?

mrspaghetti | November 25, 2012

Hell no.

Liz G | November 25, 2012

I let my 16 year old son drive my S...... and then I woke up screaming!

Timo | November 26, 2012

I can imagine that letting a daughter to drive is way more easier than letting son to drive. I think it's in human nature that male youngsters are quite a lot more eager to "push the limits" than females. This creates the phenomenon that male drivers are usually more skilled (due more vigorous self-learning), but if you look at accident statistics you find out that female drives drive less accidents. (generally speaking, there are exceptions in both parties)

So: daughter, yes, son, no.

Volker.Berlin | November 26, 2012

Timo, and now explain this to your son! :-P

Brian H | November 26, 2012

Till the early 20s, at least, the frontal lobes are overgrown, and "trimming down to size" as they learn the ropes. That includes impulse control, planning, envisaging the future, abstract and philosophical perspectives, social identity and responsibility, and much more. The limits are defined and discovered and explored by smashing into them.

The age - accident negative correlation is not just "experience", it's wiring.

Brian H | November 26, 2012


And you will keep the daughter from letting her boyfriend(s) have the wheel for a while -- how?

Timo | November 26, 2012


oyvind.hestnes | November 26, 2012

I would never give such a powerful car to a kid. I know how I was driving at the age of 18, and at 29 I`m still not sure if I`m old enough to drive the Model S.........

jackhub | November 26, 2012

No problem! My kids are in their forties.

Brian H | November 26, 2012

You riding, or waving?

Brant | November 26, 2012

Son: the car is too fast
Daughter: backseat is too big

petero | November 26, 2012

Valet Mode??????

dstiavnicky | November 26, 2012

First of all, of course I'd let my kids drive the car... they currently drive my Porsche 911 S cab on occasion.

Secondly, seems to me it would be easy for Tesla to add a 'slow' mode to the electronics thereby limiting the power output to simulate a 200hp sedan. This would need a passcode to override, or maybe just recognize which key is currently being used...

mklcolvin | November 26, 2012


That is exactly what Tesla did to the MS's that we test drove for the 'Amped Up' Tour. The car was limited to an 80 MPH top speed. I hope that they offer this in a software update.

Timo | November 26, 2012

@Brian H, was thinking of waving, but riding works too. Maybe app with web-camera pointing at driver, and if it shows anybody else than daughter then ban right to drive it ever again. Perhaps to whole car so that if there is anything else going on "shotgun" gets yet another meaning.

Lynn005 | November 26, 2012

My son's a great driver, but he is only 19. I'll let him drive it (with me in the car) when I'm ready, whatever year that might be.

RobS | November 26, 2012

Every time I read about a teen driving a muscle car and dying in a car crash I feel both anger and pity for the parent who gave him/her access to that car. Anger, because the parent should know what Brian H said above, and pity because that parent will be in pain for the rest of his life as a result of his poor judgement.

BYT | November 26, 2012

As powerful as the Model S is, it's also the safest thing you probably have in your driveway. From a safety standpoint, your kid will more likely walk away from a Model S crash.

All that said, still no way for at least another 6 years.

David70 | November 26, 2012

No problem with any of my children driving it, but the youngest is 37 and the oldest is nearly 46. No way would I let any teenager in the driver's seat.

dtesla | November 26, 2012

Driving by themselves... very rarely. Supervised family trips... if they want to.

cprenzl | November 26, 2012

@Iph the ford mustang gt has a performance key that changes things in the engine, I'd imagine that would be very possible

TonyF | November 26, 2012

My kids (19 & 22 - both boys) cannot drive it for the first year without me being in the car. I specifically emailed that information to my insurance agent hoping the insurance cost will be lower - at least in year 1. He has not responded yet.

Aleksandyr | November 26, 2012

I think it is the safest car, but just way too much of a temptation. It was said earlier, I'm not even sure I am old enough to drive this car. I would let my son drive if I was in the car. At 16-18 I would pull donuts in my camry. Funny story is my dad took the car in for servicing and the alignment was off. The mechanic said to my dad, your son must be driving drunk over curbs or something. My Dad was offended and strongly defended me "your talking about my SON", and to this day has no idea I was pulling high speed 180's in the parking lot.

murraypetera | November 26, 2012

Need a teen mode to go with the valet mode :)

TikiMan | November 26, 2012

All I know is; I would NEVER want to go through what the parents of Nikki Catsouras, had to. If their story isn't enough to never want your teen to drive your high-power sportcar, well... let's just put it this way, if your kid hits me in my car, I hope you have a few million in the bank, and Lloyds of London car insurance!

BYT | November 26, 2012

@murraypetera, and/or the cell phone app with speed monitoring and hopefully alert options!! "Greetings, your Signature Model S P85 has exceeded 80 MPH" of "It appears your Model S is aggressively accelerating from 0 MPH at every opportunity"

jbunn | November 26, 2012


You have completley lost your mind if you think letting a child with a few months experience drive a high powered sports car at night is a good idea. You need to talk to your insurance agent to get the tables on accident statistics for that age bracket. Chances are in a year, your car won't be in very good shape.

Or talk to the cops to get their advice.

portia | November 26, 2012

No, I don't think letting a teenager drive your Model S is a good idea, without you in the car.
even though it may be the safest car around, if he wrecks it, how long do you think it will take you to get it fixed?
I will let my son drive it, but they are 29 and 31!

dchint | June 7, 2013

A Tesla is a great car but it is still just a car. My kids are infinitely more valuable. In my opinion, the Tesla is the perfect car for a teenager because it is safe AND because I can monitor my teenager. With the app, I can monitor exactly where they are driving, how fast they are driving, if there's any power spikes, etc. Pretty obvious choice to me...

J.T. | June 7, 2013

Even if your kids are incredibly mature and responsible drivers there's always the ever present danger of peer pressure.

Kids like to show off, it gets them accepted, it gets them attention, hell, it gets them laid.

Things to consider.

ajamison | June 7, 2013

There is a setting that is hidden (look for the hidden menus video on youtube) if you can figure out how to get to it there is an option there to limit the speed but what it limits it to I am not sure and the code needed to access this menu is also unknown to me anyway, however it is likely that a service guy could turn it on for you if they knew the feature was there (they used it on all test drive vehicles to limit them to 80mph but i would think you could set it lower).

RonaldA | June 7, 2013

Just two words. No way

ppape | June 7, 2013

@Alexander.....very clever. You must be a teenager who logged on posing as an adult to try and rally support to let your parent give you the car for school & going out. Nice try. Now you know!!

Any parent allowing a teenager to drive a Model S alone really needs to SERIOUSLY re-consider!! For all the reasons stated in above posts and many others.

My daughter is 16 and is happy with her Prius. We let her have a 5 min test drive in the Model S and she loved it ofcourse! She is a responsible girl, but that Tesla grin tells the whole story!!! Now she can study hard, get good grades, finish HS, finish college, get a good job & in 10 years buy her very own Tesla (likely a Gen 111)

Please.....Consider the safety of the rest of us on the road, along with your own child. Parents don't let Teenagers drive Teslas!!

Mom of 2 (14 & 16)

ajamison | June 7, 2013

When I get a Model S i will not need to worry about this for at least 10 years our daughter is only 5 but I am nervous even now about letting her drive anything from a a rusted out POS to the Model S.

When I learned to drive my parents (out of fear of my older brothers antics) would not let me get my license till i have a full year of driving with one of them in the car so at 17 I got my license and you know I never had the lead foot syndrome, I always have viewed cars as a tool to get from point a to b not a toy that is until i saw the Model S.

I am 34 now and memories of my older brother being brought home in a police car because he was sitting on phone books and using a broom handle to try and drive my Dad's Volvo at the age of 12 seem to surface when thinking of our daughter driving.

mpottinger | June 7, 2013

Nope. Not happening. Much to my daughter's dismay.

ajamison | June 7, 2013

mpottinger buy her a Leaf ;) the only good thing about a teenager driving a model S would be that it is extremely safe but still its only safe to those in it not everyone else.

A teenager + cell phone + expensive car = bull in china shop

yodasminion | June 7, 2013

To all those folks justifying letting their kids drive this car because "it's the safest car they could drive," please keep the rest of us (and not just your child) in mind. This car is 50-100% heavier than your average compact sedan or Prius, which means your kids likely would survive a high speed crash. However, whoever they hit is very likely to be dead.

Teenagers don't have enough self control to handle a car this powerful. I can barely contain myself when driving my friend's P85, and I'm in my mid-30's!

As a teenager, I was a completely different person when around my parents. Many people on here have similar stories. You do NOT know what you children are likely to do without you around. This is not because your son or daughter is a bad person, but rather because they are a human being, not an angel or saint.

Give them keys to the slow SUV or the Prius; don't give them keys to a car that's more powerful than 95-99% of all cars on the road. They will likely live, but they might kill someone else in the process...