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?

GeirT | June 7, 2013

Thoughts? The kid has his license. What is your problem?
You don't trust your kid, you have a real problem. And that you should have started on 16 year ago.
The kid got his license he knows the rules, being it on a Vespa, a Camaro or a Model S. He screws up, he has to face the consequences. Life is simple that way.

Dwdnjck@ca | June 7, 2013

For what it is worth. You can monitor location and speed on the phone app.

akikiki | June 7, 2013


Surely you are kiddin, right?

1. What act or contribution to mankind as that teenager accomplished that has earned him/her the right to sit behind the wheel of a MS much less drive it?

2. Not if I were on my deathbed with seconds left would I say yes.

3. Let me know when and where you are going to permit this, please. I am going to insure I am not on the road and my MS is protected so a teenager could not run into it.

4. I knew what I did as a teenager.

5. Have you seen on Youtube the idiotic things teenagers are doing these days on simply a skateboard without a second of forethought to the consequences?

6. Not if I had a fleet of 101 MS's setting in my driveway and I wanted to dispose of the slowest one, oldest one, with the ugliest color, (if that's even possible) would I let any teenage drive it to the end of the driveway.

7. Don’t think for a second that your answer of NO to your teenager is going to stop them. That makes it a challenge to get access and drive it when you don’t know they have done it. You might as well go out and total it yourself as put a teenager in the driver seat. Do you really think that if you own one, they are NOT going to find a way to drive it?

8. Teenager sneaks off in MS, wrecks it, maybe worse kills someone. Sure let's just dismiss this as "he has to face the consequences". Answer to the question, is NO, teenagers can not be trusted. Its like Judge Judy says, "how do you tell when a teenager is lying? Their lips are moving."

Is there anything here that I didn't cover?

StefanT | June 7, 2013

My 18 year old daughter got to drive my S for the first time a few weeks ago. She is very responsible but the S is quite a bit more car (in multiple dimensions) than anything she had driven in the past so I never offered and she never asked. It wasn't until we were washing the car and I mentioned to my 9 year old son that this is likely the car he would learn to drive in. My daughter perked up and asked if she could drive it. About 15 minutes into her first drive she said "Dad, I know you bored with your cars pretty fast so can I have this one when your are done"? I laughed and said "Not a chance, you will have to get your own. I am keeping this one longer than you can wait". Not sure this is a direct result but recently she has been rethinking her major in college based on the job market potential.

The way I figure it is that in 7 years when my son learns to drive I should be ready for the next generation and the battery in my current S should be depleted so much that it naturally limits the acceleration.

Brian H | June 7, 2013

Geir T;
the human fore-brain (impulse control, planning, ethics, abstract thought, etc.) is not fully formed until the early 20s, at the earliest. It spends the late teens testing and learning limits.

Tesla4JP | June 7, 2013

@GeirT. Spoken like a person who has no children, cause a good parent would never be THAT naive!

"he screws up, he has to face the consequences". Sure, for certain things. You don't study, you flunk. You show up late for work, you lose your job. Personal consequences that are important to learn.

You screw up badly behind the wheel of a Model S, and you can KILL people. But, hey....lesson learned, "life is simple that way". (yes - that was sarcasm!). It can happen with any car, but we all agree the Model S is rather unique!

Brian is correct re: human fore-brain. That is fact & biology. It has nothing to do with "trust".

Monitoring your child with the App is rather pointless as well. "Oh look, little Johnny is driving 100mph. He's going to get a talking to when (&if) he gets home."

Why does Tesla limit speed during test drives. Because there are clearly "a few" adults that also need more time for their fore-brain to develop.

Is GeirT a troll?

TeslaOR | June 7, 2013

It depends. I have two teenage sons. One I am fine with driving my Model S. The other is not getting close to it. He is too much like me.

HenryT2 | June 7, 2013

I'm not sure I trust ME to drive my S. Luckily, I've got a 40/60. So I'm going to let ME drive, but I'll be keeping my eyes on ME.

michael1800 | June 7, 2013

I guess the short answer is 'depends.' If you know your kids, you already know the best answer to this. Even if they are super responsible, there is a lot of liability involved here, and kids will and *should* be kids, be conservative and exercise oversight commensurate with age.

If you don't really know your kids, it doesn't really matter if you let them drive or not. You have other priorities to worry about.

If you don't really know if you know your kids, keep in mind that getting to know them in a hospital or from the back of the courtroom is far from awesome.

If you don't really know if you have kids or not, buy another Tesla just in case.

Pungoteague_Dave | June 7, 2013

My 24-year old Navy pilot son is just now getting to the point where we may consider allowing him to drive this car (or our other high-powered cars) without us riding shotgun. No one that age understands mortality, even a Navy officer and jet-trained pilot.

Our son lost two high school friends to irresponsible parents who turned over the keys to a Vette and an SL550. Both were decapitated in separate incidents, and one girlfriend died. Same rule for motorcycles. They were welcome to get one - just don't come home again (and I have five motorcycles in the garage and am currently on an adventure motorcycle tour in Africa). Young people just don't have a sense of what can go wrong and how fast. You may think your kid is different and you are wrong. The parents of the kids who destroyed their lives also lost their ability to have another happy day - ever.

Did I have fast bikes and cars in my teens and early twenties? Yes. Another reason that we KNOW what can/will happen. It is amazing that I survived that period in life given the accidents and close calls. I also can't believe how irresponsible my parents were - allowing a cross-country trip after high school graduation - one that was punctuated by two arrests and way too much drinking and driving (no arrest related to that, both were speeding). Think your kid is more responsible? You are kidding yourself.

My kids were provided a Ford Focus automatic upon license age

blc1017 | June 7, 2013

Nope. No way. My kids have shared with me exactly what they did with the car they had when they were teenagers...while not life threatening behaviors, my eyes were opened and I considered my kids to be pretty responsible.

Aside from how powerful the car is, imagine the lure of a 17 inch screen with a great big keyboard for browsing music and the web while driving.


Pungoteague_Dave | June 7, 2013

Maybe there should be a software cripple mode. I WOUDLD let kids drive this car if the owner could limit both output and max speed. We have Yamaha jet skis with this feature - we can turn the key to a certain location and put in a code and the ski will run only at 25% power. That is how we allow teenage visitors to use the jet skis for the first few times.

The Models S clearly has this capability built in, with its limiting power and regen upon certain temperatures or when range is running low. Perhaps we should add this to the software punch list? Valet mode or teen mode that limits top speed and acceleration?

tesla.mahedy | January 13, 2014

This thread is long dead but I still wanted to give my opinion. I think that who drives the car is up to you, the owner. If you think that your teen is responsible enough to handle driving a large, heavy, powerful car you should have a conversation about it with him. Obviously they'll be eager to drive but it is important to talk with them about the huge responsibility that they want to undertake. It comes down to, do you trust your teen to do the right thing day in and day out. If so, then you should give them the privilege driving your car. Just my two cents.

Low CG | January 13, 2014

Supervised, yes (teens understand how to drive it quicker than fuddy duddies like me).

EESROCK | January 14, 2014

No, I probably wouldn't let my kids drive the car when they're teenagers unless it's to chauffeur me around somewhere. To get the privilege of driving a car as nice as this on their own, they'll have to work and earn the money to buy it.

george210 | January 14, 2014

i dunno to mer Model E = teen

akikiki | January 14, 2014


+1 !! Absolutely or Absolutely not, get their own. Get it the E.F. Hutton way, "they earn it".

Brian H | January 14, 2014

way sot?

wavehopper27 | January 15, 2014

Right now, I own a Toyota Rav4 and a Jeep Wrangler. The Rav is primarily my car and the Jeep is used by the wifey. My daugher, who currently livies with her mom in NC wants to move in with me after she graduates and go to college up here in MA. My plan is to give her my Rav4 to commute to and from school in and buy myself an S85 .

No, she will not be allowed to drive it.

jeffgoldstein | January 15, 2014

My son, who dinged up an aging Honda Odyssey more than once in high school, e-mailed me a link from college when the 5-star safety rating on the S came out. My reply - "Great - you'll be very safe riding in the passenger seat!"

lolachampcar | January 15, 2014

My 11 year old is doing just fine so far although she does not qualify as a teenager :)

J.T. | January 15, 2014

@lolachampcar But she's got genetics on her side.

aviationfw | January 15, 2014

I am hoping the Gen 3 will solve this dilemma. Hopefully the price and performance will be right as well as the ability to software limit speed and acceleration couple that with the safety standards set by Tesla and it could be the perfect teenager first car.

Gt1Cooper | January 15, 2014

Truth be told, I do let my son drive my MS60. Not the P85. I do, simply because of a couple things. For one, I know he is a teen, but he is a good driver. What you might say is that I do not know what he is doing without me there, but he goes from high school, straight home, straight to homework, straight to swim, straight home, and to bed. I make sure that he has no available time to mess with my car, and I also am checking his average wh/mi. He is averaging 276 wh/mi, and is on a bet with me. For every day that he gets higher than 300 average (and I reset his trip B every time, and I can see the miles he drove, so there is no chance of him resetting it) he has to drive my 30k f150 xlt crew cab short bed. He hasn't broke 300 yet, except for one time in terrible traffic, and I looked at his power chart, and he was fine. If he wants to go out at night, no Tesla. Only for errands that I know the distance and what power I average (which is 306, he is actually more responsible than me).

The fact that he is proving my trust correct is making me and my wife very happy. We told him that if he keeps A's with his current 3 AP classes, to look forward to a Gen III. IF I am feeling generous.