Tesla vs Honda head on collision

Tesla vs Honda head on collision

This doesn't look good. Not sure that it is a model S. anyone have an update?

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two people were killed and one person was injured in a head-on collision in Laguna Beach Tuesday.

Authorities say a Honda and a Tesla collided on Laguna Canyon Road at 6:43 a.m. Both fatal victims were in the Honda. The driver of the Tesla was rushed to a local hospital in unknown condition.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined. Laguna Canyon Road was shut down between El Toro Road and State Route 73 due to the crash investigation.

DEVELOPING: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

Velo1 | April 2, 2013

Thanks - prayers on the way for all.

TikiMan | April 2, 2013

That is a very dangerous road, and always has been. :-(

Brian H | April 2, 2013

A mangled Honda Accord is seen after a head-on collision in Laguna Beach on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. (KABC Photo)

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two people were killed and one person was injured in a head-on collision in Laguna Beach Tuesday.

Authorities say a Honda Accord and a Tesla collided on Laguna Canyon Road at 6:40 a.m. Both fatal victims in the Honda were declared dead at the scene. The driver of the Tesla was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.

According to the preliminary investigation, the Tesla veered into oncoming traffic for an unknown reason, which resulted in the violent crash.

Brian H | April 2, 2013

Sounds like it must have been a Model S. Can't imagine a Roadster doing that much damage.

Longhorn92 | April 2, 2013

Picture where you can see the Model S in the background here...

GLO | April 2, 2013

Wow, incredibly scary. Prayers for all invloved and families of affected. The MS seemed to fare very well.

jat | April 2, 2013

Wow. Pretty amazing the Tesla driver could have just minor injuries after a collision like that.

Velo1 | April 2, 2013

If anyone learns what caused the Tesla driver to veer into the Honda, as reported by two news outlets, please let us know.

On one hand you hope it wasn't something mechanical with the Model S, and on the other hand you hope it wasn't a distracted driver.

rnwalker | April 2, 2013

Model S (85) curb weight: 4,647.3 lbs
Honda Accord curb weight (2012): 3192-3365 lbs

Keep in mind that, wielded incorrectly, your beautiful car becomes a deadly battering ram.

shop | April 2, 2013

I hope this will be a wake up call for me. I frankly do too much distracted driving. Eyes on the road...

jat | April 2, 2013

@rnwalker - yes, the kinetic energy of the Model S at the same speed is 50% higher, but that wouldn't explain the difference in damage.

TikiMan | April 2, 2013

I don't have any idea what happened, however, Laguna Canyon Road is NOT a road you want to take your eyes off of any any point in time. Also, 3G conection in those hills is really bad, so internet is going to be spotty at best.

With that said, I too hope it was not related to a mechanical error, however, knowing that road as much as I do, I am inclined to believe it was related to driver distraction. Which leads to the question, how long the driver had owned the car, and the age of the driver.

Either way, please be careful everyone.

Velo1 | April 2, 2013

^yes, please stay focused. Until we know more as to the cause, it probably would be best not to speculate. With the MS driver alive and the logs from both cars I am confident the investigators will determine the cause. There are multiple potential reasons, such driver distraction, medical condition, mechanical failure, etc.

Toward driver distraction, I've conditioned myself to not spend time searching the display for a media file, but to simply wait for a stop light or place to pull over. The car is so much fun to drive and play with its features, but it doesn't eliminate the risk of driving. Eyes up.

JZ13 | April 2, 2013

Very sad. RIP to the 2 occupants of the Honda.

Laguna is flooded with Model S so I am going to guess that the driver knew the road very well.

I would like to see a picture of the front of the S. Obviously the Tesla had 2 advantages over the Honda:

1) The entire front of the Tesla is a crumple zone vs. the Honda having an engine interfere with the safety design.

2) The battery pack of the Tesla is stiffer than the frame of the Honda so I'm sure that adds to it's rigidity and decreases the crumple area.

GeekEV | April 2, 2013

Not to make light of the accident in any way, but I would REALLY like to see more pics of the Model S to see how it fared...

alexlchan | April 2, 2013

My thoughts go out to the occupants of the Honda and their families.

I think this is bad news for the MS either way...if it's mechanical, that is my single worst fear of owning this car.

The other option probably isn't much better. I can see the headlines now of the 17" distraction, and state legistatures moving to ban it.

Regardless, please be careful no matter what car you're driving.

davidnroth | April 2, 2013

I can't confirm this but I read on a blog from someone that was supposedly at the scene that the Tesla Driver may have veered because someone threw a cup? Could be made up but, time will tell.

» SwampyFool • Tue Apr 02, 2013 01:35 PM
Reports from the scene said a cup thrown at the Tesla caused it to swerve into oncoming trafic.

Here is the link below.

I too don't wish to sound morbid but, I also wondered what the Tesla looked like. I want to know how it fared but, I hate finding out given the nature of the tragedy. My prayers go out to the families & relatives of those who lost their lives.

July10Models | April 2, 2013

Godspeed poor Honda souls.My brother said the S looks like the avenging hero but evil car from a movie that he could not remember. Lets hope the S don't turn out to be evil. Now I question my grin.

Sudre_ | April 2, 2013

hmmm.... does that make the person who threw the cup an accessory to murder?

GeekEV | April 2, 2013

@Sudre_ - I would say so, although murder seems a bit strong - manslaughter maybe. Is there such a thing as accessory to manslaughter?

David Trushin | April 2, 2013

Can someone please zap NNT. I find his comments on this thread extremely offensive. Need 2 more.

Sinatra23 | April 2, 2013

I'm so very sorry to hear about the two men that were killed today (in the Honda).

I have a legitimate inside source with the Police and this is what I know:

1. The Tesla veered into Honda's lane (reason is under investigation).
2. The occupants of the Honda were decease at the location of the accident.
3. The male occupant of the Dark Tesla Model S removed himself from the vehicle. He had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
4. Quote from a police officer ....." If I had the money, I'd buy the Tesla. It held up amazingly well considering the level of damage to the Honda and the rate of speed." He said, "I've never seen a car hold up so well under such horrific circumstances".
5. Both doors of the Tesla Model S were able to open without first responder help.
6. The police were stunned not to find an "engine" when they looked at the "frunk".

I'll update everyone as details become available. My purpose is not to downplay the deaths of the two men, I simply want to provide information about the safety of the Tesla Model S. As ihas been noted in earlier posts a car is a weapon if used improperly. We dont know how this accident occured however we all should .....Focus....stay alert....don't text and drive....use Bluetooth .....keep both hands on the steering wheel...program your Nav while stopped.....minimize any distractions in your car.

God bless the lost men and God help the survivor with what is to be a long hard road ahead.

JZ13 | April 2, 2013

@Sinatra23 - Thanks for the update. I thought your post was elegantly stated.

I am curious if the Honda had air bags.

village33 | April 2, 2013

Very sad all around. I'm sure many of you have seen this, but from this it appears this S is built like a tank:

lph | April 2, 2013

Thanks for the update...and am also heart broken to hear about the tragedy.
Hope that we can one day have accident avoidance help installed on the car. Hopefully this sort of accident won't happen in the near future as this technology improves.

portia | April 2, 2013

sad but it's bound to happen sooner or later, bad accidents, as more Teslas are on the road. Just do our part to drive responsibly and don't let anyone complain that accidents are caused by driver paying more attention on the screen than they should, which would undoubtedly happen sooner or later too.

Superliner | April 2, 2013

Lets hope that the driver was not overly involved with the 17" display internet browsing or some such thing. I'm sure those questions will be raised in the investigation since no car has ever had such a huge potential distraction built into the dash. Or he himself might be charged with distracted driving (much like texting etc)

DonS | April 3, 2013

The accident happened just north of a traffic light where two lanes merge into one. Details are starting to appear that the Tesla driver found himself with another quick vehicle next to him and both vehicles didn't fit into the one lane.

My heart goes out to the guys in the Honda. However, I also feel secure that my wife and family are protected as well as possible while driving in our Tesla S.

weeandthewads | April 3, 2013

It is my understanding that they have turned this into a criminal investigation. Somebody did something illegal that resulted in death.

electrophorus | April 3, 2013

Speculation on the TMC forum is that the MS was racing a Mercedes, and both were side by side when the two lanes merged.

My heart goes out to the families of the Honda occupants.

Captain_Zap | April 3, 2013

Speculation and rumor is not good.

There are several victims out there and this could just make it more difficult for them.

jchangyy | April 3, 2013

Prayers to the 2 people who died.

I used to drive a '97 Honda Accord for 13 years before I switched to Camry and then to my Model S.

Mark K | April 3, 2013

Very sorry to hear of this loss of life, and our prayers go out to their families in the wake of this tragedy.

Sadly, accidents do occur, but as this case demonstrates, people will in time come to realize just how much safer the Model S architecture truly is.

The Accord is an excellent car, but 3X the crumple zone in the Model S means 1/3 the G-force in a head-on collision. That was literally the difference between life and death.

The more people that drive this new architecture, the fewer traffic deaths we will experience as a society.

This is the most compelling reason I bought one for my wife.

RedShift | April 3, 2013

Very sad. Makes me more careful now, esp since my last crash 5 years back due to
Gazing down at stock quotes on my iPhone and colliding at 15 mph into the back of an SUV.

Amazing how much damage can result even at 15 mph. I almost cried when I saw the damage I had caused.
Luckily, no serious injuries to anyone that time.

That is why I tend to use the black screen web page on main screen as much as I can.

RedShift | April 3, 2013

Also, on a related note, I plan to put small hot glue 'dots' on the bezel at the bottom of the main screen.
Sort of 'Braille-esque' ergonomic assistance to an important safety button: the front window defogger.

When returning from a skiing trip to Tahoe recently, the weather was treacherous and I needed frequent use of the button when with family in fast traffic on a hilly, slippery road. I was in my Acura though.

With the above fix, I hope to be able to feel for the defogger button position along the bezel at the bottom, then hit the button without taking my eyes off the road.

riceuguy | April 3, 2013

Rumors elsewhere seem to indicate the Mercedes driver threw a cup at the Tesla causing it to swerve...

Vawlkus | April 4, 2013

Not to sound morbid, but I do hope we can get a better look at the damage to the MS. As we can plainly see the horrific damage done to the Honda, this would at least seem to back Elons safety claims.

psirnes | April 4, 2013

there is a pic here

a lot of damage in the frontm, but the driver is supposed to have opened the door and walked out with minor injuries

GeekEV | April 4, 2013

@Vawlkus - Don't feel bad. You're not alone.

@psirnes - Thanks! That was very informative. Specifically, the pics are on this post:

christine_orita | April 4, 2013

Folks, I was personally involved in a road rage a few days ago. I had passed this Audi driver with plenty of room to spare (I had not cut him off or anything like that). As a matter of fact, I got stopped at a red light up ahead and made sure to keep to the left part of my lane as it appeared to me in my rear view mirror that he might be wanting to make a right turn at the light. What happened after was shocking to me and a friend I had in the car with me. He raced from behind to my right and swerved left in front of me to block me, opened his door and started going postal. I did not engage so as not to escalate.

My friend was just as shocked as i was and remarked that it I had not done anything to enrage him but that he was obviously a Tesla hater.

So folks, be careful out there. You will find people who are envious in a bad way, people who wants to race, etc. just be careful.

Captain_Zap | April 4, 2013

That makes me wonder if other cars are misinterpreting our brake lights when regen kicks in.

gimp_dad | April 4, 2013

Captain_Zap, I worry about the same thing. When passing and merging back I try not to let up too hard for just that reason. But you can only go so far with managing this before it would distract us from the actual business of driving safely.

Cattledog | April 4, 2013

gimp_dad - For that reason I usually set regen to low when going on the freeway. Unless I'm mistaken (I have watched the car's icon that shows what lights illuminate), with regen in low the max regen is 30Kw, which does not activate brake lights. I also like the feel for coasting better.

cwarner | April 4, 2013

I have also been in a major head on collision in a model S although no where near as bad or tragic as this. In my case a Chevy chevette lost control and crossed double yellow lines and hit me head on. It was a nasty snowy day on a 50 mph stretch of road. Due top conditions everyone was driving cautiously and my speed was somewhere between 30 and 40. Both our airbags fired. My knee airbag also fired. Both I and the guy who hit me were taken to the hospital but in my case it was purely precautionary. I have not been in touch with the other driver but Inthink he is ok although probably not totally uninjured. He seemed pretty banged up at the scene (conscious and talking but not moving much). I was totally uninjured and not even sore the next day as the dr suggested I might be. This is an amazing car. It completely did it's job in keeping me totally safe.

shop | April 4, 2013

@cwarner, glad to hear you're ok. What happen to the Tesla?

jat | April 5, 2013

@Cattledog - the brake lights are based on how fast you decelerate, and 30kW of braking is going to slow you down more in mph at lower speeds than at higher speeds since there is so much more kinetic energy at high speeds.

If you don't mean to decelerate much, don't lift completely off the throttle -- no need to dial regen back.

noel.smyth | April 5, 2013

@cwarner - glad you and the other driver are ok. Any chance you can tell the story on the fixing of the Tesla, who does it, how long does it take, how did the insurance handle, etc.. As there is only one place for parts and I limited venues for service its not clear as to what this path is.

hateToShift | April 5, 2013

What a tragedy. My prayers go out to the victims of this crash and their families.

I heard a fascinating story from a Tesla salesman back in 2010. This was before the S was out, and they were only selling carbon fiber roadsters. Note, carbon fiber is ten times as strong as steel!

I asked if any Roadsters had been in accidents yet. He said there had been no fatalities in a Roadster up to that point. One sales person was driving a Roadster after work one day, slammed into a guard rail and broke his arm in the incident.

The other big accident that had happened was a head-on collision of a Roadster (again, carbon fiber), and a Volkswagon Tourag (a large, aluminum and steel SUV). It occured at around 60mph.

All 4 passengers in the Tourag died on impact. The two passengers in the Tesla walked away with no injuries at all. The Tourag was crumpled like the Honda in the pics above. The Roadster's hood panel had sustained so much force that it snapped in one spot. It was replaced, and the car was otherwise fine.

This is an important lesson about these cars that the public probably won't be aware of for a long time! They are not only faster than ICE's, they're structurally superior as well.

Obviously the Model S is not made out of carbon fiber, but it's battery design makes the car way stronger than any ICE on the road.

cgiGuy | April 5, 2013

"The Roadster's hood panel had sustained so much force that it snapped in one spot. It was replaced, and the car was otherwise fine."

Hood damage only while the other car was totaled? Doesn't add up...

jat | April 5, 2013

@ivosper - that has a bogus story. The issue is that you have to dissipate an enormous amount of kinetic energy, and you do that by deforming materials, or ejecting them at high speed. Back in the 60s, they kept making racing cars sturdier and sturdier, to the point that the only deformable object was the driver himself. Unsurprisingly, with all of the energy of a collision focused on the driver, many drivers died. Then they figured out how to dissipate the energy, and now you have drivers involved in very high speed accidents walking away with minor injuries.

Carbon fiber is extremely strong, but only in its design axis. You give it force from a direction it wasn't designed for, then it shatters into tiny carbon fiber shards. That part is good, as you are dissipating some of the energy. But there is no way snapping the hood in one place would dissipate the amount of energy it would take to total a Touareg. The primary way you dissipate that energy is by deforming the metal structure of the car, and the fact that the Model S has no engine means you have more room to do that for frontal impacts.