Bad Design : Front End Collision = Expensive Repairs

Bad Design : Front End Collision = Expensive Repairs

Upon close up inspection on Model S prototype on display, I noticed the front end is a very poorly thought out design. Although the front end styling looks nice aesthetically with influence from Aston Martin's original design ($$$), the hood extends all the way to the front end above the grille without separate bumper section. During front end collisions, the hood will get easily damaged together with the grille and front body panel. I also imagine of rumors that the charging port will also be hidden inside the front grille. This will be a very expensive repair cost potentially considering it's made of alluminum. I'd rather have a front panel with grille and bumper as one section for impact (crumple) zone that can be easily replaced at low cost, rather than having to also replace the hood as well. Who knows how much it will cost to also replace the front charging port? With similiarites to Maserati's front end design, Maserati has done a good job designing their front end without exposing the hood to the front end.

I hope Tesla rethinks this major design flaw for avoiding expensive front end collision repair costs. They should reconsider affordable lower costs with minimum parts replacement for mass target market potential.

cytek | July 1, 2011

Also a consideration to note that insurance companies may also raise the coverage premiums on Model S, due to discovering its expensive repair costs.

Brian H | July 1, 2011

One posting of the observation was enough. This site does not require thread-bombing to draw attention.

Tim10 | July 1, 2011

Simple solution, don't get in an accident

David M. | July 2, 2011

Haven't had a collision in 30 years. I don't worry about bad things that haven't happened yet. That's what insurance is for. As long as the car has an air bag and has passed all the crash tests, there is a high probability that you will walk away from an accident. Enjoy life. Don't worry so much about tomorrow.

David70 | July 2, 2011

And IMHO insurance companies worry more about personal injury claims than about even totaling a car.

cytek | July 2, 2011

You can view how luxury cars fare in 3mph bumper crash test below;

paweldomejczyk | July 3, 2011

what if? how much? Oh my? I agree, this comment started with a series of question to concerns that don't exist. Just don't get into an accident. And fix it only when its broken. Don't worry if there is nothing to worry about. The car looks Hott. Keep it that way!!

ckessel | July 3, 2011

The OP sounds more like a short seller trying desperately to start a rumor.

MikAo | July 4, 2011

Well, how much cheaper is it to fix S-model compared to any other ICE premium sedan. When the collision hit´s the motor, expenses explode. Also lots of other expensive parts are in the frontal end of the ICE cars since that is the heart and brain of the car. And like everyone knows, S-model motor id well hidden and safe. I think insurance cost will show this (after a while) even after expensive repair costs of alloy.

Brian H | July 4, 2011

They should be memory metal. Apply a wee zap after an accident, and it all springs back the way it was!


VolkerP | July 4, 2011


David70 | July 4, 2011

Memory metal would be nice (and probably extremely expensive). With it, aerodynamics could be redesigned on the fly (so to speak). That is to compensate for crosswinds, etc. Although I don't know if the theory permits more than one "remembered" form.

cytek | July 4, 2011

Those of you guys who think you can avoid accidents, or think insurance will cover you are obviously very unrealistic and ignorant. You cannot assume you will never get into accidents, just because you are a good driver. Your future is beyond your control, the fact that someone, whether it be a bad driver, a drunk driver, a deer, a kid, a biker, etc. can hit you in such unpredictable circumstances. Even there is a greater chance that someone will bump into cars when parallel parking on tight spaces. If you think insurance will pay for your damage, you are dead wrong! In reality, you will end up paying higher rates for covering expensive repair bills.

If insurance companies finds out the crash ratings of this aluminum vehicle is indeed costly, they will use that data to justify higher rates for costly repairs. A good example is the video link I have shown on my previous message above. This is exactly why insurance rates on Infiniti G35/37 and Benzes are very high. This will make Model S ownership quite expensive for the majority of people in wanting an affordable electric family car that Tesla wants to target that market and compete other manufacturers. In order to reduce costly repairs, Tesla needs to revise the bumper design to make repairs cost effective, thus lowering our insurance rates.

Tim10 | July 4, 2011

IMO Tesla does not need to redesign the bumper especially since we haven't even seen the final production version. As for insurance, not sure where you live but the idea is that they do cover you and I personally have never been left out in the cold so to speak. In fact I have one free claim with my insurance company, so when that beyond my control event occurs I will be covered and not see my rates increased.

Let's just get the cars on the road, the line is building!

ncn | July 5, 2011

Let me be blunt: in a front-end collision, you generally have expensive repairs. In a rear-end collision, you generally have expensive repairs. In a side collision, you generally have expensive repairs. The aluminum body of the Tesla makes all these repairs much more expensive, and we already knew that.

The case of a front end collision which is *SO* low-speed that it only damages the bumper -- well, that case you can pretty much avoid by driving competently, though I admit you need to be more careful in the parking garage. The rear bumper is more important here as it's hard to prevent people from running into YOU. If you're really concerned about the front end, back into your parking space!

Benzman | July 6, 2011

Cytek, at one point your comments made sense, but then you went too far... I do no know what type of car you drive, but if I have to guess a "bumper-car" would be a "safe" alternative for you. Other than a good remark in the beggining message, you started to go on and on, make drawings and all... Most cars, you know, are designed to absorb the shock in a front collission situation. Some cars, (ie. Smart) don't have the ability to do the same, but it doesn't mean they cost more to insure, and they get damaged as well.

When you said "This is exactly why insurance rates on Infinity G35/37 and Benzes are very high" I relized that you really don't know what you're talking about. By experience, I know that insurance rates on Benzes are lower than on other cars, probably due to the fact that they are safer, more responsible people purchase them, and if marked properly, they don't get stollen easily. Presently (and I could document it), my R320 CDI 4matic is cheaper to insure than my Jetta TDI. The Benz is also a year newer and costs 3 times the price of the Jetta. Do you think that is because the Jetta has the chrome insert in the bumper or because I have parking sensors on the Benz?

Anyway, I believe Model S has a mature design, a lot of class and I will purchase one next year. You?

Trnsl8r | July 7, 2011

The original post talks about a charging port in the front, but from the pictures I have seen of the prototypes, they all have the charging port on the driver's side, just behind the rear door. Cytek, do you have anything to back up your theory of a front charging port?

Volker.Berlin | July 8, 2011

Trnsl8r, at least there is nothing the back up the theory of a charging port where you saw it on the prototype. The "charging port" on the prototype may even be a fake, we don't know. The only thing we currently know is that there is no indication of a charging port whatsoever in the published (retouched?) photos of the Alpha builds. If you can spot any hint to a charging port in these photos, we'd be glad if you would share. As of today, based on these photos, the charging port in the production model could be located anywhere or nowhere...

Thumper | July 8, 2011

I'm liking the idea of putting the charge port under the "hood" about 18 in. from the front. This gives some protection from minor collisions. You open the hood, the charge cable sits in a lightly spring loaded notch behind the grill. Plug in close the hood. No one can take the cable or unplug it during charging.

ckessel | July 8, 2011

I hope it's not under the hood. I really don't want to have to open the hood every night to charge. When you have to do something every single day, it should be made as simple as humanly possible to do. It should be as trivial as setting your iPod on a charging dock at night.

What would be cool, whether in front or back, is having a spring loaded panel it hides behind. My old 1979 Trans Am had the gas cap hidden behind the rear license plate. The plate was on spring loaded hinges, so you pulled it down, gassed up, then it sprang back into place when you were done.

Ramon123 | July 8, 2011

The front end looks like the front end of a car.
Those who are fantasizing about extremmely high repair
costs have two options - don't have a front end collision (I haven't had one since 1967) or select anther very good
option - don't buy the car.
I notice that the Volt is having issues with its front end
air dam - seems it can't handle either speedbumps, or inclined
roadways (where can one be without those two? The Sahara desert?).
All that million miles of testing apparently went places non too typical. Let's see now... GM's been making cars for over 100 years and inclined roadways have always been here and speed bumps been around for 35 years or more. Good think Obama spent $120 billion to save GM (actually it was to save the UAW and their campaign contributions). Hate to think he was just throwing that money away.

Volker.Berlin | July 9, 2011

Trnsl8r, thanks for posting that image, showing the prototype with a cable attached. Probably, the prototype's charge port is not fake after all... :-) Still, it's the prototype. The Alpha builds lack that flap, so the quest is on as to where the charge port may be located in the final Model S.

Sudre | July 9, 2011

Ramon123 try and stay off the topics you are clueless about like politics. GM closed many of it's UAW plants down and moved them out of the US. If anyone in government was trying to force a company to keep those workers they would have included strings to the money to including saving the UAW. I sure they gave hundreds of billions to the banks to save some other union to right? Oil giants get billions to save union jobs right?

People who can afford the car they are looking to purchase for the most part do not base their decision on how much the car insurance will cost. If you think the cost of insurance or a front end repair is going to be too high then a $60,000 car is probably out of your price range. It might be better to buy a Leaf or wait for the next Tesla vehicle.

Brian H | July 10, 2011

Back to memory metals, from Science News:

Superelastics can take the heat
Superelastic alloys put under tremendous stress have an unrivaled ability to snap back into shape afterward, and now one of them can also take the heat. A new material remains superelastic over a broad range of temperatures (–196 to 240 degrees Celsius). This alloy can be used in cars, planes, spacecraft and in any environment subject to extremely high and low temperatures. And because the new material is made of iron and other common metals, large quantities could be incorporated into buildings to dampen vibrations caused by earthquakes, researchers at Tohoku University in Japan report in the July 1 Science. —Devin Powell

Volker.Berlin | July 14, 2011 a front-end collision, you generally have expensive repairs. In a rear-end collision, you generally have expensive repairs. In a side collision, you generally have expensive repairs... (ncn)

Oh yeah. Particularly, if the affected end or side belongs to a Volt. And it does not even have an aluminum body.

cytek | July 14, 2011

For further clarification, when I am refering to front end collision, I am talking about a minor 3 mph bump, not actually crashing it at high speed. The structural body should withstand impacts at 3mph (human walking speed) by dispersing energy in the front beam. This is what bumpers are for to absorb kinetic shock energy. The problem with Model S front end is the aluminum bonnet curves down low and is the furthest end point to the front end with the grille. That's the first thing it will contact upon frontal impacts. There is no crumple zone for plastic front panels for cost effective replacement to absorb impact energy before it affects other parts like the bonnet. The grille will get pushed in and the bonnet will bend inwards easily. We know trucks and SUVs are higher and can cause more damage, but insurance institute uses standard bumpers (regular car height) to crash test them for analysis on rating insurance coverage premiums. If it looks as bad as Infiniti's damage, they will use that data to justify higher insurance rates for Model S. I have both Infiniti and Benz and they cost me $3000 and $2800 to insure both respectively with a clean driving record.

The main point I am trying to make here is on a minor 3mph bump on the front end (could be from parallel parking, parking lot, traffic jam, etc.), why should we pay over $10,000 just to fix the damage to the front panel, grille, aluminum bonnet, charging port (if in front), repainting, etc. from a minor bump, while on Audi A4, it only costs $1000 to repair with minimum body structural damage (as shown in video)? In most scenarios like this, it occurs when you are not present at your car and the culprit simply drives off! How are you going to claim that to the insurance without a proof of at-fault driver's ID, plates and no witnesses? A lack of proof for filing insurance claim will spark fraud suspicions. That's the point I am trying to make here. I am not trying to spread rumors, nor incite panic. I am applying logic with physics, when I see the Model S front end design as vulnerable to expensive repairs on a minor 3mph bump. I know the Model S is only a prototype/ Alpha stage to make a judgement. A well engineered car like Audi should be able to withstand minor impacts without any structural damage to the body.

Douglas3 | July 15, 2011

I don't know where this $3000 is coming from. I pay $1400 total for an Infiniti G37 and a Tesla Roadster.

dsm363 | July 15, 2011

Note: cytek was banned from the Tesla Motors Club for the exact same reason people are getting on him here.

You did bring up a good point initially but you keep going on and on about it. You pay almost $6,000 for two cars a year and you have a clean driving record? That seems high.

You've made your point now move on. Are you even planning on buying one? If not, what's your goal here?

dsm363 | July 15, 2011

Tesla moderators: please ban cytek as well

cytek | July 15, 2011

DSM- You know, that is a very poor judgement on an ill advised moderator from other forum to impose a ban on me, based on wrong illogical assumptions and false accusations on trolling for no reasons. It's simply ludicrous, absurd with sheer stupidity! What exactly did I do to get a ban??? Do you think I like to spend 24hrs a day on the net forum and waste my time with your BS? The way you guys treated me, I will permenantly delete my account and never ever go back there again, if that makes you guys happy! I have better things to do with my life, while I wait for my upcoming Model S than dealing with a bunch of paranoid anti-EV conspiracy-minded freaks at your other forum! I will use this official Tesla forum instead than your other garbage wannabe forum full of negative paranoid freaks that I have ever encountered. Your attitude obviously speaks for itself too. You guys at that forum are history.

So I don't know why you want me banned here as well? What exactly did I do here this time? Am I not allowed to express and share my opinion here? Do you think Tesla will ban me because I am one of their customers too.

Douglas- Yes that is how much the insurance I pay for my 2 cars + a Ferrari cost $1800 for 6 mths + winter storage. I know it is very high, that's why I want to get rid of both Infiniti and Benz, when I get Model S to replace them with electric technology. I am curious which insurance company are you with with to receive such low rates, if you don't mind?

dsm363 | July 15, 2011

You have the right to post here but you continue to cross post your bumper theory in multiple areas. Even in threads that have nothing to do with your expensive bumper design flaw theory. You may have a valid point but one thread is enough. It's actually your attitude which is the problem and caused you to get banned. Just look at everyone's response to your posts.

cytek | July 15, 2011

DSM - Excuse me! I only posted on this main Tesla official forum, plus on special thread for Franz to answer questions and that other crap forum you speak of full of freakazoids! Are you telling me that official Tesla forum and your other crap forum are the same forum as one? I don't think so, as I have an impression that they are both separate forums. I was not intentionally spamming on the same forum multiple times as you guys wrongly accused me of? I think you guys are overreacting and whining for such a stupid silly little fuzz for no apparent reasons at all. You guys acting like whining kids need to grow up. I could careless about being banned from other forum because it's a worthless forum full of immature uneducated freaks that's not worth my time. I have a better professional career credentials than you guys with connections in the F1 Racing and exotic car industry. So I am going to move on. You guys can dream on about owning a Model S.

dsm363 | July 15, 2011

I am impressed by your professional credentials. You have a lot of hostility and it's more than obvious to everyone else why you would get banned from a forum. How do you know what kind of professional connections we have? Please keep your Ferrari, Infiniti and Mercedes and give the rest of us a break.

cytek | July 15, 2011

DSM- Hostility??? Please go re-read both the entire threads (here and your crap forum) and you be the judge with full honesty, whether I really instigated such hostilities?? Truthfully I have not provoked a single hostility in these forums while you freaks constantly whined and bashed on my postings. That's until Ckessel made a rude remark about a good thing I was a former designer that prompted me to respond back. I got banned for unfair illogical reason, which you got a nerve to post it here announcing I was banned and requested to ban me here as well. What's your point of telling everyone here, as if you are telling on your mommy and daddy to spank me. It's totally unneccessary childish behaviour and uncalled for. If you think I originally instigated such hostilities after re-reading both entire threads yourself, then I think something is wrong with your IQ and you are simply smokin crack! You guys are acting like wannabe Tesla forum police here. I am not going to comment anymore on this silly regard and am moving on.

All -
I do apologize to others who are not part of this unfortunate incident for going off topic on this thread with recent hostile postings that has gone too far in an unprofessional manner. I never expected to be dealing with abnormally odd behaviour on Tesla forums. I do share great interest in Tesla Model S with you all future owners and wish you all the best. I know it's hard to be patient for being on a waiting list for so long. I may see some of you at Tesla events in the future after our cars are built and delivered next year.

dsm363 | July 15, 2011

Thank you. Glad you're moving on but I don't think your work is done. People need to be informed about the front bumper issue.

Timo | July 16, 2011

Just to comment: Model S furthest point in front is traditional steel bumper covered by that ugly fake grille.

William13 | July 16, 2011

Boron infused steel bumper.

dsm363 | July 16, 2011

direct quotes " It's simply ludicrous, absurd with sheer stupidity!"
"dealing with a bunch of paranoid anti-EV conspiracy-minded freaks"
"that other crap forum you speak of full of freakazoids! "
"I think you guys are overreacting and whining for such a stupid silly little fuzz for no apparent reasons at all. You guys acting like whining kids need to grow up"
"I think something is wrong with your IQ and you are simply smokin crack! "

You know, I take it back and apologize. You were very even-keeled and calm the entire time.

Volker.Berlin | July 17, 2011

dsm, cytek, can you stop it, please? Your little flame war here doesn't really help the subject. Instead of becoming personal, just ignore and move on. Thanks. (The one who first does not respond, wins! ;-)

Le'Quen | July 20, 2011

Do you not put luggage in the front hood of this car ?
What do you think is around that compartment ?
I am sure the front end will be able to resist 3mph.
Human walking speed is between 4.51 km/h to 5.43 km/h .
If a car is made with the though of carrying 7 people , the safty guidelines are different so is the crash test rating as well.
It would also be for a "electric car" with less moving parts not the infiniti or the benz with more .
The chevy volt or the nissan leaf ,you should check the rapairs on those ,which is far less for electric cars .

Bighorn | September 28, 2015

Flagged for spamming

Dwatson102 | September 28, 2015

Aerodynamics and safety trumps part costs. The parts are designed to absorb energy to keep you safe. watch the safety video. In order to absorb energy they need to deform. That is how it is supposed to work. That is why they sell spare parts.

Designing a car to save its parts in a crash is absolutely a backwards objective. Just look at Tesla's NHTSA crash rating. Nothing more to say. They did it exactly right in my view.

I had a 2012 Toyota Camry hit head on while parked. All the doors and passenger cabin were fine. Hood crumpled and broke the windshield. Engine, hybrid unit, front suspension axles, everything destroyed. Car totaled. Passenger compartment was fine. Just the hybrid unit alone added $7500 to the bill. Took my money, bought a new car. Insurance company did not even flinch.

bejachb | September 28, 2015

2014 Model S was hit 8-13-15, just back from the body shop. Total damage was 18,200.

skymaster | September 28, 2015


The front end of the Model S is designed to absorb energy, period.

You may someday appreciate this "Crumple Zone" in the front of your Model S. (no one ever expects it, but hey accidents happen.

Get your front end fixed, then ALWAYS put the car into "Jack" mode when you pull over ANYTHING and it will NEVER lower down EVER again.

Give it a try, it takes maybe one second to put it into JACK.

Killed or seriously injured? Get a CLUE!!!...The Model S will save your life, not kill you.