Tesla Model 3 test drives in Shenzhen paused after customer crashes first unit

(Photo: 新出行小编/Weibo)

Tesla set out to remove the perception that electric cars are slow, boring vehicles which are no more special than glorified golf carts. The company accomplished their goal with the original Tesla Roadster, the Model S, Model X, and now, the Model 3. While Tesla’s electric cars are proven to be quick on their feet, there is one particular fact that usually gets overlooked — it takes a responsible and proficient driver to handle the power provided by the company’s vehicles.

This point was highlighted recently in Shenzen, China. Tesla is expected to begin deliveries of the Model 3 in the Asian country, and to help prepare reservation holders and potential customers for the sedan’s arrival; the electric car maker has started a test drive program for the vehicle. Just as planned by Elon Musk for the United States, the test drive units that were initially sent to China were Model 3 Performance, the top tier variant of the electric sedan that is known for being very quick, whether in straight-line acceleration or around a track. Unfortunately, one test driver in Shenzen, China proved to be unprepared for the power of the Model 3 Performance.  

As shared by Tesla owner-enthusiast JayinShanghai on Twitter, the Model 3 test driver ended up crashing the electric sedan. An image of the vehicle, as well as a short clip of the electric car after the accident, showed the extensive damage to the front of the car. While Tesla has not revealed the specifics of the incident, the damage incurred by the Model 3 Performance suggests that the vehicle might have crashed into a pole.

Due to the crash, Model 3 test drives in Shenzen were promptly stopped, at least until another test unit could be shipped to the area. Fortunately, the wait for another Model 3 test drive car was short. As shared by  Tesla enthusiast Kelvin Yang on Twitter, reports have emerged stating that another Model 3 Performance has been shipped to Shenzen as a replacement for the crashed test drive unit. Unlike the red sedan that was damaged from the incident, Shenzen’s new Model 3 Performance test drive car is painted black and equipped with 19″ Power Sports Wheels.

Seemingly without missing a beat, Tesla has reportedly started taking appointments for test drives in the new vehicle. In a later update, Yang noted that the new Model 3 test drive car is already fully booked, with interested customers being required to wait an average of more than two hours for their turn.

Tesla’s rapid response to its damaged Model 3 test drive unit in Shenzen is impressive. Considering that deliveries in the country are yet to begin, the company showed a considerable amount of proficiency with its logistics by shipping another test drive unit to the city immediately following the first vehicle’s crash. This, if any, bodes well for the upcoming Model 3 deliveries in the region.

Unlike the Tesla Model S P100D and the Model X P100D, the Model 3 Performance is not equipped with a dedicated feature that optimizes it for straight-line acceleration. Instead, the Model 3’s top variant utilizes the raw power of its dual electric motors, which produce a combined 450 hp and 471 lb-ft of torque. The Model 3 Performance lives up to its moniker, with its 0-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds, its top speed of 155 mph, and its range of 310 miles per charge. The car is also equipped with a Track Mode feature, which optimizes the vehicle for intensive driving around a racetrack.

Watch the aftermath of Shenzen’s Model 3 Performance test drive unit’s crash in the video below.

Tesla Model 3 test drives in Shenzhen paused after customer crashes first unit
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