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CA DMV failing Tesla car for behind the wheel drive test


New Member
Jun 24, 2021
I took my daughter this morning for her behind the wheel drive test at the DMV office in our Model 3. She was failed for "Mechanical Failure". According to the examiner, because of the regenerative braking which she was calling "auto braking". She was failed just because it was a Tesla and has regenerative braking. According to the examiner the car is braking by itself and therefore my daughter was failed for "Mechanical Failure". I got into a heated argument explaining that all electric cars have regenerative braking .....it is not "auto braking". This is ridiculous has anyone else run into this issue. This is idiotic....


Feb 14, 2020
Los Angeles
Technically the examiner is probably correct. There's no guarantee that the OP's daughter is going to be driving a Tesla forever. What happens if she decides or is forced to drive an ICE?

By this logic, should we fail someone that drives an automatic ICE vehicle because he/she didn't get tested on an ICE vehicle that has a manual transmission? It doesn't make any sense.
Jan 11, 2021
By this logic, should we fail someone that drives an automatic ICE vehicle because he/she didn't get tested on a ICE vehicle that has a manual transmission? It doesn't make any sense.
Funnily enough, that is exactly what happens in the UK. If you learn to drive in an auto, you are not licensed to drive a manual If you learn in a manual, you can later drive an auto with no additional test.

As for the original post, that is crazy. I’m sure this will have to be updated as more EVs hit the road. Regenerative braking will be fairly ubiquitous in a few years.


Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
Rancho Cucamonga
Did he fail her because she was doing 1 pedal driving? If that's the case, you could just turn on creep mode and you can show that the car won't come to a complete stop without pressing the brake. Which DMV in CA is that btw? Just want to make sure I don't go there with my son next year.


Dec 13, 2020
Vilano Beach, FL
Geez, sounds like the DMV location where these two work ...



Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
Visalia, CA
...regenerative braking...
You could temporarily "disable" regen if you could start the DMV driving test with 100% full battery and also it helps if it's cold winter too.

It also helps if you can bring your Ford Lightning with its onboard 9 kWh 240 volt outlet to charge your Model 3 fully while waiting for the examiner to do paperwork and inspection.

I guess CA DMV needs to update its rules because there will be no new gasoline cars to be sold by 2035.
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Reactions: msm859


Jan 14, 2021
Sunnyvale, CA
It seems the examiner was unhappy with the rapid deceleration typical with regen-braking.
Daughter explained this, but nonetheless, ride was too harsh for comfort.
She did not fail because of "auto-braking", even though that was the reason given.
She failed because the ride was too rough.

Try again with 100% battery so there is no regen-braking.
Or better, lightly taper foot from accelerator to negate the regen-braking effect when coasting / slowing down.

Rather like driving an ICE car in second gear.. if you simply remove your foot from the gas, the car rapidly decelerates.
But if you drag your foot off, you can smoothen the ride.

Driving smoothly will allow her to pass the test.
Alternatively you can try complaining to the supervisor, but you already have a taste of how that is likely to go.


Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
Visalia, CA
...all electric cars have regenerative braking .....it is not "auto braking"....

The regen slows your car down much more than letting it gliding away, so technically, "regen" is "auto braking".

However, that is the way of the future so DMV needs to adjust to the EV regen. I don't know how to solve it: Complaint to the supervisor. Switch to another branch. Get the lawmakers to make sure DMV will accommodate the EV regen or 1-pedal driving feature...


Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
Riverside Co. CA
happen to agree with @RayK in this thread. The best solution was given a couple times in this thread, at least in my opinion. Charge the car to 100% before the test (but make sure you daughter knows how to drive with your car having no regen braking).

In order to be licensed to drive, one must know how and when to apply the brake pedal. One pedal driving is something that should not be done in a driving test, at least until every single car on the road operates that way.

Demonstrating you know how to actually brake is important. OP should be able to just charge the car to 100% and have daughter re take the test with no issues / re training etc. If there is any discomfort from OPs daughter with the car at 100% charge, then OP knows they dont actually know how to use the brake properly.


Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
mtn view, ca
Technically the examiner is probably correct.
I've often heard that that's the best kind of correct.

reminds me of my 'driver simulation' back in the late 70's. our highschool had these trailer things that we had to sit in and 'drive a car'. funny to think how bad they were, compared to what could be in use, today.

I got failed when I took my foot off the brake at a stop light (no one in front of me) and my complaint is that there was no feedback, and if my car was really moving (creep mode) I'd have applied the brake and kept it down. but this being a footswitch, I relaxed my foot just enough for it to untrigger and they failed me on that one thing (just a practice exercise, but it means a lot to a kid at that age). I dont even think there was a separate 'movie' for each student in those trailers. I think we had to have all been watching the same thing and even if we let off the brake, our movie would not creep forward at all.

I think that was my first realization of how bad a 'sim' can be. didn't matter, they didn't listen to kids; adults were always right (lol).

too bad they are still acting the same way. unable to think for themselves.

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