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So, my car was hit by lightning at the Grove City, OH supercharger...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by lagann, May 31, 2015.

  1. lagann

    lagann Member

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    #1 lagann, May 31, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    I was there charging and a thunderstorm rolled in extremely quickly. There were two of us at the charger at the moment. I hear an extremely loud boom and saw some lightning. I'm not sure if it hit my car directly, but it was extremely close. My car flipped out and gave 9 errors. The other guy seemed fine and he drove away. My car complained that the power was extremely low, that it can't charge, and that the 12v battery was about to die. After the storm went away I tried to disconnect the car from the supercharger, but it wouldn't disconnect. I was on the phone with Tesla for about 4 hours. They said this is their first case of something like this. They sent a tow truck over to try to jumpstart the 12v battery and tow it, but even when he did that it still wouldn't disconnect from the supercharger, so I have to wait till they can get a technician out there to manually disconnect it so they can tow it to the service center. Also, the sunroof is stuck open and we couldn't get it closed. So now I just have to play the waiting game and wait for them to call me and get the key. They offered a taxi and to put me up in a hotel for the night, but I was visiting a friend here in Columbus before so I'm just staying with him till this is figured out. Once again, Tesla service went above and beyond and was extremely helpful through this whole matter. It really helped keep the stress down in the situation, since I already was crying a bit. I'll let you guys know what they find.

    Also, here's a link to the video my dashcam took during it all: Lightning hits my Tesla - YouTube

     
    • Helpful x 1
  2. Sgutz

    Sgutz Member

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    Wow, that's crazy. Thankfully you're safe. Judging by the video, if the Lightning didn't hit your car it was definitely very close by. Did you smell ozone (like fresh air)? That's usually a good indicator that it was too close for comfort.

    I guess Tesla will be particularly interested so they can decide if they need to make design changes to the car or SC.
     
  3. lagann

    lagann Member

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    Yeah, I definitely smelled ozone. I couldn't find any burn marks anywhere nearby, though. I checked all the trees around the area and the ground. It may have struck somewhere on the building right behind the supercharger, though.
     
  4. MileHighMotoring

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    Wow, freaky and scary.
    Was it open in that rain before the strike? Or did the strike cause it to open?


    That is some impressive customer service. Well done, Tesla.
     
  5. 3s-a-charm

    3s-a-charm Active Member

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    Wow! That's incredible... When did the sunroof open? Obviously with the rain you had it closed but did you open it when you were trying to figure things out on the phone with Tesla? Love these dashcam videos documenting unusual events.
     
  6. lagann

    lagann Member

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    I opened it to vent after the strike because the air conditioning turned off. It seemed to be related to the low power errors. When we were finished and the car had the touchscreen on, nothing we could do would get it to close, though. At least it was just open to the venting point. I just stuck a towel in the crack to keep moisture out.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Okay, let me see if I've got this right. At about 8 seconds into the video there is a crash of thunder. I didn't see any lightning. The wipers continued to work. Then the car's computer said "Parking mode disabled". Is that correct? The wipers kept working. And then you had a lot of errors shown in the driver's display and you could not disconnect the charging cable?

    And I don't understand the sunroof situation; obviously you didn't have it open before the lightning hit. Did it partially open after the error messages appeared?

    What do you mean you are waiting for "them to call me and get the key"?

    Keep us posted. This is certainly a freak occurrence, and I'm sorry you are stuck in your car!

    NOTE: having a car get hit by lightning directly or very close will have adverse effects on ANY car because all cars have multiple microprocessors onboard that are effected by high voltage discharges and intense EMF. The unfortunate situation described here is hardly unique to Tesla and EVs except for the fact that the charging cable could not be disconnected, since ICEs do not have charging cables.
     
  8. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    That is incredible.
    When in the video did the lightening strike? (I had the sound off)
     
  9. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Thanks for sharing and good luck to you. If the car really took a hit it wouldn't surprise me if Tesla decides they want the car for detailed analysis. In that event, they should give you a new car. If I was me, I'd take the SC cabinet that you used offline too until I could examine it.
     
  10. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Not to trivialize it, but I suspect if you had a direct hit, there'd by a lot of visible, physical damage to the car. I know of 2 houses that had direct lightning strikes. One caught fire and was a total loss, the other had a minor fire, charred marks down the exterior siding, and most electronics were toast (all TV's, the alarm system, etc). I'd guess you were the victim of surges on the power line from a nearby hit.

    I was in an airplane 20+ years ago, circling IAH that was closed due to storms. I was staring out the window when lighting either struck the wing or not far past it. Scared the %#(! out of me!

    Good luck getting it fixed!
     
  11. Grisik

    Grisik Member

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    What kind of dash cam is that? It looks great.
     
  12. lagann

    lagann Member

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    There is a flash in the video. Neither the front or the back cameras saw any bolt. It was definitely nearby, though. I could smell the ozone in the air. The "Parking mode disabled" you hear is my dashcam when the power got all funky. Most of the functions of the car were still fine. You could open the hatchback and the car doors, and the touchscreen still mostly worked. The air conditioning quit working, but I suspect it was disabled because of the low power error.

    As I said above, I was stuck in the car for a while, and without the air conditioning I opened the sunroof to vent. Later when I was on the phone with Tesla it refused to close, though. I tried through the touchscreen multiple times without any luck.

    I had to leave the car at the supercharger till a Tesla technician can get over there to manually disconnect the car. They are going to need the key. I'm currently at a friend's apartment so they're going to have to come pick it up from me, or I could meet them at the supercharger.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yeah, I doubt it hit the car, but it was definitely close enough to make the air smell like ozone. Like I said, I couldn't find any visible damage elsewhere. As for the power surges, I was told it wasn't possible because the supercharger had multiple safety guards to keep this from happening, and it would have been caught at any one of those. I wasn't the only one charging, and the other car seemed to be just fine.
     
  13. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I am glad that you are okay, and I also am glad that you weren't refueling an ICE car with lightning as close as it was. Although one hopes a gasoline station is well-protected by arrestor rods, really direct hits can get through and if so, you wouldn't be writing to us.
     
  14. lagann

    lagann Member

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  15. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    #15 mitch672, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    You're Model S has been hit with ESD from the lightning strike.

    My house was nearby a strike last summer: damage $650 NVR LAN port fried (worked around the issue but remote access no longer works), $350 Honeywell 3 zone damper controller fried (replaced), $1100 CISCO 3560G POE used switch just installed weeks before fried (luckily my employeer is CISCO authorized and got it replaced for me with a $500 Smartnet plan), slingbox LAN port fried (never replaced), 8 port $50 gigabit switch fried.

    Since this occurance, I now have surge protectection on all of my LAN wiring, before the cables plug into the ethernet switch, this protection has MOV's and gas discharge tubes, and should shunt surges to ground (hopefully). Of course that still would not have helped with the Honeywell controller, that was damaged via induced voltage in thermostat wiring.

    point is, ESD is very damaging to electonics, and you don't need to be that close for the induced voltage to damage sensitive electronics... I suspect one or more microprocessors in your Model S will need to be replaced.
     
  16. Shawn Snider

    Shawn Snider Member

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    Watched the video (unbelievable camera quality btw! definately buying 1 or 2 of those for my S!), if you watch the time as the lightning strikes, the sound took VERY little time to travel after the flash, i'm gonna guess that it struck somewhere within 100metres or less. Almost instantaneous Flash+Sound!

    Epic!
     
  17. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    I watched the video 3 times before I saw it around 10 seconds mark.

    If flashplayer skips a frame or two you'll miss it so be sure you are on a stable / fast connection.
     
  18. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    Good thing you were inside the car - I have that same dash cam and love the front one -- the back one is of poor quality though... You definitely got hit by ESD - but not the actual physical bolt -- if you smelled Ozone - you were really close and the flash/bang cycle was completely in sync....
     
  19. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

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    Electromagnetic induction can be very powerful, it take one of Uncle's new EMP bonbons to disable an entire city.

    Amazing, thanks for sharing.

    Inside a car is the safest place in a storm, Faraday cage.
     
  20. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    There was no time between the lightning flash (flicker in the video) and the crash of thunder. Sound travels at 761 MPH, or just under 13 miles per second. I'd guess the strike was within 1/4 mile.
     

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