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

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
I watched the video 3 times before I saw it around 10 seconds mark.
Thanks, I watched it again and saw it. Didn't notice it the first time I viewed the video. The strike mush have pretty close, maybe within a few hundred feet, to have an effect on the car. I doubt it struck the car directly. That would likely have permanently damaged the various CPUs in the car.
 

tinm

2020 Model S LR+ Owner
May 3, 2015
2,463
12,331
New Mexico, USA
Lightning strikes that are very close-by flash and bang almost simultaneously, as the sound does not have to travel very far. I've had that happen to me once, years ago in the Pre-Tesla Era. I was at a red light, waiting for it to go green, and lightning struck right next to my driver's door, right onto the sidewalk at the corner of the intersection. All kinds of grass flew into the air, burnt to a crisp. For a moment everything was brilliant white and bluish and yes, ozone smell.

Here are three frames of the OP's video. Note that the flash happened so fast, the video couldn't quite capture it entirely, but you do get a sense of its brightness by noting the reflections in the windshield.

flash.png
 
Eagerly looking forward to a FUD article somewhere about how one is in more danger of being struck by lightning when in a Model S ;)

Seriously, I guess ESD could cause problems with microprocessors in many modern cars, EVs or not. The only survivors would be the pre-1980s cars?!
Do not worry about FUD, my friend 2010 Ford Escape was completely disabled by close-by lightning strike, so many electronic components damaged by magnetic field.
 
Likely that the lightning hit one of those trees and your car was connected by the rainwater to the ground, or a pulse went through the SC cabinet, experiencing some sort of ESD or peripheral power surge. This happened near our house about two years ago and the charge carried through the irrigation wires to the watering control box about 250' away; the control box on the side of my barn literally blew to pieces while nothing in the main house was affected.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
6,852
8,421
Snohomish, WA
Great dash cam, but it couldn't record the event.

From the video it looked like it freaked out for a split second, but from the above frame captures it appears like the CMOS Sensor simply couldn't handle the brightness change. You see the split image effect because CMOS Sensors use a rolling shutter (unless they are of the global shutter variety). So when quick events happen you get a sudden change in the middle of the image.
 
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Hey, what was the audio warning? Was that the car telling you something auto pilot. I was unaware there were audible warnings from the car. Could it be the black view talking?

@lagann mentioned that it was the dashcam that gave the warning in a follow-up post in this thread:

The "Parking mode disabled" you hear is my dashcam when the power got all funky
 
Sound travels at 761 MPH, or just under 13 miles per second.
Just under 13* miles a minute, 12.66.. a minute to be exact. Sound travels 0.211.. miles a second, you forgot to divide by another 60. Which is not that fast if you compare it to light which travels at 186,282 miles a second. There is a trick to see how far away a lightning strike is. Count how many seconds it takes for the thunder to get to you after seeing the flash of lightning and for ever second is about 5 miles. Sorry for my pointless ramble.
 
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Cottonwood

Roadster#433, Model S#S37
Feb 27, 2009
5,089
182
Colorado
Speed of sound is 340.29 meters/s, not 5 miles/s:

Speed of sound - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And to all EV owners. Always disconnect your charging cable from your car during the lightning storm.

Exactly, and in Imperial units, it's pretty easy to remember. The speed of light is approximately 1 foot per nanosecond, and the speed of sound is 1 foot per millisecond. This means that the speed of sound is 1,000 feet per second, or about 1 mile per 5 seconds or about 1 km per 3 seconds, while light at 1,000,000 times faster is instantaneous on these time scales.

Going back to the video, the normal North American video frame rate is 30 Hz or 1 frame per 33 ms. If the flash to boom time is within a video frame, the lightening was within 33 feet or 10 meters.

That's close!!!


Inside the car is very safe because the car is a good Faraday Cage Faraday cage - Wikipedia) Even with the Faraday cage, the EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) can damage electronics, especially with the charging cable connected. For this very reason, there are nuclear weapons designed to produce EMP. (Electromagnetic pulse - Wikipedia)
 
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.

You don't need to get so defensive.

I should note the visual strike of lightning in the video and the boom are perfectly co-located which basically means the lightning strike was either directly on him or directly adjacent to him.
 
I don't know what a direct hit would be like, but I know what a near-hit would do, at least to an ICE vehicle.

I was driving my M3 over a bridge when lightening hit a piece of construction equipment as I passed it.

The dealer replaced every single circuit board one by one. The last thing their diagnostics found was that the passenger side rear anti-lock brake sensor had completely fused into a single solid piece of metal.
 

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