AUTO

Tesla Model S occupants survive landslide and fallen tree

  • Grønvolds Bildemontering AS

     (Grønvolds Bildemontering AS)

  • Grønvolds Bildemontering AS

     (Grønvolds Bildemontering AS)

  • Grønvolds Bildemontering AS

     (Grønvolds Bildemontering AS)

Tesla Motors got some real-world publicity for its touted car safety back in August. The Norwegian newspaper site Bergensavisen reported that a Tesla Model S was caught in a landslide outside of Bergen, Norway. The car was pushed close to the edge of a cliff and crushed by a large tree. The woman and child occupants survived uninjured -- a testament to the strength of the car's construction. In fact, the Model S did get an overall five-star rating by the NHTSA, and Tesla itself claimed it broke the crushing machine used in one of the tests. Whether this is true or not, it certainly proved itself when a tree landed on top of it.

Last week, the crushed Model S 60 was put up for sale on a Norwegian classified ads site, though it's being sold as a parts car.

The car is indeed a write-off. The front truck (or frunk) appears to have sustained the most damage, and the hood is unsalvageable. The bumper cover is hanging on by a thread. The rear end of the car was also crushed, so it's a good thing nobody was in the rear-facing seats. The interior seems mostly intact, if you can look past the broken glass (from the panoramic roof) and rearview mirror hanging by its wires. The windshield was smashed, but it did not shatter.

The latest safety reports for Tesla focus on its new autopilot system, which was released as a software update earlier this month. The autopilot allows the Model S to steer within a lane, change lanes by tapping a turn signal, and manage speed by using active, traffic-aware cruise control. The system can also control the indivudal motors, brakes and steering to help avoid collisions and keep the cars on the road. It can even scan for parking and then do the job itself.

The autopilot system is only available in North America, so don't go blaming it for the tree incident. However, American Tesla owners are reporting malfunctions with the system, which is currently in a beta stage.