We’ve written about Tesla’s production and quality control issues, especially with the new Model 3, before, but this would be sort of startling even if we hadn’t: a person bought a Tesla Model 3, and, within the first 30 minutes of driving the car back home, the rear bumper cover falls off. That’s, um, not ideal. Update: A Tesla spokesperson said the company is looking into the matter here, and that this “is not how we build our cars.”
The owner was Rithesh Nair, and here’s the tweet where he let Elon Musk himself know about his new car’s over-exposed car-ass:
It is sort of amazing to stop and consider for a moment that we live in a world where people are complaining about their new car’s problems in a direct line to the company’s CEO.
As to why the bumper fell off, there seems to be a hint in the environmental conditions of this Model 3's inaugural drive: rain. Now, cars are generally pretty good at retaining their body panels in the rain, even bottom-of-the-market cars like the Mitsubishi Mirage, but it seems to be a challenge for this Model 3. And not just this Model 3:
Yep, that’s another Model 3 losing its pants in the rain.
According to the speculation of other tweeters, the issue seems to be related to a bit of cloth-like shielding under the car, which would deflect water and debris around and below the bumper.
If this bit of shielding gets torn or loose, water can be forced into the bumper cover, which would act like a big water catch-basin, eventually being pulled off its mounts from the weight and/or pressure of the water being directed up inside the bumper cover.
While that explanation makes sense and seems plausible, the fact that this is happening at all is pretty incredible. Even just happening twice. Keeping your bumper cover on in pretty much all weather is a very, very solved problem in the automotive industry.
We’ve reached out to Tesla for comment and will update when we hear back.
But, you know. Disrupting.
Update: Here’s the statement we got from a Tesla official:
We’re setting an extremely high bar for Model 3, and what happened in this situation is not how we build our cars. We’re investigating the issue to understand what caused it, and we are contacting our customers to resolve this and ensure they are satisfied.