Tesla‘s retractable door handles haven’t always endeared themselves to owners, but they can sometimes prove to be a big asset. The hidden door handles in Tesla vehicles were initially introduced on the original Model S in 2012 before being made a part of all new Tesla vehicles in the following years. While the Model S and Model X have handles that present themselves upon walking up to the car, the less expensive Model 3 and Model Y have handles that owners must push in to open the door.
Tesla is the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) maker, selling more than 900,000 cars in 2021. With EVs becoming increasingly popular due to soaring gas prices and increasing environmental concerns, the company is selling more cars than ever and is struggling to meet demand. Despite raising prices multiple times this year, the company’s offerings remain more popular than ever, and not just in the U.S. Teslas are so popular in Australia that Elon Musk recently promised to accelerate Model Y production amid increased demand in the country.
A short 10-second video shared by Twitter user Wham Baam Teslacam seemingly shows a furious motorist rushing up to what’s said to be a Tesla vehicle and banging on one of the windows before trying to open the door. Unfortunately for the angry man and fortunately for the occupants of the Tesla, he couldn’t find a handle to grab on to and failed to figure out how to open the door. The video then shows the Tesla slowly moving away from the bewildered man, who stands puzzled at the apparent lack of a door handle on the car. It’s not immediately clear, however, where the video is from, nor what led to the road rage incident in the first place.
Tesla’s Hidden Door Handles
While having a hidden door handle was a big help for the Tesla driver in the above video, even a conventional handle might not have resulted in a physical confrontation in this case, as most drivers lock their cars from the inside while driving. Many modern cars even have auto-locking functionality that automatically locks the vehicle when in Drive mode. However, the man couldn’t even find anything to grab thanks to the hidden handles, which probably distracted him for a few seconds. That gave enough time for the Tesla driver to pull away from him, thereby diffusing what could have been a dangerous situation for everybody concerned.
While the latest incident is a positive advertisement for Tesla’s unique door handles, it’s not often that they have received positive press over the years. Tesla’s official forums are replete with stories about severe problems with this hardware, including frozen door handles that prevent them from popping out during winter and gear failures that prevent them from extending. They have also been the subject of serious scrutiny after malfunctioning following crashes. However, despite all their problems, this is one time that they helped a Tesla driver escape without physical confrontation in a road rage situation.