It's not a UFO, but this UDO (unidentified driving object) is causing almost as much of a stir on Reddit, Tesla Motors Club and other sites as a visit from Sanyassan marauders. It's tough to see in the video still above, but what we're looking at here is a Tesla Model S with a big ole something on top.

That something (and you can see it a bit better in the video below or get a better view in a daylight picture over on Teslarati or even more at TMC) makes the car a mystery. Speculation is basically centered in three camps: either it's a weight thing, to allow for Tesla to test out the all-wheel drive system that is coming in the Model X and also to the Model S; or maybe it's test equipment for autonomous drive experiments. The third likely guess is that the blocky item is simply meant to simulate the weight and drag of a Model X and allow Tesla engineers the chance to test the suspension and handling of the upcoming falcon-winged crossover.

Officially, there's no clarification on what, exactly, we're looking at. We've asked Tesla for a comment (and we're not the only ones), but have not heard anything back. If we do, we will of course let you know. Until then, we'll join Teslarati in calling this the Model S/X and wait to see what information others can scrape together. What's your guess?

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 9 Months Ago
      Just wish they'd start on an electric cycle that gets the same distance or farther.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        bicycle or motorcycle? You can build an electric bicycle with that kind of power and range now using off the shelf components.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Days Ago
      My guess is that the article outlines that it is either simulating the X, or for autonomous driving, and does not give three choices as stated. Where did the third one come from?
      • 2 Days Ago
      Its the new optional solar panel....
      • 2 Days Ago
      Photovoltaic panel?
      BipDBo
      • 9 Months Ago
      Tesla S goes to Home Depot. Tesla stock jumps $5 billion.
      dan.frederiksen
      • 2 Days Ago
      It looks too monolithic and solid to be a sensor package. And I think it's much too soon for Tesla to be in trial for autonomous driving. Besides Elon wanted camera driving, not lidar, so one wouldn't expect anything on the roof in any case. The driving seems too erratic and aggressive for computer driving as well. The daylight picture reveals a little dome. Could be a laser scanner, but could also be a gps antenna and the package on top is just data gathering. I don't think they would use those primitive wheel sensors either. But who knows, they are outside UC santa cruz. I hear those guys aren't the sharpest :) I would guess it's a less glamorous test than AI but not sure what they are doing.
      RC
      • 9 Months Ago
      Looks like a bigger battery pack. If you think about it, it seems reasonable to test added range on the highway.
      Grendal
      • 9 Months Ago
      It could be a Model S with a roof rack and some boards tied down to it.
      DarylMc
      • 2 Days Ago
      Looks a lot like solar panels to me. It doesn't seem a good idea to do such a thing and the speculation that it is for testing seems reasonable.
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Days Ago
      Doesn't the ride height seem higher than normal for highway driving? That would also suggest it's simulating a ModelX. Maybe Tesla are making a car especially for tornado chasers? Testing out the protection technology? /Sarcasm
      • 2 Days Ago
      Just stand back when it reaches 88mph and the 1.21 gig awaits kick in! Marty, where this thing goes we don't need roads!
      Robert
      • 2 Days Ago
      Haha, for all we know this is just a random guy driving a Tesla S and he's hauling some boards home from Home Depot.
        m_2012
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Robert
        with $20K in wheel speed sensors installed?
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