It was a cold and rainy night in the Detroit suburb of Canton when a Reddit user who goes by XxRoyalxTigerxX noticed something noteworthy: a Tesla Model 3 parked outside a grocery store. And a man standing over the propped-open frontal trunk, unable to get the car started, much less get in it.
It's rare to see a Model 3, Tesla's most heavily anticipated new vehicle, in a place like Michigan, or any place so far from Tesla's headquarters or production facility in California. The company made just 260 units of the new affordable sedan in the third quarter, there's a waiting list of 500,000 or so customers, and Tesla has delayed its pledge to produce 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by three months to the end of the first quarter of 2018. Combine that novelty with apparent car troubles, and all the ingredients are there for viral Internet magic.
In a thread on the Reddit Tesla forum titled "Model 3 dead in a parking lot trying to jump the car to get in," XxRoyalxTigerxX describes sitting in his parked vehicle and watching as the Model 3 driver struggled to figure out how to gain access to the car, apparently with help of someone in a car parked in front of him.
While there's no way to independently verify the veracity of this, the post sparked 175 comments, with many Redditors zeroing in on the 12-volt lead-acid battery (used to start an internal combustion car and to power auxilliary systems in an EV) as the likely culprit.
Other users reported having had similar issues with their non-Tesla electric vehicles, including one who said his 2017 Chevrolet Volt "died on the side of the road only 8000 miles after delivery due to a 12V system failure. Same type of setup as the guy pictured, only things that worked was the manual hood release, and manual door release."
Perhaps our favorite comment came from user IJUSTENDWDU, who calls the 12V battery "the appendix of electric cars."
What do you think, readers?