Tesla driver's $500 'run in' with kangaroo highlights costly feature of popular EV

Tesla drivers are warning others about how one safety feature can prove a bit costly.

The Tesla's white bonnet sticking out after the safety feature called 'active hood' was activated on Tuesday (left). The driver shared footage captured by the electric vehicle of the kangaroo jumping out in front of his car on a rural NSW road (right).
The Tesla driver now faces $500 in repair costs after the safety feature 'active hood' was activated when a kangaroo was hit. Source: Facebook

Tesla cars have long been the most popular electric vehicle on Australian roads. Despite the occasional complaint from drivers, most buyers love to crow about the fleet's advanced technology. However one driver's recent experience of a safety feature in action has put a dent in his wallet to match the one on the front of his car.

On Tuesday the driver had a "run in with a roo" just before 6am while driving along a rural road in NSW, activating a safety feature called 'active hood'. This makes the rear portion of the bonnet pop up, minimising impact on whatever is approaching the car while also reducing damage to the car itself.

The driver, who managed to brake and only "tap" the kangaroo, believes the safety feature reduced the severity of the situation but it meant he was left to drive around with his bonnet sticking out before he could get to the mechanic and get it fixed.

"I go to a service centre, quote came back at just over $500," he wrote in an online group for Tesla owners, explaining the bonnet needed to be replaced rather than just reset as pyrotechnics are used in the safety feature.

After sharing his experience on social media many other Tesla drivers chimed in to say they too have copped hefty repair costs due to this feature, with some believing it wasn't necessary in minor collisions.

"Happened to me about a month ago... initial quote they gave was $500. After a technician had a look at the service centre, I received a call saying it was going to be $2,000," another Tesla owner lamented.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Tesla for comment about the feature's design.

There has been criticism of another Tesla safety feature in relation to kangaroos after drivers discovered the motion sensor 'Tesla vision' doesn't appear to pick up the native animals when they jump into the path of the car.

A kangaroo on the road is not flagged on the Tesla Vision internal screen (left) but a cyclist on the road comes up on the screen (right).
While Tesla Vision recognises a cyclist, it cannot recognise a kangaroo. Source: Facebook

The camera-led feature picks up on pedestrians, cyclists and even dogs and relays that information to drivers and passengers through the screen in the car. But last month a driver warned others that it appeared not do the same for kangaroos, despite one of the animals being in plain sight in front of him.

"Just a heads up to Tesla owners who are driving cross country... Tesla Vision does not recognise our national fauna such as our iconic kangaroo,” he said. "Please take the usual precautions to slow down and keep an eye out, especially during sundown and sunrise."

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