Speedy Valet Wrecks Tesla Model S With ‘Cheetah Mode’ Parking Lot Launch

Oops, another valet just justified the existence of Valet Mode.

byStef Schrader|
Electric Vehicles photo


One unlucky visitor to the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio didn't get his valet-parked $110,000 Tesla Model S back in one piece. Behold the latest addition to the cautionary lore of paid parking fails: a valet who had a pretty successful launch...into a short concrete wall.

Redditor kingbabyy's boyfriend owned the Model S, so she posted the footage of what happened up on there. We can't embed Reddit videos, so you'll have to go here for the full onboard, but we can at least give you the play-by-play. 

Screencap via kingbabyy on Reddit

Empty parking lot, can't lose, right? Well, there's a deer right off the pavement, and in central Texas, the mere sight of one of those unpredictable varmints is a good reason to slow down and take extra care. 

Does our intrepid valet heed Mother Nature's bad omen? Absolutely not. 

The deer, however, was a mere symbol for how reckless this was. There was no animal carnage here—only mechanical. I doubt the valet paid much attention to Bambi's Hill Country cousin at all.  

A short wall in the ditch that supported a raised walkway., Screencap via kingbabyy on Reddit

No, it was the curvature of the parking lot itself that the valet couldn't handle at speed. The valet didn't react in time to avoid shooting straight into a curb, which flung the car into a ditch and finally, over a couple-foot-tall concrete wall. 

On Reddit, kingbabyy claims that the valet put it into Cheetah Launch Mode before sending it, which lowers the front end for better aerodynamics in a launch. However, it's hard to tell from the video alone. The Model S has to be in Ludicrous Plus Mode for Cheetah Launch Mode, which takes several minutes to enable as the batteries have to be brought up to a certain temperature, although that could have easily happened before this clip. Cheetah Mode also lowers the car's front end as you press down the brake, and the valet was only paused for a brief second. (We've reached out to kingbabyy for clarification.)

What's clear is that the driver is definitely testing out the capabilities of someone else's Tesla by circling the back forty of La Cantera's parking lot.

Of all the cars to get caught doing something stupid in, a Tesla is among the worst thanks to its numerous onboard cameras that are almost always on. That's why kingbabyy was also able to post a side camera view of the incident here

Mid-launch over the concrete., Screencap via kinggbaby on Imgur

To their credit, valet service employees broke the news to the Tesla's owner shortly after the incident. What else could they do, though? Cameras keep people honest. 

Tesla does have a limited-capability valet mode to discourage incidents like this, but let's face it: a valet shouldn't justify the existence of valet mode. As for why this car didn't have its valet mode on, kingbabyy noted that her boyfriend probably just forgot after a long work day. It happens. We all love to ooh and aah at valet modes for performance cars, but at the end of the day, it's simply one more key or setting to remember in a long list of everything else you have to do.

You can see the aftermath of launching this Model S over a short concrete wall on Imgur here as well as in a walkaround video here. There are loose and broken pieces all over, plus the thick skidplate that protects the batteries came off completely. The dashboard in the walkaround video displays numerous error messages, including one for low coolant. The worst damage, obviously, is underneath.

"If everyone saw the car afterwards, the pile of stuff that was torn from the bottom, and the effect on the suspension and wheel builds entirely, there wouldn’t be question as to whether or not it’s totaled," kingbabyy wrote on Reddit.

Luckily, given the footage of the valet circling the emptier corners of the parking lot, it's not hard to determine exactly who crashed the car. 

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