Draper Younce, a 15-year veteran in the Navy came face-to-face with an armed carjacker determined to steal his Tesla Model 3. Younce was waiting for a friend while sitting in his electric vehicle outside apartments in Jackson, Florida when the thief confronted him.
The armed man shouted at Younce to hand over the vehicle while waving his pistol and attempted to open the door to get in. But the driver refused and shouted back saying, “no, man, I'm not getting out of the car. This is a Tesla. You can't steal a Tesla!'"
When relaying the story to reporters, Younce said his military training kicked in and he was able to remain calm and think fast.
Thanks to Tesla’s design features, the flush door handles prevented the thief from opening the door as he completely missed the handle. At that point, the carjacker lowered his gun for a few seconds, and Younce was able to floor the gas, accelerate and speed away. However, the criminal still took a chance and fired a shot at the car, hitting the driver’s side and narrowly missing Younce.
Image source: Draper Younce. A close-up shot of the Tesla Model 3 with the bullet hole.
Additionally, the EV’s horsepower and torque came in handy allowing the driver to get away. Another function of the Tesla EV is the ‘Hold’ feature where the car is stationary but in drive mode. The driver didn’t have to switch in gear to drive off, which gave him that nano second opportunity to escape.
"The car is ready to go, so I didn't need to put the car in gear or anything. "I literally snapped back into kind of the training that I've received throughout my career," Younce said. "I just had to look for that moment. I didn't know what the moment was going to be."
What’s more are the car’s exterior cameras, which were recording every moment of the terrifying ordeal. When Younce sped off, he remember to honk the horn in order to save the video. Another feature that drivers can configure for their Teslas.
There are eight cameras throughout the exterior of the car and at least four are always recording, Younce said. And if you honk the horn the car will automatically save the last 10 minutes as well as some minutes afterwards.
"When I pulled away, I realized I said, 'oh, honk the horn, save the recording. You know, you got this guy on camera,'" he added.
All these attributes of the Tesla were life-saving and the Tesla owner took to Twitter to thank Elon Musk and Tesla:
Here is my interview. So thankful to be alive. Thank you @elonmusk your car was a huge part in saving my life. Gotta make all cars bullet proof or gotta get me a #cybertruck. #tesla #blessed #elonmusk #assault #attemptedmurder #survivor #Model3
The tweet included the video recording and it has gone viral getting over 20,000 likes. It did not go unnoticed by the Tesla CEO who responded with “Wow”.
Younce has since turned the video that his Tesla recorded over to police. The shaken driver also said it is a sober reminder never to let his guard down.
TESLA PRICING UPDATE
For the second time in less than a month, Tesla has adjusted its pricing on some of its models.
The price of the Model 3 Standard Range Plus increased by $500 to $37,490; the former price was $36,990. However, the Long Range trim saw a price cut falling to $46,490. The Model 3 Performance saw no change and remains at $55,990. The big price jump was applied to the Tesla Model S Plaid+, which has not yet come to market but it received a $10,000 increase on top of the original price of $139,990.