Man talking(l+r), Tesla(c)

Brandon Woyshnis/Shutterstock @jeremyjudkins2/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Bro will do anything but blame the car’: Tesla owner shares why you probably get car sick in a Tesla—and how to stop it

'Just like a normal car.'


Jack Alban


Posted on May 1, 2024   Updated on May 1, 2024, 11:05 am CDT

If you get carsick driving a Tesla, Jeremy Judkins (@jeremyjudkins) wants you to know that you’re just not good at driving electric vehicles.

Judkins, who owns the much-criticized Cybertruck that purportedly breaks in car washes, has failures reported by YouTubers, and has a touch screen that some claim takes five hours to reset, posted a video response to folks who say that they feel ill while riding around in a Tesla.

According to Judkins, these ill feelings can be remedied by recalibrating the way a person thinks about driving, and it’s got everything to do with the car’s regenerative braking function, which other outlets have reported as being linked to motion sickness as well.

Judkins’ video starts with a stitched clip of a young woman recording herself getting “carsick” in the back of a Tesla vehicle as her father drives it.

Teslas, like many electric vehicles, operate differently than gas-powered cars in that when they are put into “drive” they usually do not lurch forward like many ICE-powered vehicles. “Me when I have to sit in the backseat of the Tesla and my dad keeps breaking,” the young woman writes in a text overlay of the clip.

Depending on the setting that drivers select, electric vehicles can be driven solely with a single pedal, so commuters don’t need to “ride the brake” when they’re going downhill or idle when inching forward in congested traffic. Since electric vehicles need that acceleration pedal input to move forward, this could lead to very staccato-like driving conditions; cars will suddenly stop which could lead to a feeling of unease and discomfort for drivers.

Judkins goes on to explain this phenomenon in his video. “I see so many people complaining about getting car sick in a Tesla more than any other vehicle and the reason why is because Tesla’s have regenerative braking,” he says.

Regenerative braking

Regenerative braking is an energy retrieval system that, through kinetic motion, helps to restore some of the energy that’s expended in a battery through the motion of a car’s wheels as it’s braking and re-delivers that power into the battery pack. It’s the same principle of a windmill, or one of those cartoons of a person riding a bicycle super fast while attached to a geared mechanism to deliver power to an energy system. Many hybrid vehicles, even some e-bike models, and of course, electric cars, utilize regenerative braking to help conserve energy and keep cars on the road for longer.

Hybrid or electric vehicle drivers may notice that when they’re going down a big hill for an extended period of time that energy is re-delivered into their car’s battery pack. In fact, if a Tesla is towed at highway speeds, the regenerative braking system will re-deliver energy into the vehicle. Theoretically, two Teslas can travel across the United States or anywhere, ad infinitum, by alternatively towing each other, not expending any energy in the process, just as long as one has enough charge in it to complete the tow in the first place.

Why do you get car sick in a Tesla?

Judkins says the reason people may feel car sick in a Tesla is because whoever is behind the wheel of the vehicle is doing a bad job of adequately driving the vehicle.

“But the driver is not driving correctly,” he says, cutting to an image of a bare foot on a Tesla pedal. “Normally when you’re driving a vehicle you press this lever to go fast and if you need to stop with normal vehicles you immediately take your foot off and press the brake.”

He then explains how driving is different in a Tesla while demonstrating on the brake: “So, when you’re operating a Tesla, you need to treat this pedal like a trigger for a video game controller. So this is max speed, and if you wanna slow down a little bit you just take your foot off a little bit. You know more and more and more and more, you have to think of it like that.”

“Like it has a range from zero to 100%. Think in your mind like little, little, little, little, little, little, that’s how you slow down it’s never like that unless you want to slow down very quick. In an emergency sure do this and then this,” he says, showing how only in extenuating circumstances should anyone ever drive a Tesla like an ICE vehicle by quickly taking their foot off of the accelerator and jamming their foot into the brake.

Still, Judkins says he’s a fan of Tesla’s regenerative braking.

“Regen braking on a Tesla is one of its best features to me,” he says. “It’s so easy and simple to slow down by just taking your foot off the accelerator a little bit. Going from the accelerator to the brake every single time to slow down just feels so antiquated if I go back to a gas powered vehicle.”

@jeremyjudkins2 Why do Teslas make you carsick? #carsick #teslas ♬ original sound – Jeremy Judkins | Tesla Videos

He adds that he feels safer using a regenerative breaking system—especially on high-speed highways. However, he notes that drivers just need to learn how to properly use the system to prevent their passengers from getting sick.

“People just need to know how to do it correctly,” he concludes. “Remember, it’s a percentage, it’s like a throttle, think of it like a trigger to a video game controller. Once you get that figured out, then your passengers will not get car sick.”

Viewers respond

Commenters who saw Judkins’ video had varying opinions on his post, however. Many viewers had a lot to say about his naked foot accelerator pressing demonstration.

“Why are the dogs out,” one user asked.

“Why barefoot tho?” another questioned.

“You and that spicy content,” a third joked.

Others didn’t think there was much that differentiated the driving experience of a Tesla from traditional internal combustion engine cars.

“Just like a normal car,” one commenter said.

Another replied, “Wait what? Don’t all people decelerate that way already? I never just let the accelerator go and brake just to go slower.”

However, one TikTok user disagreed with Judkins’ assessment of the car’s regenerative braking function and the way that it operates: “Reg braking is undoubtedly the worst part about tesla it makes the driving experience so so bad.”

Another user said that what gives them car sickness has nothing to do with the driving experience itself. “I get a headache once a month when the payment gets removed from my checking account,” they joked.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Tesla via email and to Judkins via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: May 1, 2024, 5:00 pm CDT