Fender benders now result in vastly expensive repairs

Cars used to have real bumpers on the outside, but now they have elaborately-molded ABS assemblies over them which crack if you look at them wrong and come packed with sensors and cameras and fragile wiring harnesses—all of which cost thousands of dollars to replace.

These havemade the repair process more complex because, unlike a smashed fender, a sensor or camera can't just be bolted or welded back on. To work, they need to be carefully and precisely aligned. It's changed the process of collision repair a lot.

"The change that we've seen in the last five years is greater than we've seen, probably, in the last five decades," said Todd Dillender, chief operating officer of Caliber Collision, one of the biggest auto body repair companies in the United States with more than 1,700 locations across 41 states.

According to a study by the consumer automotive group AAA, fixing sensors and cameras now accounts for more than a third of the post-crash repair costs in a new vehicle.

One of the factors in Tesla's tumble is that the earliest truly mass-market EVs are getting old and the astronomical maintenance and repair costs are becoming well-known. There is a 21st century problem at hand: all this computerized stuff makes vehicle ownership less affordable and drives consumer debt, but makes cars measurably safer to drive. It's hard to criticize this trade-off without at least hinting at political and economic issues—commie talk!—that makes mainstream media recoil in disgust and waft itself with its little fan.