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How a Tesla sold for parts in the US came back online in Ukraine

The quirky story from Jay Yarow has taken social media by storm, receiving nearly 160,000 likes and 7,000 reposts

Tesla
Reference image of a Tesla display.

There are many stories about Tesla cars, but this one is particularly unusual. In this case, it’s not about a sudden accident or parts breaking down, but rather the curious story of what happened to Jay Yarow, the executive editor of the CNBC television network.

Yarow owned a Tesla Model X that he sold for parts after an accident in late 2022. There was nothing strange about that. What is strange is that the parts were sold in the United States, but the car seemingly came back online in Ukraine.

In a report on the incident, CNBC explains that the car was sold through an online auction site affiliated with a local salvage yard. A few months later, he opened Tesla’s cellphone app — which has geolocation — and noticed that the vehicle or, rather, its onboard computer, was online.

The app revealed that it was located in a war-torn region of southern Ukraine, near Kherson. What’s more, Yarow noticed that the new owners were using his Spotify account.

“Here’s an unusual situation. I had a Tesla, crashed it, it was totaled. And now it’s... in Ukraine? And someone there is listening to Drake on my, still logged in, Spotify account,” Yarrow recounted on X, formerly known as Twitter. Since sharing the story, the tweet has gone viral, receiving nearly 160,000 likes and 7,000 reposts.

The Model X auction

This is where another character in the story comes into play. The car was sold through Copart, a global provider of online vehicle auction and remarketing services that has subsidiaries throughout Europe. “Copart is a global leader in 100% online car auctions featuring used, wholesale and repairable vehicles,” the company states on its website.

As CNBC reports, Copart has more than 1,600 Tesla models for sale and “is connected to salvage yards in the U.S., including one in New Jersey, where the car ended up.”

Copart

A Tesla in Ukraine

It’s likely that even if Yarow’s Tesla wasn’t that badly damaged, the insurance company decided to declare it a total loss and put it up for auction. It’s a feasible scenario given the fear of battery failure in electric cars and their high cost of repair.

Another factor to take into account is the rise of digital auctions. According to Forbes data, in 2018, Ukraine imported more than 34,000 used cars from the United States, making it the sixth-biggest importer. So it’s not so strange that the Tesla ended up there.

And when it comes to the Spotify account, Yarow probably left it open in the Tesla. He even joked about it: “Now I feel bad for logging out. They may have needed Drake to keep the fighting spirit.”

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