A fatal accident involving a Model Y in China has reignited the controversy surrounding Tesla safety. Human or material failure, investigation is ongoing. Be careful not to jump to conclusions.
Accidents involving Teslas that have lost control regularly appear on social networks and systematically raise concerns about the safety of the American manufacturer’s models. The last accident of this type occurred in Chaozhou, China on November 5, 2022. Unfortunately, the outcome was fatal for 2 people and 3 others were injured, according to the latest report. Behind impressive and dramatic images, the same question always arises: human error or mechanical/electronic problem with Tesla?
On repetition, the question seems more and more legitimate. Beware of the magnifying effect of all the events surrounding the Tesla, which are heavily conveyed.
What do we know about the Chaozhou accident?
Videos of the accident first appeared on the WeChat network before being shared on Twitter and other social media. They quickly made headlines in China. The most actively circulating video features a montage of various CCTV cameras. We see a Tesla Model Y start to park before returning to the road, swerving to avoid other vehicles. The Model Y is then seen at high speeds in the city, where the out-of-control vehicle will hit several two-wheelers and then other machinery before becoming embedded in a building.
According to the first testimonies collected by the local media, the brake did not work and the car began to accelerate without it being possible for the driver to brake the vehicle to bring it to a standstill. This incident is reminiscent of the Tesla taxi accident in Paris, which forced the G7 taxi company to immobilize its fleet while they carried out checks.
Other facts of the same type have been reproduced in the United States and in other countries of the world. Fortunately, many are not as dramatic as the one in Chaozhou.
For Tesla, there is no fault in these accidents
Tesla, which has remote access to all data from its vehicles, has, as always, quickly looked into the accident. The brand confirms that there have been no proven errors in the system and that the recorded data corresponds to the images of the videos.
The manufacturer is at the disposal of the police for the investigation of the accident. Chinese police are currently looking for a third-party organization to mechanically check the vehicle and the data recorded by the Model Y before the accident.
The fact that these incidents are increasing may indicate that Tesla is experiencing a technical or software problem that the manufacturer is trying to hide. Several investigations are underway to determine whether the manufacturer is responsible for various accidents that have caused injuries. For several of these incidents, the error was revealed as human-caused, even though the drivers attested that the braking or autopilot had failed to perform on their own and demanded a refund.
While electronics are ubiquitous in the brand’s vehicles, the mechanical brake usually overrides all software actions. Updates have reinforced this, emergency braking is even available. You still need to know how to use your vehicle. Incidents, such as the manual door opening in case of a critical issue this summer, tend to show that drivers do not know all the functions of their vehicle.
Be careful with these videos
It is very easy to manipulate the general opinion with a few repeated facts, taken up by the “anti-tesla” or “anti-EV” clan as proof of the dangerousness of these electric vehicles. In addition, Tesla quickly focuses attention: it must be said that Elon Musk is as much the best as the worst brand ambassador on this point.
If the zero risk does not exist in terms of a mechanical, electronic, software problem or even a remote pedaling, one must be careful of these accidents and the hasty conclusions one can quickly draw from them on social networks. Tesla has already had to address this type of involuntary acceleration, rumors of which were widely spread by malicious stock speculators.