Tesla China responds to dramatic crash that killed two people [video]

Tesla will help Chinese authorities investigate the dramatic Tesla Model Y crash that killed two people and injured three others in Guangdong, China. But social media has been rife with rumors about potential causes of the crash, most of which are untrue or improbable.

The accident happened on November 5 and the video was shared on Chinese social media. CCTV video (warning: graphic) shows the Tesla Model Y attempting to park, then speeding down a two-lane road, swerving between lanes at high speed, side-swiping cars and motorbikes before crashing into a shop window for about 30 seconds and 2.6 kilometers shows. after.

A family member of the 55-year-old male driver, who has not been named, said the driver had a problem with the brake pedal when he tried to pass in front of the family shop, Jimu News reported. As best we can tell, the driver survived with injuries.

Tesla claimed that, as is often the case, car magazines show that the brake pedal was not pressed during the incident and that the gas pedal was pressed during a significant part of the incident, and warned against people believing “rumors”. Event. The CCTV footage shows that the rear brake lights of the car were not illuminated, although they were on approximately 23 seconds after the incident started.

Guangdong police will work with a third-party agency to evaluate vehicle records and CCTV footage to determine the truth about the incident.

(Warning: although it’s not immediately obvious from the footage, people die in this video. squeamish people may not want to watch though)

Tesla has faced other accusations of faulty brake pedals in the past, including a Chinese customer who protested an accident at the Shanghai auto show that was caused by faulty brakes. These accusations are not limited to China, Tesla has also received many complaints in the US, to which it responded in a blog post claiming that “Tesla cars have no ‘unexpected acceleration'”.

These complaints were investigated by NHTSA, which determined that the sudden unexpected acceleration events in Teslas were the result of driver error, not due to any design flaw in the vehicle. NHTSA recalls that there are 16,000 preventable accidents a year in the United States due to driver pedal error and warns drivers to be aware of the problem.

That hasn’t stopped social media from spreading rumors about Tesla’s latest crash. There are many posts on both Chinese and English-language social media suggesting various reasons without evidence, most of which do not stand up to basic scrutiny.

Some claimed the car attempted to park and then veered off the road at high speed. But the drifting, hard-accelerating behavior shown in the video is uncharacteristic of Autopilot, much less parking, and both would be disabled by pressing the brake pedal at any point.

This explanation is also unsatisfactory, given that others say the car’s engine is too powerful for the brakes to handle, but the brake lights do not come on, and that the car’s brakes are designed to overcome the power of the motor/engine.

The charges are similar to what happened with other vehicles. Famously, Toyota suffered from “sudden unexpected acceleration” from 2009 to 2011, where the automaker recalled various parts of its vehicles in response to increasing reports of unexpected acceleration. While design flaws in the floor mats or accelerator pedals can cause some cases, the majority of cases have been found to be related to driver error, which is more common among older and less skilled drivers. Increased reports followed media coverage of the problem, with more reports coming as media coverage intensified.

China is Tesla’s second largest market. The company has recently started pulling demand levers, including cutting prices, in response to declining sales in the country.

Electrek’s Take

While it’s entirely possible there’s an unexamined cause here, it’s pretty much the same cause as in these situations: someone pressed the wrong pedal and then panicked and kept pressing it.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be a design flaw. For the first time, I’ve noticed Tesla drivers crossing the pedals (ie accidentally pressing both pedals at the same time) perhaps more often in the car than I expected. It’s possible that the position of the pedals is a little closer than they should be, although I’m not an engineer with special expertise in pedal safety regulations, so take that with a grain of salt. Also, every time this happens, the car puts on a crossed pedals warning and automatically de-energizes the gas pedal, prioritizing the brake over the gas pedal – so this can’t be the cause of the accident.

But counting it on Autopilot makes no sense. Anyone familiar with the system (and aware of its downsides) can tell that this is clearly not Autopilot behavior. I would assume that a third party investigation would find that the driver was on the gas the entire time and as with many accidents it was human error. So why is there so much discussion about this Tesla accident?

Tesla is a hot topic on social media – it’s a high-profile brand, it’s different, and it drives a lot of traffic for a variety of reasons, one of which is its firebrand CEO who loves the spotlight. Whenever something happens with Tesla, people talk about it – every day there are fatal crashes involving various cars, most of which don’t generate nearly as much discussion or articles about them on social media (like this one, ouch). People always have something to say about Tesla.

The existence of social media “rumors” that Tesla has warned about is especially to be expected right now, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent behavior and the trash fire surrounding his purchase have been quite popular recently. The very social media platform where most of these rumors are spread: twitter.

Twitter has long been a source of rapidly spreading misinformation, including Musk himself. He routinely spreads misinformation about COVID-19 and other topics, while promising that buying the company would result in the removal of safeguards designed to protect it. against misinformation on a social media site. For example, she recently tweeted (and then deleted) that “it’s unlikely there’s more to this story than meets the eye,” repeating a bogus and bigoted conspiracy theory about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of US Speaker Paul Pelosi. House Representative Nancy Pelosi.

This kind of active disinformation from the CEOs of Twitter and Tesla naturally causes public outrage that the world’s richest man spends so much of his time and effort polluting the information streams. instead of fixing their companies. So some people won’t be interested in seeing “his side” of the story and won’t actively believe anything he or Tesla says because he’s been putting a lot of public effort into spreading misinformation lately.

If Tesla’s mission is to “accelerate the emergence of sustainable transportation” – and they are there is is the company most responsible for electrification right now—then it doesn’t seem very productive for a CEO to spend so much time spreading misinformation on social media and trying to turn public opinion against him, his company, and his mission. We would like to see less of it.

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