Tesla Model Y Crash in China Kills Two; Tesla Denies Malfunction

This still image shows the Tesla Model Y involved in a crash on Nov. 5 as it speeds down the street.
This still image shows the Tesla Model Y involved in a crash on Nov. 5 as it speeds down the street.

A video of a Tesla Model Y driver losing control of their vehicle in Chaozhou in the Guangdong province made the rounds on social media this weekend. The accident resulted in three injuries and two deaths — and Tesla says data shows the driver didn’t hit the brake during the crash, Bloomberg reports.

You can watch the video below, though discretion is advised:

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Speeding Tesla kills 2 in China, carmaker denies claims that brakes failed

The footage was captured on CCTV cameras. The driver appeared to attempt to park before the Model Y took off at high speed, traveling for around 1.2 miles. During that time, the driver collided with a motorcyclist and a high school girl on a bicycle, killing both. The driver, too, was injured.

Police are investigating the situation, and Tesla has agreed to cooperate. But the sparse details we have so far are strange. From Bloomberg:

A verified user on the Chinese Twitter-like platform Weibo, posting under the title of “a family member of the driver,” claimed the driver lost control for the the last 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) and though he had tried to apply the brakes, a technical problem must have caused the accident.

Tesla, however, denies that post; it says that data pulled from the Model Y shows that there was no proof the brakes were ever engaged, which is backed up by the fact that the brake lights do not appear during the video. Further, Tesla said that the accelerator remained engaged during the incident — even reaching 100 percent activation.

Tesla also noted, though, that the driver did press the ‘Park’ button four times while traveling at high speed. However, the button must be pressed for an extended period of time for the vehicle to come to a stop.

This is far from the first time a Tesla in China has faced accusations of failed brakes, though so far, those claims have been unfounded, and several Tesla drivers later recanted their statements and apologized for spreading misinformation; Tesla, though, did offer a general apology for unrest.

As such, it is currently impossible to speculate on what happened in this incident, apart from what can be seen in the video. Whatever the result of the crash, it is deeply unfortunate that it has resulted in the deaths of two.

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