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Tesla to Help Police Probe into Fatal Crash in China

Tesla said videos showed the car’s brake lights were not on when the car was speeding and that its data showed there was no move to step on the brakes throughout the vehicle’s journey.

A Tesla car at a charging point in Beijing
Globally, the Elon Musk-led automaker missed its target of 50% annual growth in 2022. Photo: Reuters


US automaker Tesla has said it will assist Chinese police investigating a fatal crash involving one of its Model Y cars.

Two people died and three were injured on November 5, when the driver lost control of the vehicle in southern Guangdong province.

A motorcyclist and a high school girl were killed, Jimu News reported, when it posted a video of a car driving at high speed crashing into other vehicles and a cyclist.

“Police are currently seeking a third party appraisal agency to identify the truth behind this accident and we will actively provide any necessary assistance,” Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker said on Sunday, cautioning against believing “rumours”.

China is Tesla’s second-largest market, and the crash was among the top trending topics on the Weibo social media platform on Sunday.


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Brake Issues?

Jimu News quoted traffic police as saying the cause of the incident in Chaozhou city had not been identified and an unnamed family member of the driver who said the 55-year-old had issues with the brake pedal when he was about to pull over in front of his family store.

Tesla said videos showed that the car’s brake lights were not on when the car was speeding and that its data showed issues such as there being no action to step on the brakes throughout the vehicle’s journey.

Calls to police in Raoping, the county where the accident happened, went unanswered on Sunday.

Tesla has faced claims of brake failure in China before.

The company said in a statement that a Chinese car owner had been ordered by a court to publicly apologise and compensate the firm after it ruled that comments he had made to the media about issues with his brakes were inconsistent with the facts and had harmed Tesla’s reputation.

Last year, an unhappy customer caused a social media stir by clambering atop a Tesla at the Shanghai auto show to protest the company’s handling of her complaints about malfunctioning brakes involved with a car accident.

In that instance, Tesla said speeding violations were behind her crash but promised to improve how it addressed customer complaints.


Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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