Tesla will help the Chinese authorities in investigating the dramatic Tesla Model Y accident in Guangdong, China, which killed two and injured three. But rumors have been flying on social media regarding the potential crash, most of which are either untrue or improbable.
The accident happened on November 5, and a video has been circulating on Chinese social media. CCTV video shows (warning: graphics) a Tesla Model Y tried to park, then sped off on a two-lane road, swerving between lanes at high speed, sideswiping cars and motorbikes before finally crashing into a storefront about 30 seconds and 2.6 kilometers later.
An unnamed family member of the 55-year-old male driver stated that the driver had a problem with the brake pedal when he was about to pull over in front of the family store, as reported by Jimu News. As best we can tell, the driver survived with injuries.
Tesla, as is often the case, has admitted that the vehicle log shows that the brake pedal was not applied during the incident, and that the accelerator pedal was pressed for a significant part of the event, and cautioned against people believing “rumors” about it. happened. The CCTV video shows that the brake lights are not illuminated in the rear shots of the car, although they appear to be on for a long time at about 23 seconds after the start of the incident.
Police in Guangdong will work with third-party agencies to assess vehicle logs and CCTV footage to determine the truth about the incident.
(Warning: people die in this video, although it’s not clear from the footage. Squeamish people may not want to watch)
Tesla has heard other complaints about brake pedals not working in the past, including from Chinese customers who acted protest at their Shanghai Motor Show booth admitted that the accident he was in was the result of brake failure. These accusations are not only limited to China, Tesla also received many complaints in the US, which responded in blog post states “there is no ‘unintended acceleration’ in Tesla vehicles.”
The complaint was investigated by the NHTSA which found that the occurrence of sudden unintended acceleration in Teslas the result of driver error, and not because of a design flaw in the vehicle. The NHTSA reminds drivers that there 16,000 preventable accidents per year in the US due to pedal errors and cautions drivers become aware of this problem.
This hasn’t stopped social media from swirling with rumors about the latest Tesla crash, though. In both Chinese and British social media, there have been many articles suggesting various causes without evidence, most of which do not stand up to basic research.
Some have claimed that this vehicle was trying to autopark and then went crazy, running out at high speed. But the kind of swerving, fast behavior shown in the video does not feature Autopilot, much less autopark, and both would have been disabled by tapping on the brake pedal at any point.
Others claim that the vehicle’s motor is too powerful to handle, but if the brake light does not come on and the vehicle’s brakes are designed to handle the power of the motor/engine, this explanation is also unsatisfactory.
The charges are similar to what happened with the other vehicle. famous, Toyota faced an “unintended sudden acceleration” recall in 2009-2011, where the automaker recalled various parts of their vehicles in response to the uptick in reports of unintended acceleration. Although a design flaw in the floor mats or accelerator pedal may contribute in some cases, most cases are found to be a matter of driver error – and more common among elderly and unskilled drivers. Increasing reports track media coverage of the issue, with more reports arriving as media coverage increases.
China is Tesla’s second largest market. The company recently began to pull demand levers, including cut the priceas a response to falling sales in the country.
While it’s possible that there are some unexamined causes here, it’s almost certain that the cause is the same as it usually is in these situations: someone pressed the wrong pedal, then kept pressing it when they panicked.
This doesn’t mean there can’t be design flaws. I noticed Tesla drivers starting to cross the pedals (that is, accidentally pressing both pedals at the same time) probably more often than I would expect in a vehicle. It is possible that the position of the pedals is a little closer than they should be, although I am not an engineer with special expertise in pedal safety regulations, so take it with a grain of salt. Also, whenever this happens, the car has pop up a warning about the pedals crossed and automatically cuts the power to the accelerator, favoring the brake over the accelerator – so it cannot be the cause of this accident.
But crediting this Autopilot just doesn’t make any sense. This is clearly not Autopilot behavior, as anyone familiar with the system (and aware of its downsides) can say. I bet that a third party investigation will find that the driver just pressed the accelerator the whole time, and that this is human error, as in the case of many accidents. So why is there so much discussion about this Tesla crash in particular?
Tesla is a popular topic on social media – it’s a well-known brand, it’s different, and it drives a lot of traffic for a number of reasons, one of which is because the brand’s fiery CEO loves to be the center of attention. Whenever something happens with Tesla, people talk about it – there are deadly accidents in all kinds of cars every day, most of which don’t generate nearly as much social media discussion or articles (like this one, haha) about them. People always have something to say about Tesla.
The presence of social media “rumors” Tesla warns against can be especially expected now, given that it is popular enough to “dunk on” Tesla CEO Elon Musk lately due to his recent behavior dumpster fire associated with the purchase of the very social media platform where many of these rumors circulate: twitter.
Twitter has long been a source of fast-spreading disinformation, which Musk himself has participated in. He routinely spreads disinformation about COVID-19 and other topics, while promising that buying the company will remove the fences it’s meant to protect. against disinformation on social media sites. For example, he recently tweeted (and later deleted) that “there may be a little more to this story than meets the eye,” echoing false and bigoted conspiracy theories about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the US Speaker’s husband. from House Nancy Pelosi.
This type of active disinformation spreading from the CEOs of Twitter and Tesla naturally led to public outrage that the richest man in the world would spend his time and effort polluting the information stream. instead of fixing his company. So a number of people will not like to see “his side” of the story, and will actively distrust anything he or Tesla says, as he has spent a lot of public effort spreading disinformation lately.
although Tesla’s mission is “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport” – and they Is the company most responsible for today’s electrification – then it seems very counterproductive for a CEO to spend his time spreading social media disinformation, turning public opinion against him and his company and its mission. We want to see less than that.
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