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West Wing Actress Not Happy With Tesla After her Husband's Model S Catches on Fire

West Wing Actress Not Happy With Tesla After her Husband’s Model S Catches on Fire

Apparently, this is a case of spontaneous combustion

The Husband of a “West Wing” actress Mary McCormack was sitting in traffic when his Tesla Model S suddenly begin to spew fire from underneath the driver’s side. He was flagged by another driver and pulled over, avoiding any injury, but the actress has decided to play the drama card and send a little heat Tesla’s way.

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Tesla Model S, Apparently On 'Autopilot,' Crashes Into Culver City Fire Truck At High Speed

Tesla Model S, Apparently On ’Autopilot,’ Crashes Into Culver City Fire Truck At High Speed

Luckily, no injuries were reported beyond a few dents to the truck and a smashed Tesla

One unlucky driver down in Southern California found the limits of their Tesla’s Autopilot system this week when it rear-ended a stationary fire truck on the freeway. The incident was documented on social media in a post by the Culver City Firefighter’s Twitter account: “While working a freeway accident this morning, Engine 42 was struck by a Tesla traveling at 65 mph. The driver reports the vehicle was on autopilot,” the post reads. “Amazingly, there were no injuries! Please stay alert while driving!”

Lucky indeed. The fire truck’s rear end is a bit out of shape, but nothing major by the look of it – just a few broken taillights and a slight bend to the rear platform. The Tesla, however, looks like it’s toast, with the entire front end bunched up in a twist of metal and broken parts. We’re also a little incredulous about the whole “65 mph” claim, as something tells us the automatic braking brought the speed down substantially. Either way, kudos to Tesla for making such a safe car. Without that huge crumple zone up front, who knows what would have happened to the driver.

This is just the latest in a series of auto accidents involving the Tesla Autopilot system. We don’t know for sure if the driver is outright blaming the technology for the crash, but either way, it certainly seems like an easy way to absolve yourself of responsibility.

Of course, Tesla is quick to point out that running Autopilot doesn’t mean relinquishing control of the car. Although it does have the potential to one day reach full autonomy status, Autopilot is basically just glorified cruise control at this point. Drivers must still remain in control of their vehicle at all times. That said, the convenience and power of Autopilot seems to be leading to distracted driving and misconceptions about the system’s intended use.

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Tesla Employee Crashes Model 3, Charged with DUI After Run-in with a Deer

Tesla Employee Crashes Model 3, Charged with DUI After Run-in with a Deer

It can’t be stressed enough: do NOT drive when you’re intoxicated

A Tesla employee found himself in hot water after crashing a Model 3 in California. Adding insult to injury, the man, identified as 38-year-old Colin Flynn, was also charged with DUI.

Flynn’s harrowing adventure occurred in the early morning of Saturday, January 13. According to police reports, the Tesla employee overshot a turn on a road in Morgan Hill, California, sending the car flying around 70 feet before crashing into the far bank of Coyote Creek.

Local police arrived shortly afterwards to find Flynn, unhurt from the crash. The Tesla told the police that the crash occurred after he swerved to avoid a deer, and not because he reeked of alcohol smell. The police asked him to take a breathalyzer test, and when he refused, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and transported to the local precinct. Once there, Flynn also refused to have blood work done, as required by California law in cases like this. That discretion earned him a charge of obstruction. It wasn’t until officers obtained a search warrant that Flynn decided to cooperate.

As for the Model 3, the electric car was eventually removed from the creek after spending a few hours retrieving it. Authorities also advised all drivers to keep a lookout for the deer that supposedly caused Flynn to fly his Model 3 into the bank of a creek.

Most importantly, don’t drink and drive, folks.

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1 Killed and 3 Injured at a Tesla event in Detroit

1 Killed and 3 Injured at a Tesla event in Detroit

This kind of stuff is happening way to often these days...

Lately, it seems like vehicles have become vessels of death and destruction, and are an easy weapon for terrorists to get their hands on. An incident at a Tesla event outside of a Shinola in Midtown, Detroit looked to be the most recent of these types of attacks, with one person dead and three injured after a being hit by a truck “traveling at high speed.” But as it turns out, it wasn’t a terrorist action at all. According to local news outlet WDIV Local 4, the driver of a pickup crossed the center line of the road at high speed, and slammed into the people, throwing them into the air. One victim was a 73-year-old male who was wedged underneath one of Tesla’s Airstream trailers.

Three of the victims were taken to the hospital, and one declined any medical treatment. Police arrived on the scene quickly and took the driver of the truck, a 43-year-old, into custody for drug and alcohol testing. It was originally reported that this incident was intentional, however, the police now say that the driver didn’t have a license and has admitted to taking drugs prior to driving. At this time, it isn’t believed that the incident was intentional and the living victims have been listed as being in “temporary serious condition.” Tesla is in Detroit as part of its Tesla Explores campaign in which it uses Model Xs to haul around airstream trailers that have been fashioned into mobile design studios.

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Tesla Driver Damages His Own Model S To Save Stranger's Life

Tesla Driver Damages His Own Model S To Save Stranger’s Life

Tesla has promised to expedite repairs to the damages at no cost to the driver

Sometimes, heroism comes in the strangest of circumstances, and people who don’t consider themselves built in the mold of a Superman find themselves acting like one. Case in point: the 41-year old driver of a Tesla Model S who is hailed as a hero for intentionally causing damage to his pricey electric sedan, all in the name of saving the life of a total stranger.

According to German news outlet Muncher Merkur, the driver, named Manfred Kick, was on the German Autobahn when he chanced upon a Volkswagen Passat that was being driven erratically by its driver. The Passat even slammed into the guardrail a number of times. Curious to see what was going on, Kick pulled up alongside the Volkswagen only to notice that its driver was unconsciousness. From there, Kick sprung to action, accelerating his Model S and pulling in front of the Passat before slowly braking his car, making sure that the Passat could rest up against the rear bumper of his Model S until both cars came to a stop.

From there, Kick rushed to the Passat, climbed through the passenger door, and proceeded to give him first aid. It was then that another party hurried to the scene and called for emergency help. Once the fire department arrived on the scene, it determined that the unnamed driver of the Passat could have suffered a stroke while driving the car, rendering him unconscious.

But thanks to Kick’s quick thinking, the 47-year old Passat owner was taken to the hospital where, according to Muncher Merkur, he is now in stable condition.

Ironically enough, the police informed Kick that a preliminary investigation was opened against him as part of “procedure.” That said, it is unlikely that the Model S owner would be prosecuted as the local police department is considering giving him an award for his actions that ended with him saving a stranger’s life.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Two People Killed In Explosive Tesla Crash

Two People Killed In Explosive Tesla Crash

Model S crashed, exploded, then caught fire

Casey Speckman, a 27-year old woman and her 44-year old co-worker Kevin McCarthy lost their lives in a crash involving a Tesla Model S in Indianapolis, Indiana. Details on what caused the deadly crash are still being investigated but the two were reportedly killed after Speckman lost control of the car before smashing into a tree and then into a parking garage, causing multiple explosions that led to the Model S catching fire.

According to local news outlet WishTV, witness accounts described the scene as horrific with one particular witness saying that a big explosion happened after the crash, which lead to several small explosions that ended up with debris just “popping up in the air.” Firefighters from the Indianapolis Fire Department also said that debris field stretched 150 yards, including lithium batteries that were still scattered around the area the morning after the crash.

Despite their best efforts in containing the fire and saving the lives of Speckman and her passenger, McCarthy, firefighters from the IFD took 10 minutes to put the fire out and 20 minutes just to get McCarthy out. The delay was largely attributed to the sophistication of cars like the Model S, which Tesla admits in its manual for first responders as a car that should be considered “energized” until the fire has been completely extinguished.

To make things more complicated, Kevin Jones, the Battalion Chief of Special Operations for the IDF, admitted the complication of extinguishing the fire on a Tesla.

“With the high voltage batteries they’re lithium ion batteries and they require copious amounts of water to extinguish them, they burn very hot," Jones said. "Back in the 1980s, the vehicles you could come up there and cut pretty much everywhere and not have a hazard. But now with the introduction of airbags and the seat belt retention and the high voltage lines we have to peel and peak and look and make sure we’re not going to cut into something that will cause a hazard for us or the victims.”

Speckman was killed in the crash while McCarthy died at the hospital.

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Tesla Model S Crashes Into Florida Gym

Tesla Model S Crashes Into Florida Gym

Driver blames the car, Tesla blames the driver

Another day, another crash involving a Tesla Model S. This latest episode took place in late August in Lighthouse Point, Florida where a Model S abruptly accelerated as it was parking, causing it smash through a front window of a local gym. Fortunately, the nobody was injured from the crash, which the driver blames on the car accelerating by itself. Tesla has since reviewed the vehicle’s logs remotely and to no one’s surprise, it placed the blame on the driver accidentally pressing the gas pedal.

The accident is similar to a previous incident that occurred in California back. In that case, the driver also claimed that his Model X accelerated by itself, causing it to crash into a building. Tesla also blamed that crash to driver error after also reviewing the Model X’s vehicle logs.

The incident in Florida is the latest in a string of high profile crashes involving Tesla vehicles. A surveillance video from inside the gym captured the horrific accident. Halfway through the two-minute the video, the Model S appears in the video where it’s about to reverse into an available parking slot. Then in an instant, it accelerates straight into the front glass window of the gym, resulting in heavy damages to both the car and the property.

What’s worth noting is that had the accident occurred 40 seconds earlier, it could have taken a woman who looked to either be an employee of the gym or its actual owner. That’s about the only silver lining that happened in this crash and it’s going to be interesting how this incident is resolved.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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The First AutoPilot Related Death Possibly Happened Back in January

The First AutoPilot Related Death Possibly Happened Back in January

Nobody can deny that things have been a little rough for Tesla lately. After than fatal accident back in May, the company has found itself constantly under the microscope by every media outlet on the planet. But, as it turns out, that accident may not have actually been the first fatal accident involving the company’s AutoPilot system. Reports have begun to surface of another fatal accident that occurring in China back in January of 2016.

In this specific accident, there is actually dash cam footage that shows a Model S plowing into the back of a street sweeper on the highway. It’s pretty clear that the Tesla didn’t even try to brake before the accident, but what isn’t clear is whether or not AutoPilot was engaged at the time of the accident. The last accident that occurred in China involving AutoPilot didn’t result in any injuries, but did result in Tesla changing its wording on its Chinese site to remove to words “self-driving.”

As for this accident just coming into the light nine months after it happened, Tesla is currently investigating the situation. Tesla has already released a statement claiming that it couldn’t retrieve log information from the car due to the extensive damage and the driver’s family has yet to supply any information:

“We were saddened to learn of the death of our customer’s son. We take any incident with our vehicles very seriously and immediately reached out to our customer when we learned of the crash. Because of the damage caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers, and we, therefore, have no way of knowing whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash. We have tried repeatedly to work with our customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but he has not provided us with any additional information that would allow us to do so.”

For now, that is all we know about the incident aside from the fact that the driver’s family has, in fact, filed a lawsuit against Tesla. And, while that may be the case, it may not work out in their favor. The owner’s manual of every Tesla clearly states that the Traffic-Aware Cruise control cannot detect all objections and may not brake for stationary objects when the vehicle is driving at higher speed.

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Tesla Model S Catches Fire Due To Improperly Tightened Electrical Connection

Tesla Model S Catches Fire Due To Improperly Tightened Electrical Connection

Electric car maker attributes it to human error

A defect in the bolted electrical connection has been revealed as the cause of the fire that engulfed a Tesla Model S in France during a test drive. The revelation comes from Tesla itself, which conducted an investigation in the aftermath of the fire. According to the automaker, one of those connections was “improperly tightened” because it was done manually instead of the usual process of having a robot do it.

The defect ended up causing the electric car to go up in flames, but only after the occupants heard a loud noise, prompting the car’s warning message to flash. The Tesla employee who was riding in the car immediately instructed the driver, Nicolas Cano, to pull the car over before it ended up catching fire.

Fire fighters immediately rushed to the scene only to see the charred remains of the car as witnesses reported seeing the Model S burn to the ground in a matter of minutes.

Charles Delaville, Tesla’s French communications manager, spoke to Fox News and went into detail about the cause of the fire. According to Delaville, the electrical connections on its vehicles are usually “installed by a robot,” but for whatever reason, connections on the car that burned down was “installed manually.”

Neither Delaville nor any other person from Tesla have elaborated on why the Model S in question’s electrical connections were installed manually.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Tesla Gets One-Week Extension To Submit Joshua Brown Crash Documents To NHTSA

Tesla Gets One-Week Extension To Submit Joshua Brown Crash Documents To NHTSA

Deadline has been set for Friday, September 2, 2106

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given Tesla until Friday, September 2, 2016, to submit documents related to the accident that killed Joshua Brown on May 7, 2016 on U.S. 27 near Williston, Florida. The incident has been rehashed multiple times, but for those who still don’t know, Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S crashed into a semi truck while its Autopilot system was engaged.

The incident caused widespread scrutiny of Tesla’s Autopilot system, prompting two separate government agencies - the NHTSA and the Florida Highway Patrol - to launch separate investigations on what caused the crash and who was the blame for it. As part of its investigation, the NHTSA submitted an information request to Matthew Schwall, Tesla’s director of field performance engineering, pertaining to the data the automaker gathered from Brown’s Autopilot system. Part of the agency’s request also called for Tesla to identify the number of alleged defects it was aware of related to Forward Collision Warning or Automatic Emergency and tests the automaker “has done or plans to do” to the Autopilot system and the changes the company may have made that could’ve caused the alleged defects to spring forth.

The NHTSA initially gave Tesla until August 26, 2016 to submit the documents, but after a request from the company to extend the deadline, the government agency granted a one-week extension that will expire on September 2, 2016. It’s unclear what kind of penalties the NHTSA will give to Tesla if the automaker doesn’t submit the requested data by Friday.

In related news, Business Insider is also reporting that the Florida Highway Patrol has indicated that its own homicide investigation into the Brown crash is still open and that according to Steven Montiero, a community safety officer for the Florida Highway Patrol, “no new information is expected for another one to two weeks. This development comes after the law enforcement authorities revealed that the investigation would be completed “by the end of August.”

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Tesla Drops "Self-Driving" Phrase On Chinese Website After Reported Autopilot Crash

Tesla Drops "Self-Driving" Phrase On Chinese Website After Reported Autopilot Crash

China 1, Tesla 0

The Chinese auto market is the biggest in the world and it just might also be the most influential. Tesla found that out the hard way when it was forced to acknowledge a mistake it made on its Chinese website describing its Autopilot system as a “self-driving” feature. The terminology has since been scrubbed from the website and replaced with a phrase that more closely translates to “self-assisted driving.”

The brouhaha started when Luo Zhen, a Chinese owner of a Tesla Model S, sideswiped a stopped car along the side of a road when his Model S’s Autopilot system engaged. Luo spoke with Reuters in the aftermath of the incident, calling Tesla and its local sales staff out for misrepresenting the technology’s capabilities by touting its functions using a phrase that translated to “self-driving.” Luo’s claims of misrepresentation were corroborated by other owners of Tesla models in the country, with some, including Luo, even saying that demonstrators took their hands off the steering wheel and then took their feet off the pedals to showcase the system’s capabilities.

Tesla admitted that the crash took place but the normally stubborn automaker was also forced to take the unusual step of acknowledging the mistake it made on its website. A Tesla spokesperson spoke with Reuters after the changes in the website to deny that Luo’s crash and the publicity it generated were the reasons behind the edits. According to the spokesperson, the change was simply part of Tesla’s “ongoing work in improving translations.”

Unfortunately, a spin like that is as obvious as it is blatant. That or the timing of the edits in the wake of the crash’s publicity can be chalked up to a happy coincidence. In any case, Reuters also learned that the electric car maker has reached out to its staff in the country retraining them to inform future customers that the Autopilot system is a “self-assisted technology” and that drivers must always have their hands on the wheel when engaging the system.

It’s unclear if Tesla if going to make a similar move in rephrasing the system’s capabilities in other markets, but the fact that it had to do it in China goes to show how important that market is for the company and any attempts at pissing it off would be bad for business.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Tesla Model S Owner In China Gets Into Autopilot-Related Road Accident

Tesla Model S Owner In China Gets Into Autopilot-Related Road Accident

It’s the first documented crash in China related to the polarizing technology

As if all the reported crashes involving Tesla’s Autopilot system in the U.S. aren’t bad enough, the American electric car brand has admitted that one of its cars in China has gotten into an accident while in Autopilot mode, adding another layer of scrutiny to the controversial driving assist feature.

The owner of the car, 33-year old programmer Luo Zhen, spoke with Reuters about the incident, which happened when the Model S he was driving sideswiped a stopped car along the side of the road. According to Luo, Tesla’s sales staff was at fault for the incident because they overplayed the system’s functions by describing it with a Chinese phrase that translates to “self-driving.” On top of that, Luo added that when he was being demonstrated the system’s functions, the demonstrator took his hands off the steering wheel and then took his feet off the accelerator.

Reuters also reached out to four other owners of Tesla vehicles in other parts of China, and the owners corroborated Liu’s story that Tesla’s front-line sales staff described the the function in Chinese as “self-driving” and that demonstrators also took their hands off the wheel of the car while demonstrating the function. The news agency added that the term “zidong jiashi,” which literally translates to “self-driving” can be seen several times on Tesla’s Chinese portal.

Not surprisingly, a Tesla spokesperson disputed those claims, saying that the company has “never described Autopilot as an autonomous technology or a ’self-driving car,’ and any third-party descriptions to this effect are not accurate.” The automaker also put the blame on Liu for not following the guidelines laid out by the system despite Liu’s claims of being misinformed by the company’s sales staff.

Fortunately, the accident resulted in no injuries for all the parties involved. That said, don’t expect this issue to die down anytime soon, especially in a tightly controlled market like China that’s in the process of drafting its own policy regarding the technology.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Tesla Comes up with Another Excuse for the Fatal Model S Accident

Tesla Comes up with Another Excuse for the Fatal Model S Accident

excuses excuses...

The blows to Tesla just keep on coming after the Model S accident that resulted in the first Autopilot-related death. Under pretty heavy scrutinizing, the company is under investigation by the NTSB to determine if the Autopilot system in that Model S is at fault, while the NHTSA is currently investigating whether or not the system poses an unreasonable risk to driver safety. As part of the ongoing investigations, Tesla has now reportedly told the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that it has two theories of why the Model S in that fatal accident crashed, but somehow still manages to deny that the Autopilot system is at fault.

That’s the news reported by Reuters, which is citing a source that is “familiar” with the meeting. Tesla is apparently looking at two potential reasons for the crash. The first is that the radar and camera input for the emergency braking system failed to detect the truck and trailer. The other potential reason is that the system may have falsely discounted the input received indicating the trailer as an obstacle. According to Tesla, the system is designed to “tune out” structures like bridges or overhead signs to avoid braking under false pretenses.

So far Tesla has remained largely silent on the issue and the meeting, with the exception of suggesting that the camera and radar systems weren’t at fault. Tesla has confirmed to Reuters that the meeting has occurred, but has yet to disclose the major topics of conversation that occurred during the meeting. According to Reuters’s source, Tesla views the emergency braking system as a separate entity from the Autopilot system. For the record, it has been announced by the NTSB that the Model S involved in the fatal accident was doing nine mph over the posted 65 mph speed limit when the accident occurred.

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Tesla Autopilot Could be at Fault for Fatal Crash After All

Tesla Autopilot Could be at Fault for Fatal Crash After All

The NTSB’s preliminary report claims the Model S was speeding while using Autopilot

Tesla’s launched it’s brand-new Autopilot system with much fanfare, but the advanced system is causing the American company a great deal of trouble. Elon Musk’s firm is not only dealing with three crashes in only a couple of months, but also a fatality that occured in May after a Model S collided with an 18-wheeler semi. The case has been under investigation for quite some time and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its preliminary report into the crash. The agency claims that the car was speeding while using the Autopilot function.

According to system data downloaded from the Model S, the sedan was going 74 mph in a 65 mph zone while on Autopilot. This is interesting to say the least, as the system is supposed to prevent the car from speeding. On the other hand, the NTSB’s preliminary report didn’t provide any information on why the collision occurred or why the automatic emergency braking didn’t apply the car’s brakes to avoid the collision.

Granted, this is a preliminary report and a final verdict is far from being released, but the fact that the vehicle was speeding while in Autopilot pilot contradicts Tesla’s initial claims that it was the driver’s fault. Aside from the fact that the company openly admitted that the autonomous system didn’t "see" the truck.

As a brief reminder, the accident occurred when a semi truck drove across the highway perpendicular to the oncoming Model S, which struck and passed underneath the trailer. The sedan collided with a utility pole after coasting for some 300 feet before coming to a complete stop. A team of five investigators conducted the on-scene investigation and is still collecting data from the vehicle to further analyze the crash.

Continue readying for the full story.

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Is Tesla Involved in a Cover-Up over the Model X Crash?

Is Tesla Involved in a Cover-Up over the Model X Crash?

Montana driver who crashed his Model X is accusing Tesla of not getting his side of the story

The driver of the Tesla Model X that crashed in Montana while its Autopilot system was engaged has now published an open letter, accusing Tesla of covering up the problems that have plagued the Autopilot system.

According to Electrek, the driver identifies himself as Mr. Pang and claims that he was never able to explain himself to Tesla before the automaker issued its own conclusion that Pang was to blame for the accident that saw the Model X crash into 12 barrier posts after plowing through a safety barrier post. The driver added some pretty harsh words for the company, saying that Tesla was trying to “cover up the lack of dependability of the autopilot system.”

For its part, Tesla has maintained that the accident was all Pang’s fault because data logs showed that the driver’s hands were not on the steering wheel even after multiple warnings. The automaker added Pang was in violation of the terms of agreement between the driver and the automaker on the proper use of the Autopilot system. Apparently, Tesla is requiring everybody who uses the Autopilot system to have at least a small amount of force on the steering wheel so that the system can detect the presence of a driver sitting behind the wheel. Tesla argued that Pang not only had his attention elsewhere when the car’s autopilot system was engaged, but more importantly, his hands were not on the wheel, hence the slow reaction time when the car ended up crashing into the barriers.

While Pang admitted that his hands were not on the wheel, he’s still convinced that the Model X’s Autopilot system crashed by itself, adding fire to the increasing number of cases of Tesla vehicles crashing because of their autonomous driving technology. It’s unclear how this issue will be resolved, but from the look of things, Pang is hoping to to get Tesla on the table to discuss the supposed issues plaguing the company’s Autopilot system. The automaker has yet to issue a new statement addressing Pang’s allegations, but given the serious nature of the driver’s accusations, don’t be surprised to hear Tesla release a new statement addressing the allegations.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Is Tesla's Autopilot Responsible For Yet Another Accident?

Is Tesla’s Autopilot Responsible For Yet Another Accident?

Are we too trusting of new technology?

It seems like Tesla has been taking blow after blow lately. It hasn’t even been a week since reports started surfacing of the fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S, and now it looks like another serious crash has occurred while Autopilot was engaged on a Tesla Model X. According to the Detroit Free Press Albert Scaglione – an art dealer out of Southfield, MI – and his son-in-law, Tim Yanke, were cruising down a Pennsylvania highway with Autopilot engaged when the Model X hit a guardrail, bounced off of a concrete median, rolled onto its roof, and came to a stop on the opposite side of the highway.

Fortunately, the accident wasn’t fatal, and both passengers of the Model X walked away from the accident unharmed. There was reportedly some damage to a 2013 Infiniti G37 from the scattering of debris during the accident, but all passengers in that vehicle were unharmed as well. According to the report, neither passenger of the totaled Model X were available for comment, but Dale Vukovich of the Pennsylvania State Police reported that Scaglione claims to have activated the Autopilot feature of the Model X prior to the accident.

Apparently, there isn’t enough evidence to indicate that the Autopilot malfunctioned, but Tesla has yet to weigh in on this specific incident, and more details could come to light if Tesla takes the time to investigate the accident. According to the Detroit Free Press, the driver of the Model X will likely be cited once investigation of the accident is complete. So, what’s the deal with Tesla’s Autopilot these days?

Continue reading for the rest of the story

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Is Tesla At Fault For The First Fatal Crash Of A Model S With Autopilot Engaged?

Is Tesla At Fault For The First Fatal Crash Of A Model S With Autopilot Engaged?

The accident occurred on US 27A in Williston, Florida last May

It seems that, lately, Tesla just can’t catch a break. People are crawling out of the woodwork with frivolous lawsuits, which are piled on top of all the other negativity like the faults with the Model X. Now, it looks like a Tesla Model S has been involved in a fatal accident, and people all over the internet are debating about whether the fault lies with the driver or the autopilot system of the Model S.

According to the Levy County Journal, the 2015 Tesla Model S was driving east on U.S. 27A near Williston, Florida when a tractor-trailer that was traveling west turned left and passed in front of the car. The Model S struck the trailer, shearing off its roof before it crashed through a couple of fences, struck a light pole, and stopped 100 feet off of the highway. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a press release issued by Tesla, the company contacted the NHTSA immediately and was alerted on June 29 that the NHTSA was investigating the incident. According to Tesla, the car had autopilot engaged at the time of the accident and “neither the autopilot or the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied” This is the first known fatal crash that has occurred with autopilot engaged and, according to Tesla, it’s the first in over “130 million miles where autopilot was activated.”

Be that as it may, the general public is divided on where to place fault for the accident. Keep reading to learn more about that.

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Tesla Model S Driver Crashes Into Car, Blames Autopilot Feature

Tesla Model S Driver Crashes Into Car, Blames Autopilot Feature

Two incidents in the past few weeks put Tesla on the spot

Tesla’s Autopilot system may be leaps and bounds ahead of anything other automakers can offer today, but it’s still far from a finished product. Two incidents in the past week have put the spotlight on the Autopilot feature as two drivers were on the receiving end of accidents that they believe were caused by malfunctions on the part of Tesla’s Autopilot feature. For its part, Tesla has denied taking any responsibility, instead shifting the blame to the drivers and their carelessness in understanding the abilities of the technology.

The case of Arianne Simpson is the more recent of the two occurrences. Speaking with Ars Technica, Simpson detailed the trail of events that led to her Model S rear-ending a car at 40 mph. According to Simpson, the Autopilot feature on her Model S didn’t brake like it was supposed to, forcing her to slam the brakes herself. Unfortunately, her reaction came too late as the Model S crashed into the car. Simpson blames the tech for not responding on time, but according to Tesla and its data log, the blame rests on the shoulder of the driver, who it says hit the brake pedal and deactivated the car’s “autopilot and traffic aware cruise control”, thus returning the car to manual control instantly.

Fortunately, neither Simpson nor the driver and passengers from the car she rear-ended were hurt from the accident. Her Model S though appears to have suffered significant damages on the front and will likely need some serious repairs before it can return to driving. It’s the second case in less than a week that a Model S owner is crying foul over what they perceives to be serious flaws on the autonomous driving feature.

Just a few days before Simpson’s accident, a separate incident occurred in Utah where Model S owner Jared Overton claimes that his car started on its own, leading to it crashing into the back of a trailer. According to Overton, he was running errands on April 29 when he went and parked his Model S in one of his errand stops. No sooner than five minutes after getting out of the car, Overton and a worker from the business he was visiting saw his Model S had driven under a parked trailer, causing the car’s windshield to smash. Overton’s complaint reached Tesla, who like in the incident with Simpson, responded by reviewing the vehicle’s log and determining that the crash was caused by Overton and his inattentiveness of the situation. According to Tesla, the car’s Summon feature, which allows the Model S to park by itself, among other functions, was “initiated by a double-press of the gear selector stalk button, shifting from Drive to Park and requesting Summon activation.” This led to the car driving straight into the trailer.

Even if Tesla is right in both instances, having these customer complaints still paints an unflattering picture of the company’s Autopilot feature. Right or wrong, the electric carmaker needs to understand that complaints like these will continue to happen and it’s on the company to ensure that proper awareness of the functions of the Autopilot feature is disseminated correctly to those who can access the technology from their cars.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Tesla Model S Burns To Dust At Supercharger Station In Norway

Tesla Model S Burns To Dust At Supercharger Station In Norway

That image you’re looking at may look somewhat like the remnants of a burnt up F1 car, but it’s really a Tesla Model S that reportedly caught fire at a supercharging station in Norway. At this point, nobody can be sure what actually started the fire, but we do know that nobody was in the vehicle when it happened. The owner parked the car for charging and left the location, only to return to what remains of the $100,000 car.

The unfortunate burning is being investigated by police, and Tesla has gone on record saying it will do extensive research to determine the cause of the fire as well. At this point, it could be a number of reasons – an electrical failure in the battery system, a problem with the charger system, or a combination of the two. Even arson can’t be ruled out at this point, but if that were the case, it would be a pretty random arson.

All of that white you see in the photo isn’t from the car itself, that is the remnants of the special foam the fire department had to use to extinguish the flaming S. Since the car is power by a lithium battery, throwing water on the fire is just as bad as throwing water on a grease fire – matters will only get worse. The charging station will remain shut down until the mess can be cleaned up and investigation completed, so if you’re looking for a supercharging station along the E18 Aust-Agder, you’ll have to go elsewhere to get your quick charge on.

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Video: Tesla Model S on Fire as Tesla's Stock Goes on Ice

Video: Tesla Model S on Fire as Tesla’s Stock Goes on Ice

With the Fisker offices all boarded up and awaiting a final sale to some random foreign country, who are we to turn to for high-end vehicle fires? Well, since Tesla has been everything that Fisker has not since, well, forever, who better to step into the automobile-flambé role than Fisker’s one time competitor that wasn’t really a competitor, but still was — or however the two used to spin that whole deal...

Yup, what you see in the video above is a Tesla Model S doing its best Fisker Karma impression, and we must say that it’s doing a mighty fine job indeed. Reports from Tesla claim that this Model S struck metal debris on the roadway and the debris caused damage to the battery pack. The driver continued on his merry way, despite the vehicle’s warning systems telling him to pull over and shut the vehicle off. The end result is the expensive BBQ you see above.

Mental note to all Tesla Model S owners; this is not a 2002 Cavalier where the check engine light is safe to ignore and easily blocked out by a few inches of electrical tape. This is a high-tech electric car with enough juice to make Texas’ electric chair blush in envy. When it says "pull over," you just may want to listen to it.

Fortunately, the driver wasn’t physically hurt, but we’re sure his wallet will feel the pain when it comes insurance premium time. Unfortunately for Tesla, its stock didn’t take too kindly to the flaming Model S, as it dropped 6 percent on Wednesday and continued to fall as of noon on Thursday. It is on a slight upswing for now, but this just goes to show just how badly one driver’s negligence can harshly impact a company.

We’ll keep you updated.

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Two Tesla Roadsters end up in separate accidents

Two Tesla Roadsters end up in separate accidents

There aren’t that many Tesla Roadsters out there – so far, there are around 940 units all over the world - so if one of them ends up in an accident, then you can bet that it’s going to make some news.

Ever the benevolent purveyors of exotic car crashes; our buddies over at Wrecked Exotics recently unearthed two Tesla Roadster crashes that happened just recently. Though the accidents weren’t related, the two accidents brings the total of Tesla Roadster car crashes, at least as far as Wrecked Exotics is concerned, to six, with one of them being a test vehicle that met an untimely demise even before production for the car began.

As for the two newest members of the Tesla Roadster car crash club, we’re relieved to say that both cars didn’t suffer the same metal-crunching fate that other sports cars seem to routinely find themselves in.

The black 2008 Roadster accident occurred in Orlando after the driver lost control of the car after which, it clipped a concrete divider resulting in the front left side of the car to need some facial reconstructive surgery.

As for the orange 2008 Roadster that figured into an accident of its own, it was merely a minor fender-bender mishap involving the over-eager owner of the Roadster. Despite the relatively subdued crash, the orange Roadster got introduced into the world of car crashes pretty early since the car – with a total mileage of just under 3,000 miles – is still what many consider as ‘just out of the box’.

It’s never a good thing for any of us to be reporting on car crashes of any sort. But these two Tesla Roadster crashes somehow alleviates our burden because the crashes, though expensive to repair, as we can imagine, didn’t come at the cost of a life.

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Tesla Roadster crashed at 100 mph

Tesla Roadster crashed at 100 mph

A sales director for Tesla was giving a demonstration of the roadster and inadvertently gave a demo of the safety systems as well. It seems the unnamed (likely former) employee took a turn at around 100 mph and lost control of the electric car. Judging by the pictures, the accident happened somewhere in Europe, and reports indicated that wet roads and poor visibility contributed to the accident. Upon impact, the passenger was ejected through the side window, but both the driver and he survived the serious accident.

Teslas seem to be relatively safe for consumer use. Of the three known Tesla crashes (including this one), two have been at the hands of Tesla employees.

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Tesla #6 crash

Tesla #6 crash

Electric cars have come under scrutiny because blind pedestrians can’t hear them coming when they try to cross the street. I guess this Mercedes C-Class owner couldn’t hear this Tesla coming either.

This electric sports car has been identified as Tesla #6. Tesla doesn’t have many cars on the road, so when one crashes, it can actually be identified. Considering that the waiting list for a new Tesla Roadster is over 1,000 people long, let’s hope the owner can just get his car fixed.

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