On the afternoon of November 28, a collision between multiple vehicles occurred in Taizhou, China’s Zhejiang Province. During the accident, a Tesla Model Y collided with two cars, causing two deaths, one injury, and serious damage to all vehicles involved. Local police have not disclosed the cause of this accident. Given that Tesla vehicles have had many traffic accidents recently in which the car has been suspected of losing control, many Chinese web users suspect that this Model Y also experienced such problems.
Videos of the incident circulated on Chinese social media platforms, showing that at 3:46 p.m. on November 28, a black Tesla sedan took a left-turn lane to run through the red light at a high speed, rear-ending a white car near the next intersection and causing damage to another white car. The black Tesla crashed into the roadside barrier and finally stopped, causing serious damage to the front portion.
An eyewitness wrote on social media that when the Tesla passed by, “My car was shaken by the wind. It later came to me that there was a red light in the front. When the car passed by me, it might have had a speed of more than 100 [km/h], and I get afraid when thinking about it again.”
Regarding the matter, a spokesperson for Tesla responded to Chinese media, saying, “the accident in Taizhou is still under investigation. The company is actively cooperating with the traffic police. The information is subject to the notification of the public security department.”
A relative of the driver in the Taizhou accident told Chinese media outlet Chengdu.cn that the driver and his 60-year-old mother were in the car at the time of the incident. The driver reportedly had owned a driver’s license for 20 years, and rumors that he was drunk when the accident occurred were denied. He added that they hope Tesla or a third-party institution can conduct a thorough test of the Tesla vehicle involved.
Since June 2020, accidents involving Tesla vehicles that were rumored to have experienced “braking failures” have frequently emerged. Such incidents have occurred in many places, including Jiangxi, Shanghai, and Beijing. Previous investigation results from Tesla mainly allege that the accidents were caused by car owners themselves “wrongly stepping on the brake.”
Earlier this month, a Tesla Model Y in Chaozhou, Guangdong Province failed to stop on the roadside, sped out of control for 2.6 km and crashed into several cars, resulting in two deaths and three injuries. After the accident, a family member of the car owner stated on social media that the driver had been stepping on the brake on the way, but the vehicle did not slow down, and that a braking failure must have caused the accident.
According to a report by Yicai, several industry insiders pointed at Tesla’s unique forced single-pedal mode as the reason for this repeated problem. The concept of energy recovery in electric vehicles helps with the promotion of this single-pedal mode. Under this mode, the vehicle still retains two pedals: an accelerator pedal and brake pedal, but the driver only needs to control the accelerator pedal to complete operations including the starting, acceleration and deceleration, sliding and even braking of the vehicle.
Zhu Yulong, an auto industry analyst, told Yicai that the single-pedal mode changes a driver’s original muscle memory of driving. If a driver’s foot is placed on the accelerator pedal for a longer time, the probability of misoperation will increase.