Six questions about the serious accident caused by a Tesla taxi, which left at least one dead

The decision comes a few days after the fact. The G7 company suspended 37 Tesla brand electric taxis on Tuesday, December 14, following a serious accident on Saturday in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. One person died, according to the latest provisional report. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation for “manslaughter and involuntary injury by the driver of a land motor vehicle”. What happened Saturday night? What could be the causes of the accident? Franceinfo takes stock.

1What happened ?

A very serious accident occurred on Saturday evening in Paris, involving a taxi driver from the G7 company. The latter, on a private trip with his family, was not active at the time of the events, the company told AFP. The latter lost control of his vehicle, a Tesla car, in the 13th arrondissement of the capital, at the intersection of Avenue d’Ivry, Avenue de Choisy and Rue de Tolbiac, according to information from franceinfo.

The taxi hit two pedestrians, then a glass container, thrown into the air and which exploded on the ground under the shock of the speed. A traffic light was also hit and thrown into the air. According to a police source interviewed by franceinfo, the vehicle ended up in a van in circulation in the middle of the crossroads.

The car was traveling at more than 100 km / h when it reached this crossroads, assured the mayor of the 13th arrondissement, Jérôme Coumet, in the columns of the Parisian (paid article). According to the daily, the explosion of the glass container injured several cyclists and pedestrians.

2What is the human toll?

The accident left one dead and around twenty injured, three of whom are in serious condition, according to a latest provisional report from the Paris prosecutor’s office. The vital prognosis of one of the injured people “is still engaged”, said the same source. The police headquarters, in a previous report communicated to franceinfo, reported seven people in absolute emergency and three others in relative emergency.

3What is the model of the vehicle concerned?

This is the Tesla Model 3, the best-selling brand, and one of the best-selling electric cars in Europe. This car is not autonomous. She hasmotorway driving assistance, which allows you to change lanes by activating the indicator. However, the driver must keep his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road.

As the Frandroid site specifies, a majority of Tesla vehicles are equipped with electric disc brakes, designed by Brembo. These cars also have a regenerative braking system, in which the motors contribute to braking. Specifically, Tesla’s Model 3 is equipped an advanced autonomous emergency braking system (AEBS), underlines Frandroid.

The AEBS allows a clear and immediate deceleration if an obstacle is spotted, but Tesla itself recognizes in its user manual that several causes can block the proper functioning of this device, according to the specialized site.

4How does the taxi company react?

Contacted by AFP, the taxi company expressed its “stupor” after “the terrible accident” which took place on Saturday evening. At first, G7 suspended all of its Tesla vehicles, then clarified that they were 37 cars from the American automaker’s Model 3. The company also runs 50 Model S vehicles. For vehicles that have been shut down, “G7 will support all the drivers concerned by financially compensating for the loss of income from the loss of activities for these drivers during the period of suspension”the group said.

5What do we know about the causes of the accident?

“The causes of the accident are the subject of investigations covered by secrecy”, said the Paris prosecutor’s office on Tuesday. The mayor of the 13th arrondissement, Jérôme Coumet, initially mentioned a loss of control of the car linked to a problem “stuck accelerator”.

A hypothesis at this stage supported by the deputy director general of G7, Yann Ricordel, interviewed by the Reuters agency (in English). The latter explains that the driver tried to brake, but that an acceleration occurred instead.

Contacted by The worldTesla asserts that there was no “no technical failure” for the vehicle involved in the accident. Elon Musk’s company thus rejects the hypothesis of an accelerator problem. We are able to know what happened or what did not happen on board one of our models”, says a spokesperson for the car manufacturer in France daily.

“Today, we have two divergent views on the subject. We will maintain the suspension of Tesla Model 3s while the investigation continues.”

Yann Ricordel, Deputy CEO of G7

at Reuters

On Wednesday morning, the Minister Delegate for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, declared on RMC that there was no, “at this stage”, “a technical element that would make us believe that there is a problem of technical malfunction on these models”. Tesla assures AFP that it remains “at the disposal of the authorities” to send them the data it may have remotely on the vehicle, without giving further details.

6Has this model ever had any issues?

According to Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Tesla Europe did not identify “no such alert” of the approximately 70,000 Model 3s circulating on the continent. The Minister Delegate for Transport spoke on this subject with the Director General of the European branch of the manufacturer. This one has “said to have provided all the technical data to justice (…) and to be calm on this subject”, said the minister on RMC.

In early 2020, across the Atlantic, a petition brought together 127 complaints about Tesla vehicles suddenly accelerating, including Model 3s, however, notes CNBC (in English). These charges related to incidents that occurred between 2013 and 2019, and which caused, according to the complainants, 110 collisions and 52 injuries. “There is no unintentional acceleration on our vehicles”had strongly reacted the car manufacturer (in English)claiming that this petition was “totally false”.

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