A Tesla Model S 90D, which was being taken out for a test drive, burst into flames. According to a news report, the incident occurred in France. There were three passengers in the car when all of a sudden there was a loud noise followed by a message on the dash, which said “Problems with charging.” The vehicle’s driver pulled over immediately and the car caught fire a minute later. The driver and all the passengers had safely exited the car. Tesla has not yet offered any explanation for the fire.
Recent Tesla Mishaps
Tesla’s semi-autonomous vehicles have been under rigorous scrutiny over the last few weeks, since news broke about a fatal car accident in Florida where a former Navy SEAL was killed while driving a Tesla that was on Autopilot. Similar incidents involving injuries were reported in other parts of the country and as far away as China. In all these cases, the drivers said the car was on Autopilot and veered out of control with little warning.
And in all these cases Tesla has continued to blame the drivers for what happened saying that despite the Autopilot feature, drivers are responsible for the safety of the vehicle and that they should keep their hands on the wheel, even if the vehicle is on Autopilot, ready to take over in a moment’s notice. Consumer Reports has since called for Tesla to stop calling this feature “Autopilot” because it misleads drivers and lulls them into a sense of false security.
What Will Tesla Do Now?
With the most recent fire in France, it would be interesting to see how Tesla reacts and how the “Teslas are unsafe” narrative plays out in the media and among safety advocates. In October 2013, Tesla was under scrutiny after one of the vehicles got into an accident and caught fire. The negative press around Tesla at the time was so all-consuming that CEO Elon Musk went on the defensive. Sound familiar? After the Autopilot crashes, Musk has been defending his company again saying that the focus should not be on how many have died as a result of Autopilot, but how many thousands of lives have been saved as a result of this new technology.
As auto defect attorneys who represent severely injured victims and their families, we beg to differ. We don’t believe that a technology that is still in testing mode should be out on our roadways endangering lives. Consumers are not guinea pigs on whom Tesla should be testing its products. It’s simply not acceptable. We hope this case in France and all the other Autopilot crash cases are thoroughly investigated so the truth is revealed.