Last week, a video from China caused a stir in the Wild West: a Tesla Model Y sped down a city street for a good two kilometers, killing two people, before being stopped by a house and a parked car. . A family member of the driver reportedly said that the electric car did not brake. But obviously one has to be careful with such claims in China: in another case, Tesla sued a customer and is now receiving compensation and a public apology from him.
Model X nicknamed a “suicide toy”.
The customer from central Henan province owns a Tesla Model X and experienced unnecessary braking from 100 km/h to 60 km/h on a return trip to his hometown, the CnEVPost blog reports on the case. This is likely to have been the phenomenon known to Western Tesla drivers as “phantom braking”: the autopilot system incorrectly recognizes a hazard or speed limit and reacts with a severe delay.
Tesla’s Chinese owner, however, didn’t stop at complaining about badly programmed autopilot software in the internet media and asked for an update as soon as most people in the West did. According to the report, he gave several interviews in which he explained that the brakes on his Model X failed, turning it into a “suicide toy.” He demanded a refund of the purchase price and compensation from Tesla.
Instead, he now has to pay himself, CnEVPost continues to report: a court sentenced the man to apologize to Tesla in a local newspaper and pay compensation of 10,000 renminbi (about 1,400 euros). Because in the interviews he also stated that Tesla had not responded to his complaint about the braking error, which the court did not believe to be true. It is also said that he was contacted several times for a repair, but he refused it.
Tesla China does not sue for the first time
As CnEVPost reports, this isn’t the first time Tesla has held customers legally liable for public claims. Last October, a court also sentenced the owner of a Model 3 to an apology and to pay 50,000 renminbi in this case for damaging the company’s reputation. Just over a year earlier, he had rammed several other cars, claiming his Tesla was caused by unwanted acceleration and braking failure. The family member of the driver in the current fatal accident in China made a similar statement. So if he doesn’t stop there, he could soon end up in court as well.