- Tesla said it is cooperating with Chinese officials in an investigation into a fatal crash.
- Video footage of the accident went viral in China on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.
- The accident comes after a protest at the Shanghai Auto Show drew attention to Tesla safety concerns.
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Tesla said it is working with Chinese authorities to investigate a crash involving one of its cars in which a local policeman was killed, Bloomberg reported.
The accident involved a Tesla and two traffic policemen in the eastern Chinese city of Taizhou, according to Bloomberg, and local authorities later said that one of the policemen was killed after sustaining injuries. On Tuesday, in a statement on Weibo, a popular Chinese social network, Tesla said that it had provided a report on the accident to Chinese officials and was working with the agency to investigate the cause of the crash.
Video footage of the accident, which was covered by Chinese media, was widely shared on social media Tuesday.
-Global Times (@globaltimesnews) May 18, 2021
Chinese authorities are still investigating another Tesla crash in the southern Chinese city of Shaoguan. Earlier in the month, a Tesla driver died after rear-ending a truck. Authorities say the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
The accidents have garnered hundreds of posts from Chinese Tesla drivers expressing concern over the safety of the company’s electric cars, with some pointing to a brake malfunction.
Last month, a woman climbed onto a Tesla car at the Shanghai Auto Show, protesting a brake malfunction in her electric car. The incident went viral and the company faced an onslaught of criticism. Though, Tesla told Bloomberg it had tried to solve the issue.
Following the incident, China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission issued a statement saying that the company must stop “pretending to be oblivious to hidden dangers of which it’s well aware,” and that it needs to “face up to the torment of its Chinese customers,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
It was not the first time a customer had complained of brake failure. In April, a Tesla Model 3 driver lost control of their vehicle and it caught fire. The incident was believed to be linked to a brake failure, of which there have been over ten accidents where Teslas in China have spontaneously gone “out of control” in the past year, according to Global Times.
Tesla has also faced safety concerns in the US – a market where it is the No. 1 selling electric carmaker by vehicle registrations. Last month, US senators came together to discuss regulating autonomous vehicles. Tesla was the focal point of the conversation due to concern over a series of Tesla accidents, including a fatal crash in Texas. Last week, a preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into the incident said Tesla’s autopilot feature was not engaged during the fatal Texas crash.
Even prior to the Shanghai Auto Show incident, Tesla’s relationship with the Chinese government has encountered complications since the company started selling its car in China at the end of 2019. Five Chinese regulatory agencies are probing the quality of its Shanghai-produced Model 3 vehicles.
The country’s military also reportedly banned Tesla cars from its locations over privacy concerns related to the car’s cameras. Though, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the onboard cameras are not enabled in China.
China represents an important market for Tesla car sales and the company’s recent run of bad publicity has stunted interest in its vehicles. Following the safety concerns in China, sales in the market dropped 27% between April and March, CNN reported.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.