Another incident of a Tesla catching fire occurred on a Russian motorway on Saturday. The electric vehicle was a Tesla Model 3 that crashed into a tow truck while in autopilot mode. According to the driver he was unable to see the tow truck. In an interview with an online news publication, the driver, Mr. Alexei Tretyakov, said that the car’s driver assistance mode was on and the steering was still in his hand.
Tesla Inc. has not yet commented on this incident. It has always stood by its safety claims for Tesla Model 3 in the face of scrutiny. Since last year, safety watchdogs of the US automotive industry have issued more than five subpoenas seeking information about accidents involving Tesla’s electric vehicles. The car driver said in a statement that he was driving at approximately 100 km/hr (62 miles) which was within the speed limit when the Tesla crashed into the parked tow truck on its left. Mr. Alexei said that nor he or the car was able to notice the tow truck and hence it crashed. Incident footage showed that the car was immersed in flames and thick smoke. The crash was followed by two explosions in the battery section of the Tesla. According to the TV footage the frame of the vehicle was the only survivor of the crash. This accident took place on Moscow’s ring road, also called as MKAD.
The crash took place at around 2100 Moscow time, i.e., 1800 GMT. The driver, Mr. Tretyakov, is a financial market expert and heads Arikapital Investment Company. He said that he broke his leg in the crash and his children suffered minor bruises. They managed to escape the vehicle before it caught fire. Since 2013, fourteen such incidents have taken place around the Tesla electric vehicles. Currently, Tesla Inc. has a fleet of more than 500,000 vehicles on the road and have driven more than 10 billion miles in total.