American electric car brand Tesla has denied any technical failings were to blame for a fatal car crash involving a Tesla taxi, which killed one person and injured 20, in Paris on Saturday December 11.
Three of the injured people are still in a critical state following the incident in the 13th arrondissement, the public prosecutor said.
The accident happened after the driver of a Model 3 Tesla taxi lost control of the vehicle while driving. The taxi ran over two pedestrians and hit a glass container, and then hit a traffic light, before crashing into a van on a roundabout, police said.
#Paris : accident de la circulation dans le 13e arrondissement de Paris. pic.twitter.com/HvqGtOEt9E— Alerte France (@AlerteFR) December 11, 2021
#Paris : accident de la circulation dans le 13e arrondissement de Paris. pic.twitter.com/aPFn8lYC5i— Alerte France (@AlerteFR) December 11, 2021
The public prosecutor has now opened an investigation but the details have not yet been revealed due to “secrecy rules”, the prosecutor said.
The G7 Paris taxi company has decided to no longer use the 37 Tesla Model 3 vehicles in its fleet until the results of the inquiry have been released.
A spokesperson for the French arm of the American brand has denied any ‘technical failings’ could have been to blame for the crash, in response to questioning by Le Monde.
The company has not been able to examine the Model 3, which was almost completely destroyed in the crash. Yet, Tesla is able to send updates to its cars remotely, and receive information about them in return, in the same way as smartphone companies.
The spokesperson for Tesla in France did not comment on the specific vehicle involved in the crash, but said: “We are capable of knowing what has or has not happened on board one of our models.”
It said that it was “at authorities’ disposition” to cooperate with the investigation and to send data it has gathered remotely on the vehicle in question but declined to give further details.
In January 2020, Tesla denied that its cars could be subject to “unintentional acceleration” after claims that this was happening by some drivers in the US.
It said: “We have investigated each incident, and, each time the data were available, we have been able to establish that the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver decided to do it.”
It added that its vehicle accelerator pedals are fitted with sensors that cut the motor immediately if any dysfunction is detected (such as the driver pressing on both pedals at once, for example).
The investigation continues.
Tesla top of electric car list in France
In July, Tesla topped the list of electric cars sold in France in the first half of the year. The Tesla Model 3 won out ahead of the Renault Zoé and the Peugeot e-208.
The ranking used data from automobile statistics company AAA Data to compile the list by car models sold in the first half of 2021, both to individuals and to businesses, including car hire firms.
Read more: Tesla tops list of electric cars sold in France in 2021
This amounted to 13,084 Tesla Model 3 vehicles, versus 10,797 for the Renault Zoé, and 9,133 for the Peugeot e-208.
Tesla sales rapidly increased towards the end of the quarter. In June alone, it sold 5,000 vehicles.
The company opened a delivery centre in Paris-Nord Villepinte at the end of May, and another site in June, in Saint-Priest, near Lyon.
The ranking is considered surprising as drivers in France are often seen as more likely to buy French rather than American when it comes to cars. The second and third most popular brands on the list (as well as the fifth, and seventh) – Renault and Peugeot – were French.
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