Dutch investigate Tesla Model 3 ‘unintended acceleration’ case
The Dutch authority for traffic, RDW (Rijksdienst voor Wegverkeer), is investigating a recent case of ‘unintended acceleration’ of a Tesla Model 3 in The Hague. The car breached through the barrier at a parking lot and crashed into a wall. The driver was injured lightly, but the car was a total loss.
The incident, captured on camera at the parking lot, occurred two months ago, on December 19th, in The Hague. The woman was driving the leased Model 3 car only for ten days after the massive delivery of Model 3s in the Amsterdam Port.
Into a brick wall
According to the driver who wants to stay anonymous, the car suddenly accelerated and breached straight through the barrier, hit a pole, and crashed into a brick wall. The airbag mitigated the impact for the driver, but the car turned out to be beyond repair.
Tesla responded to the woman’s questions only after newspaper Financieele Dagblad contacted the carmaker. Tesla doesn’t want to react officially to the queries but stated that the car’s data show the throttle was pushed three times, of which one up to 38%.
Impact on all Tesla cars in the EU
According to the RDW, however, that’s not what the driver experienced. The leasing company, BMW daughter Alphabet, sold the wrecked car initially to a demolition contractor but decided to repurchase it for the investigation.
The Dutch RDW, which delivered the homologation for the Tesla Model 3 for the whole of Europe, says it’s investigating the incident thoroughly. The outcome might impact all of Tesla’s Model 3s in Europe and force them to do a recall if a defect is shown.
The RDW contacted its peer government authority in the US, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) that is already investigating Tesla’s Model S, X, and 3 cars to accelerate unintendedly.
The investigation was started after the NHTSA got a petition, including 127 complaints that were said to be filed by Tesla owners or their representatives, mentioning 110 crashes and 52 injuries with Tesla cars that suddenly accelerated, mostly in parking maneuvers.
American electric carmaker, Tesla, says it suspects a short-seller being behind the ‘owners petition’. “Over the past several years, we discussed with NHTSA the majority of the complaints alleged in the petition. In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly.”
‘Myriads of complaints’
In fact, it turns out that the NHTSA received ‘myriads of complaints’ in the past about ‘a wide number of vehicles’ accelerating unintendedly. But after an investigation, all turned out to be a driver’s error that caused it, like gas pedal misapplication.
Tesla continues by saying: “While accidents caused by a mistaken press of the accelerator pedal have been alleged for nearly every make/model of vehicle on the road, the accelerator pedals in Model S, X, and 3 vehicles have two independent position sensors, and if there is any error, the system defaults to cut off motor torque.”
“Likewise, applying the brake pedal simultaneously with the accelerator pedal will override the accelerator pedal input, and cut off motor torque, and regardless of the torque, sustained braking will stop the car.
“Unique to Tesla, we also use the Autopilot sensor suite to help distinguish potential pedal misapplications and cut torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we’re confident the driver’s input was unintentional. Each system is independent and records data, so we can examine exactly what happened.”