Wonderful Engineering

Owner Sues Tesla Over $1 Million When Model X Falcon Doors Fail To Open In A Crash

An owner of Tesla Model X has sued Tesla over $1.1 million when the falcon wing doors of the car failed to open, and the owner was stuck inside after a crash.

A couple in Guangzhou, China had a serious car accident while riding the Tesla Model X back in February. Li Tada and her partner were seated in the back when the car had a fatal head-on collision. As they failed to get the back door of the car to open, the couple stayed stuck inside while flames wrapped the car all over. The two of them did manage to get out of the front door without incurring serious injuries, but that did not stop him from suing the company for 8 million Chinese yuan (~$1.1 million).

The incident was made public when Li Tada published an account on CarTrek’s We Chat. The owner mentioned that she had owned her Tesla Model X for just three months before the accident. The incident occurred at the Guangzhou highway while their driver Zheng Chuyu was driving with the speed of 75 km/h and the car went out of control after colliding with the side rails of the road. With an 180 degree flip, the car ran into a Ford Focus behind resulting in a massive collision. The vehicle caught fire within seconds of the hit, and as the couple tried to escape through the back doors, they failed to open. Li Tada and the partner moved out of the car from the front door while flames engulfed the car in just 10 seconds.

Li got her nose fractured and had to get lots of stitches for some cuts on her lower lip, but overall the couple managed to get out safe. The driver Zheng Chuyu, however, was severely injured because the airbag of the car failed to deploy after the collision resulting in a fractured spinal cord, and severe damage to the internal organs.

The Falcon wing doors of the Tesla Model X are designed to include an emergency latch that can be used for opening the doors when the buttons fail to work. This information is given out in the handbook manual that comes with the car, but the online manual has no mention of it. The point to be noted is that there does exist a latch.

Tada chose to ask for monetary compensation for the trauma the accident had caused her. Her CarTrek letter reads, “After the accident until today, I often have nightmares I was being burned to death inside the Tesla Model X. I wouldn’t dare ride it again, I would rather use the subway.”

Tesla China reacted to the incident saying:

“First of all, the lives of the owner and passengers were not threaten. We are working closely with the department concerned. The distribution of the debris at the site and the damage all indicate that this was a high-speed crash – in this case, not just electric cars, but any vehicle can catch on fire. In fact, another car involved in the accident (a fuel-powered vehicle) also caught on fire. Fuel tank fire incidents happen much more often than the electric car fires. In addition, Tesla has consistently insisted on the disclosure and transparency of information, including other information about the incident, such as the owner is asking us for 8 million yuan, and we will not accept”.

The incident is under investigation by the company and the authorities, and we will have to wait and see how the results turn out. Whose fault do you think it was?