Tesla told France there was no sign of a technical malfunction in the plane crash in Paris

  • The source said that one person was killed, 20 were wounded, and three were seriously injured
  • The driver is under investigation for manslaughter
  • Tesla says there is no technical issue to report
  • Witnesses said the car hit metal poles, bicycles, a container, and a truck

A French government spokesman said, today, Wednesday, that Tesla has informed the French government that there is no indication that a fatal accident in Paris involving a Tesla Model 3 taxi was caused by a technical defect.

The Paris taxi company G7 has suspended the use of 37 Model 3 cars in its fleet after the accident that occurred on Saturday evening, in which one of its drivers was involved.

BFM television reported that the driver had been subjected to an official investigation on suspicion of manslaughter. Under French law, an official investigation means that there is “serious or consistent evidence” of a suspect’s involvement in a crime. It is one step away from trial, but such investigations can be dropped.

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One person was killed in the accident and 20 were injured, three of them seriously. Read more

“We have of course been in contact with Tesla management and they are telling us there is no technical problem with marking their cars,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters.

He added that the government is awaiting the outcome of the ongoing judicial investigation.

Still in shock, four days after the accident, witnesses told Reuters the car smashed into metal posts, a row of pay-per-ride bikes and a recycling bin filled with glass, crashing into pedestrians and a truck before finally coming to a stop.

“I thought it was an attack. There was glass and dust … It looked like there was an explosion,” said Teilhard Diomandi, who was serving customers from behind his bar in a nearby restaurant.

A police source said that the car that stopped at a red traffic light suddenly sped forward and collided with a cyclist who later died, quoting the driver’s own account of events, witnesses and video surveillance.

The police source said the driver tested negative on a breathalyzer.

It wasn’t clear if the car was operating in Tesla’s autopilot mode, which takes over some driving duties.

Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebari told RMC radio that he spoke with the CEO of Tesla Europe, who told him there were no safety alerts about the Model 3.

He added that the automaker, which collects detailed data from sensors and cameras on its cars, had notified it that it had provided relevant technical data to investigators.

Tesla, which leads the electric and self-driving car revolution and has a market value of nearly $1 trillion, did not respond to requests for comment.

Jan Ricordel, executive vice president of the Group of Seven, told Reuters that the accident occurred while an off-duty taxi driver was taking his family to a restaurant. Ricordel said the driver tried to brake but the car accelerated instead.

Last year, the US Automotive Safety Regulatory Authority opened an official review of more than 200 complaints about sudden acceleration of Tesla cars, but the regulator later said it found no defects in Tesla’s systems, saying the accidents were caused by “pedal misapplication”.

Philip Copeman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said in his blog that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not take software flaws into account in its investigations, and French investigators need to look at software as a possible cause.

A video of the scene obtained by Reuters showed the wreckage of a black Tesla and debris strewn across the street. The left side of the car crashed, the front left wheel collapsed and the windshield shattered.

The car appeared to have collided with a white truck, which damaged the front of the car. Other clips circulating on social media showed members of the public caring for the wounded and shocked passersby in the aftermath of the accident.

Tesla President Elon Musk has been named 2021 Person of the Year by both Time magazine and the Financial Times for launching a historic shift in the auto industry toward electric cars, as well as sending rockets into orbit with his aerospace company.

The Tesla Model 3 topped European car sales in September, marking the first time an electric car had done so in the monthly charts.

NHTSA said in August that it had sent teams to review 31 Tesla accidents, including 10 deaths, since 2016 in which it suspected the use of advanced driver assistance systems.

Autopilot has been ruled out in three incidents.

Musk has repeatedly defended the autopilot program, and in April he tweeted that “Tesla with autopilot is now 10 times closer to the probability of an accident compared to a regular vehicle.”

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Reporting by Matthew Rosemin and Elizabeth Pinault in Paris Additional reporting by Alan Aku in Paris and David Shepardson in Washington and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco Writing by Richard Love and Sylvia Aloisi Editing by Jason Neely, Philippa Fletcher and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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