Tesla under spotlight, this time in South Korea, over tragic wall smash
Tesla may be the biggest electric vehicle (EV) maker in the world but it is also having to fight concerns over safety in its offerings in many key markets. While some of its technologies are awaiting a green signal from authorities, its EVs are also being scrutinized in many countries after these were involved in crashes, some tragic. The latest is the spotlight on the company after a Tesla crashed into a wall.
The said incident took place around two years ago and resulted in the death of a well-known lawyer who also happened to be a friend of the South Korean President. Initial reports had highlighted that the Model X belonging to a Choi Woan-jong gathered momentum without any throttle input and even the brakes failed to work. While he was charged with manslaughter, Choi blamed the EV.
While Choi has reportedly been unable to find work since the December 2020 accident, he also says that he suffers from depression. But is there any credibility to his claim that it was the Tesla Model X that accelerated on its own accord before crashing into a wall? His legal team claims there was an electric systems failure.
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Tesla has not officially responded in the matter as yet but there are reports of increased scrutiny of its EVs in the aftermath of the accident. The US-based EV maker sold close to 18,000 EVs in South Korea in 2021 even though it has no manufacturing base here. In the country, it has to compete against the likes of Kia and Hyundai in an intense EV battle.
But such crashes are not going to do much for credibility of Tesla which is also facing investigations in neighboring China over several incidents in which the drivers have blamed mechanical failures. China is the world's largest EV market and crucial to the fate of Tesla's dominance in the world of EVs.
(With inputs from Reuters)