Ji Chang Son was the proud owner of a spanking new Tesla Model X in August 2016, and he obviously loved his vehicle a whole lot. Well, love for the Tesla Model X might have fermented into something else a month after his latest car purchase. How so? Mr. Son was making a turn into his driveway at his Orange County home in California, where he claimed that out of the blue, the Model X made a sudden, unexpected acceleration -- creating a new hole in his garage’s wall which left half of the Model X in his living room. At the end of last month on December 30, Mr. Son’s attorneys filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in California against Tesla. It is interesting to note that a lawsuit with class action status under federal law can only be filed if the total damage amassed for all the members of the class ought to surpass the $5 million mark.
Reuters claimed that the lawsuit mentioned, “The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in Plaintiffs’ living room.”
According to Tesla, data mined from the vehicle’s computer showed that the accelerator pedal was fully depressed when the unfortunate incident happened. In other words, there should be a foot that put the pedal to the metal, or other heavy object, resting on the accelerator. Only one party is correct in the matter, so which is it? It would be interesting to see how the case will pan out in courts. With the Tesla Model X being full well capable of accelerating all the way to 60 mph in approximately 3 seconds, you can be sure that some serious torque is involved in the incident that fortunately, did not cause any loss of life or serious injury.
According to Son’s attorneys, the Model X’s Automatic Emergency Braking systems ought to have prevented the vehicle from slamming into the wall, never mind that it was driver error who stepped on the wrong pedal, thinking it was the brake in the first place. However, Mr. Son’s attorneys clearly stated that their client did not step on the wrong pedal.
So far, 8 official reports of sudden unintended acceleration by a Tesla Model X has been filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. A handful of these reports are similar in circumstance to what Mr. Son experienced, and even Tesla acknowledges that their vaunted Automatic Emergency Braking system does not function if the vehicle is traveling at under 8 miles per hour.
Tesla also mentioned that the Model X can accelerate on its own under selected situations, which is pretty scary since you can never tell whether it would be you next who would be part of the class action lawsuit. Hopefully the legal process will eventually uncover the truth and avoid anything of this sort from happening ever again.