A Tesla Model 3 electric car caught fire after crashing into a parked tow truck on a Moscow motorway late on Saturday, with the Tesla driver saying he had failed to see the vehicle with which he collided.
Asked in a video published on REN TV website if he was using an Autopilot self-driving system, driver Alexei Tretyakov said he was in a drive assistance mode in which he was still holding the steering wheel.
Tesla has stood by safety claims for its Model 3 in the face of regulatory scrutiny, while documents showed the top US automotive safety watchdog issued at least five subpoenas since last year seeking information about crashes involving the company’s vehicles.
Tretyakov said was driving at around 100 km (62 miles) per hour — the speed limit — when the car crashed on its left side into the stationary tow truck that he had not noticed.
Footage of the incident on state TV channel Rossiya 24 showed the car by the side of the road engulfed in flames and thick black smoke. Two small explosions occurred within a few seconds of each other and the metal frame of the vehicle was all that remained after the fire, TV footage showed.
After a crash into a parked tow truck on Moscow’s motorway on Saturday, the Tesla Model 3 electric car caught fire and Tesla’s driver said he had not seen the vehicle he was confronted with.
In a video on REN TV, when asked whether the Autopilot drive system was being used, driver Alexei Tretyakov said that he was still holding the steering wheel in a drive aid mode.
In view of regulatory scrutiny, Tesla supported safety claims for Model 3 while records demonstrated that the top American car security surveillance guard issued at least five subpoenas since last year, which looked for data about vehicle accidents.
Tretyakov said the vehicle crashed into the stationary truck town at a velocity level of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour when it collapsed on its left side.
The photograph taken on Rossiya 24 state TV showed the vehicle in flames and dense black smoke alongside the highway. The vehicle was smoking. In just a few seconds, the vehicle’s metal frame was all that was left behind after the fire, showing TV footage.
A video displaying the vehicle driving along the left-hand lane of the Ring Street of Moscow, called the MKAD, was displayed on the Russian RIA state newsagent before collage into a tow truck parked by a safety fence that distinguishes the carriage from oncoming traffic.
Around 2100 GMT (1800 GMT) time was the accident.
The Financial Market Expert and Head of the investment company Arikapital Tretyakov said that he broke his arm while his two kids suffered only bruises. All of them fled the car.
For a remark about the incident outside regular business hours, Tesla was not instantly accessible.
Russia’s RIA state news agency website posted a video showing the car driving in the left-hand lane of Moscow’s ring road, known as the MKAD, before crashing into a tow truck parked by a safety fence that separates the carriageway from oncoming traffic.
The accident took place at around 2100 Moscow time (1800 GMT).
Tretyakov, a financial market expert and the head of Arikapital investment company, said he broke his leg in the incident, while his two children suffered only bruises. They all escaped from the vehicle.
Tretyakov said he was about 100 kmph on his journey, in line with the allowed highway limit. Footage of the incident showed the car driving in the left-hand lane of Moscow’s ring road which is also called the MKAD when the vehicle crashed on its left side into the stationary heavy vehicle which he failed to notice that was parked by a safety fence that separates the carriageway from oncoming traffic. The images from the incident showed that the vehicle had dense black smoke in flames. Tow little babies happened within seconds of one another and only the vehicle’s metal frame stayed.
Tesla was not immediately available for a comment on the incident outside normal business hours.