Tesla sheds brake failure allegations backed by "a platform"
The woman wearing white T-shirts with "Brake Failure" at the Shanghai Auto Show 2021.

Asian Tech Press (May 10) -- Tesla has temporarily gotten away with allegations of brake failure in China after a consumer apologized and said he was backed by "a platform".

A Chinese buyer who accused Tesla of "brake failure" publicly apologized to the U.S.-based electric car maker Monday, admitting he stepped on the gas pedal and caused the brakes to fail.

In the apology statement, the Tesla Model 3 owner surnamed Chen from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, explained the incident and admitted that related videos defamed and insulted Tesla Inc. and Tesla cars.

The consumer said that he mistook the gas pedal for the brake when the accident occurred, causing the vehicle to run into a parking lot and collide with the parking gate, multiple parked vehicles, and barriers.

After the accident, Chen posted accusations about Tesla's automatic acceleration and brake failure on various social media platforms and media interviews, knowing that it was his own operational error.

In the open letter, Chen said that his fabricated statements were widely disseminated and many people were misled, causing irreparable and huge damage to the reputation of Tesla Inc. and Tesla cars.

Through China's Twitter-like Weibo, Chen apologized to Tesla and the people who were misled.

"A Platform" Behind It

Chen said in his open letter that a Shanghai-based Tesla car owner surnamed Feng, who claimed to be "defending his rights", contacted him and introduced him to "a platform".

According to Chen's statement, to deal with Tesla's lawsuit, the platform arranged for him to have lawyers for the first hearing and paid for all of the lawyers' fees.

Chen added that after the secondary ruling, a woman named Zhang from Henan invited him to join other car owners in a class action lawsuit against Tesla, but he declined.

It's worth noting that the woman surnamed Zhang mentioned in the apology letter is in fact the person who climbed onto the car and shouted "Tesla brake failed" at the Shanghai Auto Show 2021.

And the man surnamed Feng, mentioned by Chen, was accused of being one of the main organizers and planners of the customer protests at the Shanghai Auto Show.

The statement mentioned "a platform", but the apologist did not specify. There is a wide range of entities that can be called platforms in China, including small, medium and large Internet platforms in the country.

Well-known social media platforms in China include Tencent's WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, Douban. It is not clear whether the platform mentioned by Chen is one of these large Internet platforms.

But an article published Monday by private Chinese media outlet Huxiu.com said that the platform supporting Chen's lawsuit against Tesla and arranging lawyers for him is just an ordinary attorney platform, not a familiar large Internet platform.

Huxiu.com is a media outlet specializing in technology reports, with a long term focus on the development of China's Internet.

Background of the Incident

On August 12, 2020, the car owner surnamed Chen was driving a Tesla Model 3 in a residential building in Wenzhou when the vehicle suddenly lost control and ran into a parking lot, causing damage to more than 10 cars.

Chen, who has more than 10 years of driving experience, lost his ability to work after his back bone was shattered and his large intestine was amputated by 30 centimeters in the crash.

Since then, Chen posted on TikTok's Chinese version Douyin, Weibo and other popular social media platforms in China that the accident was caused by the sudden acceleration of the vehicle and its own failure to react when he stepped on the brakes.

On October 13, 2020, the Wenzhou Automobile Engineering Society, an agency entrusted by the local traffic police department to identify the vehicle involved in the accident, released the results.

The results showed that, after analyzing the background data and comparing it with data from an Event Data Recorder (EDR), the brake pedal did not work for five seconds before the collision occurred.

After the results of the accident analysis, Chen submitted statements at local traffic police departments, admitting that he did not apply the brakes at the time, but stepped on the gas pedal as the brakes.

In June last year, Tesla sued Chen for reputation damage to the Wenzhou Lucheng District Court.

The court heard and found that Chen constituted an infringement of Tesla's reputation and ordered him to make a public apology and pay 50,000 yuan in compensation on his personal social accounts.

The Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court rejected Chen's appeal in the secondary ruling and upheld the original decision, which came into effect in March this year.

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