A Tesla Model X owner received a nasty surprise recently, as his electric SUV’s front doors ended up being plowed by a passing truck after they automatically opened. According to Tesla, the Model X’s door autonomously opened after its key fob was pressed multiple times, activating the convenience feature. According to the EV’s owner, however, the carmaker is blatantly lying.
The Model X’s owner, Sam Kovac, is a veterinarian in Australia. He recently bought his Model X earlier this year for a lofty price of AU$197,000. According to a Car Advice report, Dr. Kovac had been attending to one of his clients when one of his nurses told him about the accident. Upon looking at his car, he saw that the driver’s side door was completely ripped off.
“I walked out to the Princes Hwy to find my front door completely torn off the driver’s side, with leather and plastic strewn over the bitumen for the next 50 meters past my car.”
The incident was captured by a CCTV camera in the area. In the 22-second clip, the Tesla Model X could be seen flashing its lights before automatically opening its doors. Unfortunately for the vehicle, however, it opened its front doors at the exact time that a big rig was passing through.
While Kovac maintains that a glitch with the car’s software was the culprit behind the unfortunate incident, Tesla was firm in its statement that it was human error that caused the accident. According to the EV maker, the Model X’s logs clearly showed that the “Automatic Door” feature was not only enabled in the vehicle, its key fob was also pressed four times before the doors of the SUV opened, according to a Jalopnik report.
“Model X contains an optional convenience feature whereby when the user double-clicks on the vehicle key fob, the driver-side front door will both unlock and open automatically. Our data records clearly show that the customer had this feature set to ‘on’ at the time of the incident, and that both front doors of the car were unlocked and opened via two double-clicks of the key fob, four consecutive clicks, within operating proximity to the car.”
Since then, the Model X owner and Tesla have been engaged in a bitter argument about which side is to blame for the accident. At one point, Tesla even offered to buy back the vehicle, but the offer’s massive cut from the original price of the car was rejected by the veterinarian.
Apart from this, Tesla also stated that Dr. Kovac’s version of the events leading up to the accident have changed since the incident was first reported, which all but makes Dr. Kovac’s claims questionable.
In an angry retort in the comments section of Car Advice, Dr. Kovac accused the EV maker of blatantly lying in its statement. According to the veterinarian, the Model X’s key fob was not pressed at any time before the unfortunate accident. Dr. Kovac further maintained that the cause of the incident was a glitch, and it was something that could have easily caused a fatality.
“It is a blatant lie from Tesla, the key fob was never pressed by myself or a human and they are claiming that I did both press it four times and told them so. The issue isn’t about the pettiness of who is to pay for the repair, but of a SAFETY issue and serious design flaw. The feature isn’t safe for families and Tesla have advised that to operate the auto doors.”
Considering that Tesla’s key fob looks like a miniature model of the EV, and that tapping on certain parts of the fob activates features of the car, many EV enthusiasts have speculated that Dr. Kovac might have easily activated the automatic doors by mistake. Apart from this, the video evidence of the incident does show the Model X’s rear lights flash before its automatic doors opened, which usually means that there was input from the key fob.
For now, Dr. Kovac and Tesla remain engaged in a stalemate, with neither side owning up to the incident. Fortunately, no one was harmed during the unfortunate accident.
Watch a video of the accident below.
[Featured Image by Tesla]