Tesla bursts into flames after fatal crash in Switzerland

Ivan Schwartz
May 16, 2018

Tesla's stock price slipped Monday following another autopilot crash, this time in Utah, which the NTSB said it would investigate alongside its other now open investigation into the fatal crash of a Model X in California in March.

Tesla will pause production at its California factory for six days at the end of the May to work on fixes to its assembly line for its new Model 3 sedan, sources inside the company told Reuters.

The chief executive said in his email that Tesla will still hire critical positions to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development.

Earlier this month, Tesla said its Model 3 production target remains on track, expecting about 5,000 per week in about two months.

Responding to media coverage of the accident, Musk tweeted: "it's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in USA auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage".

However, representatives of the company repeatedly warned the owners of electric Tesla, that when using the autopilot, they should still be careful and watch the road. "Eyetracking rejected for being ineffective, not for cost".

Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving unit, said on Sunday that Matthew Schwall had joined the company from Tesla.

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In another Twitter message on Monday, Musk said the "probability of fatality is much lower in a Tesla", saying Tesla would begin reporting safety numbers from the second quarter of 2018.

"In exceptional circumstances, lithium ion batteries can experience a sudden and unstoppable rise in temperature - a sort of chain reaction that can lead to a breakdown of the thermal equilibrium of the system and to the complete destruction of the batteries and the auto", fire safety expert Guido Zaccarelli said in an article quoted by the Bellinzona fire brigade.

Police in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan said Monday the driver also said in an interview that she was looking at her phone before the accident.

Tesla has been struggling to find solutions to manufacturing bottlenecks on the new assembly line that produces the Model 3, a sedan intended for volume production.

In the most recent incident over the weekend, a Utah woman slammed into the back of a local fire department vehicle while her Tesla Model S' semi-autonomous Autopilot feature was engaged.

National Transportation Safety Board Keith Holloway said the agency is not yet investigating the matter.

This is not the first time a Tesla has collided with a fire engine while its Autopilot mode was engaged.

Other reports by GizPress

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