Sunday morning in Lutz, Florida, a woman trying to park her Tesla Model X to go to a nail salon ended up putting the car into a gym’s wall. No one was hurt in the incident, though one poor guy’s workout was rudely interrupted.
ABC Action News obtained video of the incident, which showed the Tesla plow through the wall before the driver emerges unharmed. The driver was not charged with a crime, though authorities are still investigating. She told them that she was trying to brake before the crash:
The driver told troopers and deputies that she was coming into the parking lot to stop at the nearby nail salon, and says she was pressing the brakes, but the vehicle kept accelerating.
The first store she crashed into used to be a karate studio where kids would normally be working out, but that business recently re-located.
Her vehicle slammed through a second wall, into the gym next to several treadmills.
What the driver is describing is known as sudden unintended acceleration, which can happen in cars but hasn’t really been seen in Teslas, since there are a number of safeguards to prevent it. Tesla’s acceleration pedal, for example, can only be moved by an outside force, most commonly the driver’s foot. Teslas don’t have mechanisms for the car to move the pedal itself. The acceleration on Teslas is also much quicker than most gas-powered cars, since electric cars have instant torque, meaning that if someone were to accidentally punch down on the accelerator things can go south fast.
A Tesla spokesperson gave Jalopnik the following statement:
We take the safety of our customers very seriously and we’re glad our customer is safe. We investigate the vehicle diagnostic logs in every accident in which a driver claims their car “suddenly” and “unexpectedly” accelerated, and in every case the vehicle’s diagnostic logs confirm that the vehicle operated as designed. Accidents involving “pedal misapplication,” in which a driver presses the accelerator pedal by mistake, occur in all types of vehicles, not just Teslas. The accelerator pedals in Tesla vehicles have two redundant sensors that clearly show us when the pedal is physically pressed down, such as by the driver’s foot.