A woman in China has been ordered to provide a public apology to Tesla after alleging “brake failure” in a Model 3 caused a collision.

    Electrek reported Tesla owner Ms Zhang alleged in 2021 the fault caused the accident, however she reportedly refused to have the vehicle inspected by a third party.

    The news outlet reports that during the court proceedings a third-party inspection was able to confirm the Model 3 has no issues with its brakes.

    The Weiyang District People’s Court in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province ruled the accident was caused by the owner and that Ms Zhang needs to remove her social media posts claiming brake failure, write a public apology to Tesla and pay 2000 yuan (A$430) to cover legal costs, as well as 20,000 yuan (A$4245) to cover the cost of the inspection.

    In 2021, the woman began to protest at Tesla stores and events in China.

    The incident reportedly happened while someone else was driving the Model 3, however Ms Zhang was the one protesting.

    Electrek reports Ms Zhang’s first major public stunt was at the Shanghai motor show in April 2021.

    At the event, the woman allegedly jumped on a Tesla display vehicle and complained about the “brakes not working”. She was arrested by local police and reportedly detained for five days over the stunt.

    Soon after the incident the brand reportedly posted a response to the incident on social media. Electrek reported local Chinese media deemed Tesla China’s response as “cocky”. The carmaker later apologised for its response and how it handled the situation.

    This wasn’t the only time Ms Zhang caught the attention of the public. According to Electrek, Tesla reportedly shared more incidents with the woman, claiming Ms Zhang brought the crashed Model 3 to a Tesla store and hired models to stand next to it.

    Tesla is not known for publicly releasing vehicle data logs but in this case, the brand’s China division released logs leading up to the collision which proved it was user error.

    China Market Supervision News reports the data shows the Model 3 driver didn’t apply enough brake force to slow the vehicle down to avoid a collision, and despite the autonomous emergency braking activating the vehicle still managed to crash at 48km/h.

    Tesla went on to explain to China Market Supervision News how the collision occurred:

    “When the driver stepped on the brake pedal for the last time, the data showed that the speed of the vehicle was 118.5 kilometres per hour. Within 2.7 seconds after the driver stepped on the brake pedal, the maximum brake master cylinder pressure was only 45.9 bar.

    “After that, the driver increased the stepping on the brake pedal, and the brake master cylinder pressure reached 92.7 bar.

    “The front collision warning and automatic emergency braking function were activated (the maximum brake master cylinder pressure reached 140.7bar) and played a role, reducing the amplitude of the collision. 1.8 seconds after the ABS was applied, the system recorded the occurrence of the collision. 

    “After the driver stepped on the brake pedal, the vehicle speed continued to decrease, and before the collision, the vehicle speed was reduced to 48.5 kilometres per hour.”

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model 3

    Jade Credentino

    Jade Credentino is an automotive journalist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Jade has had a chance to review a variety of vehicles and particularly enjoys SUVs. She enjoys traveling and going on road trips exploring Australia.

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