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TesLa has been taking a lot of heat from automotive fans after its Model 3 electric car crashed into a parked tow truck on a Moscow motorway and caught fire. The Tesla driver, Alexei Tretyakov, who was with his family, claimed he failed to see the vehicle with which he collided.
He was asked in a video published on REN TV website if he was using an autopilot self-driving system. According to Tretyakov, a financial market expert and the head of Arikapital Investment Company, he was in drive assistance mode but he was still holding the steering wheel.
Tesla has stood by safety claims for its Model 3 in the face of regulatory scrutiny, while documents showed the top US automotive safety watchdog issued at least five subpoenas since last year seeking information about crashes involving the company’s vehicles.
Apparently, Tretyakov was driving at around 100km per hour, which was the speed limit when the car crashed on its left side into the stationary tow truck that he had not noticed. TV footage of the incident on the Rossiya 24 channel captured the car engulfed in flames followed by two small explosions within a few seconds of each other. The metal frame of the vehicle was all that remained after the fire.
Tretyakov broke his leg in the accident and his two children suffered only bruises. They all escaped from the car.
Apparently, Tesla was not available for a comment outside normal business hours.