The Tesla Model X has a lot of bells and whistle. One of those is the capability to open all the doors automatically – both the front doors and the Falcon Wing doors.
In a recent accident, that capability resulted in the doors opening automatically while the car was parked on the street and a truck was passing by. The truck completely ripped the door off the all-electric SUV.
Now the owner of the Model X and Tesla are arguing over what actually happened.
The actual accident was caught on video by a security camera, which lets virtually nothing to interpretation here.
You can clearly see the Model X parked on the side of the road when the lights flash – indicating that a remote action based on the key fob or Tesla mobile app has been initiated and the doors open a second before the driver’s door (this happened in Sydney, Australia) gets torn off by a passing truck.
Fortunately, no one was hurt during the accident since no one was in the car.
Here’s the video in question:
Now what led to those doors opening is what is being argued by the owner of the Model X and Tesla.
The owner, Dr Sam Kovac, spoke to Australia’s Car Advice about the accident:
“Just like a regular day, I arrived at work and started attending to pets committed to my care. At about 2:30pm, while in consultation with a distressed owner of a sick pet, a nurse tapped me on my shoulder that something disastrously wrong had happened to my pride and joy. 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 metres past my car. I met with a shaky truck driver who said that he was petrified as the Model X door opened into his truck and he thought he had killed the driver.”
Kovac claims that himself nor the key fob were nowhere near the Model X nor did anyone press it.
He had the electric SUV towed to a Tesla repair center and reached out to Tesla’s local service team to figure out the issue.
Tesla checked the logs and a Tesla spokesperson gave Car Advice the company’s version of the accident:
“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. A second double-click on the vehicle key fob unlocks and opens the passenger-side front door […] 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.”
Kovac denies this version of the event and claims to have timed security camera footage to prove it. On the other hand, Tesla claims that Kovac changed his version of the event and that he previously admitted to having pressed the key fob.
“During our conversations with the customer, he not only made it clear to us that understands how the doors function, but that he indeed pressed the key fob multiple times, causing the front driver and passenger doors to open. We’re glad that no one was harmed in this incident,”
The doctor says that he feels this is a design flaw and he doesn’t feel safe driving the car. Tesla accepted to buy it back, but at a discount after repair.
It’s not the first time that the Model X’s fancy doors are causing Tesla trouble with owners, but it’s generally with the Falcon Wing doors and not the self-presenting front doors. For example, when a Tesla owner asked for $1 million after her Model X caught on fire in a crash and the Falcon Wing doors wouldn’t open earlier this year or when a Tesla Model X clipped one of its Falcon Wings on a garage door.