Tesla has released a long statement about the background behind the protester who crashed its booth at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this month.
It’s a lot crazier than we thought.
Earlier this month, we reported on a Tesla owner protesting at the automaker’s booth at the Shanghai Motor show.
She jumped on a display car to claim that Tesla’s “brakes are not working.”
The owner was eventually dragged out of the booth and reportedly put in “police detention,” but not before the event was filmed and posted to social media.
Tesla ended up posting a response to the event on its Chinese social media, which later started trending for being perceived as “cocky” by the public, according to Chinese media. The company ended up apologizing for how it handled the situation.
Now, we have learned more details about what led to this incident and have a better idea of why Tesla was short with the protester.
Last week, we learned more about the accident that led the protester, Ms. Zhang, to claim that Tesla’s brakes are not working when Tesla actually released the data logs of the Model 3 involved in the accident.
That’s an unprecedented move for Tesla, which has previously been very protective of that data.
The automaker claimed that the driver, Ms. Zhang’s father, didn’t apply the brake forcibly enough to prevent the accident, and the vehicle performed as intended. The automatic emergency brakes even activated to reduce the force of the crash.
Today, Tesla posted to its Weibo account a detailed account of all of the company’s interactions, including several strange ones leading to the protest at the Shanghai Motor Show, which is where the story started for most people.
The automaker said that Ms. Zhang always refused third-party analysis of the vehicle’s data, and about two weeks after the accident, she brought the car to Tesla’s local store to protest:
“On March 6, Ms. Zhang once again declared that she would reject any form of vehicle testing, and requested to return the vehicle and compensate for mental damage, medical expenses, and lost work expenses. In the Tesla store, a banner that reads “Brake Failure” was posted on the car body, and attention was drawn by means of pulling up banners and using speakers to spread Tesla’s negative comments, affecting the normal operating order of the store. Tesla staff have offered to advance the third-party inspection fees several times, but Ms. Zhang has always refused. Because of the greater impact of his “rights protection” behavior, the local police station sent out police officers to provide on-site persuasion on many occasions.”
Tesla shared a few images of the incident in the report:
In the report, the company said that after that protest, it had a mediation meeting with Ms. Zhang and the authorities, where Tesla claims she actually agreed to a third-party review but recanted shortly after.
Now that’s when things start to get crazy.
She again brought back her car at the local Tesla store to protest. Then, she upgraded from protesting at Tesla stores to bringing her car to the Zhengzhou Dahe Auto Show and even hiring models to stand next to the car:
According to Tesla, she did a few more of these stunts before the more publicized incident at the Shanghai Motor Show.
Chinese media reported that she was detained for five days by the police after the event.
Tesla says it hasn’t been in communications with her since the arrest until now, and the company shared the text it received from her:
“I just came back. I need to adjust. I hope you can show an attitude that really solves the problem. When you have this attitude, we will communicate.”
The automaker says that it is still seeking “face-to-face” communications with her to solve the situation.
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