Okay, so who made Putin angry?
In all likelihood, the cause of this Tesla Model 3’s demise will be blamed on driver error. And fortunately, the driver, Alexei Tretyakov, is mostly okay. He suffered a broken leg and his two children walked away with a few bruises. No other bystanders were injured. Unfortunately, there’s little to nothing left of the Model 3, which caught fire after crashing into a parked tow truck on a Russian highway. The incident took place in Moscow last Saturday and, according to Tretyakov, he failed to see the tow truck for some reason.
The Russian language REN TV website has confirmed, via the driver, that he was engaged in Autopilot self-driving mode at the time. More specifically, it was in driver assistance mode, meaning he was still holding the steering wheel. Tretyakov claims he was traveling at the 62 mph speed limit when the crash happened. He ended up crashing the car on its left side into the parked tow truck.
The footage we’ve included above shows the fiery aftermath. The Model 3 in question is completely engulfed in flames and lots of thick black smoke. There’s even a couple of explosions within just a few seconds of each other. It’s painful. The metal frame appears to be somewhat intact, but that’s about it. Nothing else makes it recognizable as a Tesla. Chances are the batteries had something to do with the starting the fire.
As to what exactly went wrong is still under investigation. Tesla has not been available for comment, but it has a proven history of providing any assistance to investigating authorities as deemed necessary. Sometimes it even sends its own team to investigate. However, this crash still calls into question some safety concerns.
The US government safety watchdog, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, still has questions regarding Tesla’s vehicles. Tesla continues to claim its vehicles are perfectly safe, but it was still issued five subpoenas by the NHTSA since last year requesting more information about Tesla crashes. In this latest case, however, the NHTSA has absolutely no authority.