Is Tesla having the worst year ever? Over the course of 2016, we've written frequently about Tesla's many setbacks including several auto-pilot related crashes, hackers taking control of moving vehicles, egregious levels of cash burn and a very controversial merger with SolarCity.
Now, as 2016 draws to a close, Tesla once again finds itself in the spotlight as a Model X owner has filed a lawsuit alleging that his electric SUV suddenly accelerated while being parked, causing it to crash through the garage of his home and into his living room, injuring the driver and a passenger.
In the lawsuit filed Friday in California, Ji Chang Son said that one night in September, he was slowly pulling into his driveway as his garage door opened when the car suddenly sped forward. Unfortunately for Tesla, the lawsuit seeks class action status noting at least seven other complaints from owners of similar incidents. Per CBC News:
"The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in plaintiffs' living room," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, seeks class-action status. It cites seven other complaints registered in a database compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dealing with sudden acceleration.
Not surprisingly, after conducting a "thorough investigation," Tesla concluded that their cars are still extremely awesome and therefore any malfunction in operation was certainly due to user error.
Tesla said in a statement that it had "conducted a thorough investigation" of the claims made by Son.
"The evidence, including data from the car, conclusively shows that the crash was the result of Mr. Son pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 per cent," a Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Tesla said it has various ways to protect against pedal misapplication, including using its autopilot sensors to distinguish between erroneous pedal application and normal cases.
Of course, the only question now is how many "plumes of smoke" have to be discovered before Tesla investors start to worry that there might actually be a fire?