SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — A dispute over the safety of electric cars is attracting attention after a vehicle produced by Tesla Motors Inc. crashed into a wall in the underground parking lot of an apartment complex and caught fire.
The accident left one dead and two injured.
The driver of the Tesla’s Model X claimed that the accident was caused by sudden unintended acceleration.
However, another analysis pointed out that Tesla’s unique electronic door handle system, which is different from that of other vehicles, should be blamed for the loss of life.
The most contentious issue in the accident was that the rescue of the passengers was belated due to difficulties opening the doors of the Model X from the outside after the car caught on fire.
Unlike other most other types of vehicles, Tesla cars – including the Model X – feature retractable door handles. The door handles automatically pop up if the door handle area is touched.
The problem, however, is that if power fails, the door cannot be opened from the outside.
For the Model 3, of which 10,866 units were sold between January and November of this year in the domestic market, the rear doors have no inside mechanical door handle.
In case of emergency, passengers should escape the vehicle through the front doors or trunk.
Nonetheless, Tesla does not have to comply with the nation’s safety standards due to the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA).
“The South Korea-U.S. FTA, at least in the areas of automobile safety, should be amended to require foreign carmakers to follow the domestic safety standards regardless of their sales volume.” lawyer Song Ki-ho said.
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)