Tesla Trying to Recover Wrecked Model S

EV maker sued by trademark squatter in China.

by on Jul.08, 2014

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk wants to recover a stolen Model S involved in a high-speed collision in California over the weekend.

Tesla is looking to get its hands on a recently wrecked Model S sedan – it split in half after hitting a light pole and the battery caught fire – after it was stolen from a dealer lot in California last weekend.

“We’ve asked to take a look at the vehicle as soon as that’s possible,” Simon Sproule, Tesla’s vice president of communications, told Bloomberg News. “There aren’t so many Ses involved in major crashes, and certainly not quite like this one, so we absolutely want to have a look to understand what happened.”

Beyond the Numbers!

The car crashed on a street in West Hollywood, Calif., after a police chase at speeds up to 100 mph. There were several injuries in the multi-car crash, but no deaths at the scene, police officials said.

Multiple photographs of the wreck show the back half of the stolen Tesla leaning against the wall of a building on a street corner with the front half of the car further up the street between two other vehicles involved in the accident. The car’s battery caught fire after the crash, according to multiple reports.

Getting the vehicle back can help the EV maker get some additional insight about why the vehicles catch fire, especially with the changes it made to the vehicle to prevent just such an occurrence.

Tesla added a titanium plate in March to further strengthen the casing that protects its lithium-ion battery after NHTSA reviewed crashes that triggered Model S fires.

The accident was actually one of two Tesla crashes in California over the weekend. In the other, a Model S rear-ended a Toyota Corolla on the expressway. The Corolla split in half and the driver and two passengers were killed while two other occupants were hospitalized. The driver of the Tesla sustained minor injuries.

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On the heels of the two incidents, it was revealed that Tesla is being sued in China for trademark infringement by Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng, who registered the Tesla name in Chinese and English in 2006 before the company arrived. He is seeking $3.85 million and that Tesla shut its showrooms, service centers and supercharging facilities.

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“Tesla is violating my rights every day by selling their vehicles in China,” Zhan said in an interview on the day he filed the lawsuit. “I want them to say sorry.”

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The lawsuit was filed in spite of the fact that Chinese regulators have already sided with Tesla, saying Baosheng’s claims were invalid. He’s appealing the rulings. He filed the initial trademarks in 2006 and then added more in 2009, including a logo.

The automaker had been negotiating with Baosheng, but the talks fell apart earlier this year. Tesla offered $50,000 to buy the trademark, Zhan said. The offer was raised sixfold, according to Bloomberg News.

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3 Responses to “Tesla Trying to Recover Wrecked Model S”

  1. Jorge says:

    It’s common knowledge that these batteries will catch fire when they are short circuited as can happen in a crash. Pretending that a bottom shield is going to protect this large battery pack in an accident is pretty naïve. The fact that this car split in half from impact with a telephone pole should be of considerable concern also.

    Then we have the Tesla driver crashing into the rear of a Toyota on an expressway. Seriously does anyone see a real issue with the lack of driving skills to get a license in the U.S. ????? No matter how well engineered a car is, it can’t protect you from an idiot behind the wheel.

  2. EAJ says:

    Agree on the common knowledge of this and many “batteries” of this size. Having worked in the battery industry for a time I’ve seen many “batteries” explode, catch fire due to internal and external shorts. The more cells in the “battery”, the larger the “battery” the more susceptible it is to explosion.

    The vehicle breaking in half, can see that as well. If a vehicle slides into a telephone pole or most any kind of barrier sideways at high rate of speed it’ll crack like an egg.

    Agree about the lack of driving skill? Most be a lot of licenses floating around in cereal and cracker jack boxes.

  3. Slarty says:

    Its true a sideways impact on a narrow pole or tree may often cut any car in two, the narrower the object the higher the stress as stress=Force/Area.
    As for the fires the battery packs are compartmentalised as could be seen in the videos of the accident, their separation is probably advantageous. You end up with a number of small fires scattered about that start after a delay as the shorts push the thermal level up, a delay you can take advantage off.
    In a gas car if the tank splits the burning fuel ignites and if you get covered in in or it vaporises around you in the moment of the crash their is little chance of any delay to get away.
    On balance Id take the EV.


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