Tesla claims automatic car door ripped off by truck was caused by owner

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A disgruntled Australian Tesla owner has hit out at the company for an incident that happened with his car. Dr Sam Kovac claims the car's nearside door opened by itself directly into oncoming traffic – causing it to be ripped off by a passing truck. However, Tesla says the incident was the owner's fault.

Dr Kovac says both himself and the car's keyfob were 25 metres away from the car, in the veterinary clinic where he works. CCTV cameras caught the moment that the car's doors opened and a passing truck slammed into the driver's door, tearing it clean off.


"At about 2:30pm... a nurse tapped me on the shoulder that something disastrously wrong had happened to my pride and joy," Dr Kovac told CarAdvice, an Australian car buying advice service. "I walked out to the Princes Highway to find my front door completely torn off on the driver's side.

"I met with a shaky truck driver who said that he was petrified as the Model X door opened into his truck and he thought he had killed the driver."

After having the Tesla recovered to a repair centre, Dr Kovac contacted the company for an explanation. He wasn't happy to hear that the company blames him for the incident.

Tesla told CarAdvice that the door opened due to a button on the key fob being pressed, and not any fault with the vehicle. Tesla doors can be operated via the key, with a double press causing them to open automatically. The company claims its logs show this press occurred.

It also says Dr Kovac's story has changed, and he first admitted to having pressed the button himself.

"During our conversations with the customer, he not only made it clear to us that he understands how the doors function, but that he indeed pressed the key fob multiple times, causing the front driver and passenger doors to open. We're glad that no one was harmed in this incident," the Tesla representative said.