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Tesla Gives Owners Easy Access to Crash Data

Following a spate of highly publicized Tesla crashes, Tesla has decided to give owners easy access to data gathered by their vehicles during an accident.

A recent demonstration by a Tesla owner in China during the Shanghai Auto Show has taken the media by storm.

The ordeal started when a Tesla owner crashed her Model 3 and claimed the accident occurred due to brake failure. The owner then proceeded to to ask Tesla for a refund.

Tesla on the other hand claims the cause of the accident is reckless driving on the driver’s part and if the owner wants a refund she should submit to have the wrecked vehicle analyzed by a third party to ascertain the cause of the accident.

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The owner dissatisfied with Tesla’s response proceeded to take her complaint to Tesla’s booth at the Shanghai Auto Show and let her dissatisfaction out by standing on a Model 3.

This led to the owner being arrested and negative media coverage for Tesla. Tesla’s handling of the customer’s complaint was also criticized by China’s Communist Party and state media prompting the company to issue a “deep apology”.

However, today Tesla also shared publicly crucial data showing what happened minutes before the China accident seemingly exonerating the EV maker.

Tesla Model 3

This, however, is just one of the hundreds of publicized Tesla crashes where an owner claimed the cause of a crash was sudden unintended acceleration or a malfunctioning brake to then be refuted by Tesla showing event data records.

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Now, Tesla seems to be looking to get ahead of the issue by allowing owners better access to the data stored in their vehicle prior, during, and post-crash.

According to a post on Tesla’s website, from here on out, owners will have the opportunity to receive a video recording and a PDF report of the data recorded by their vehicle during an accident.

All Tesla vehicles except the first generation roadster are equipped with an event data recorder (EDR). The EDR records data related to vehicle dynamics and safety systems when the system senses a crash or a crash-like situation, such as hitting a road obstacle.

Tesla Model S

The recorded data could then be used by Tesla and other interested parties to better understand the circumstances which lead to crashes and the potential for injury.

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As for privacy, Tesla states “event data is recorded by your vehicle only when it senses a non-trivial physical occurrence; data is not recorded by the EDR under normal driving conditions.”

In order to access the ERD data post-crash Tesla requires owners to purchase few hardware items and install software to decode data held by the vehicle.

These are a Windows computer (other operating systems are not supported); A PCAN-USB, which is a USB-to-CAN adapter manufactured by Peak System (the appropriate Tesla cable is available at Tesla Retrieval Cables website).

As for software, owners will need to download the device drivers for the PCAN-USB, available from Peak System, and the Tesla EDR Retrieval Program, available at Tesla EDR Retrieval Program.

Tesla gives a step-by-step guide on installing, retrieving, and interpreting the ERD data from a vehicle. If you are interested you can get detailed information at

So what do you think? Should Tesla have begun providing this data even earlier? Or do you think this might cause more issues at the hands of owners without the technical background to fully understand the data? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

For more information check out: Apple ‘Very Near’ To Sign A Deal With Tesla Battery Supplier To Build An EV Also, see Tesla Giga Berlin Could Be Significantly Smaller Than Planned

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.


Greg speth (not verified)    April 23, 2021 - 3:37PM

Every car should have . An EDR , available to police, both people involved in an accident/crash !!! And a dash camera