The first day of China’s Shanghai Auto Show was disrupted Monday by a protester jumping on top of a Tesla and shouting “Tesla brakes fail” before being dragged out by security, according to photos and video posted to social media sites.
The woman can be seen standing on a Tesla Model 3, apparently without her shoes on, as she shouts to the crowd of onlookers. The protester was wearing a custom t-shirt with the Tesla logo and security attempted to block her from public view using umbrellas. Some videos show her batting the umbrellas away and even destroying at least one before she’s taken away by security.
Tesla has come under fire for safety concerns in recent years, with people experiencing issues involving everything from touchscreens to severe battery fires. Tesla’s AutoPilot feature has also come under intense scrutiny for failing to deliver autonomous driving, with the latest potential “self-driving” incident resulting in the death of two people in Texas on Saturday.
It’s not clear if the unidentified protester at the Shanghai Auto Show is a Tesla owner, as she was sometimes identified on social media, or if she was perhaps a relative of someone injured in a Tesla, as she was also sometimes identified on social media. It’s also unclear if the woman protesting on Monday is the same person who staged a protest on top of a Model 3 last month in Henan, China.
An early tweet by a reporter for Chinese state media blurred out the protester’s face, but her face was unaltered in a tweet from the main Twitter account of the Global Times. Twitter is officially banned in China, like other U.S.-based social media sites like Facebook and YouTube but some users in mainland China can get around the block using a VPN.
A female Tesla owner climbed on top of a car’s roof at the Tesla booth to protest her car’s brake malfunction at the Shanghai auto show Monday. The booth beefed up its security after the incident. pic.twitter.com/ct7RmF1agM
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) April 19, 2021
The public spectacle will likely raise questions about Tesla’s presence in China, the largest electric car market in the world. But it’s unlikely to slow production at Tesla’s gigafactory production line with an output of roughly 250,000 cars per year. Things are going so well for Tesla in the country that Elon Musk’s electric car company is reportedly buying 40 more hectares in China.