Of Sergei Klebnikov
Billionaire Elon Musk saw his fortune fall on Monday as Tesla shares fell after reports that two people riding in a Tesla died in a car crash.
Tesla shares fell 3,8% on Monday, reducing Musk's fortune by $ 5,6 billion. Forbes estimates his fortune now stands at $ 171,1 billion.
Tesla CEO and co-founder is the third richest person in the world after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose fortune is $ 195,9 billion and tycoon Bernard Arno, whose fortune is $ 180,3 billion .
It is recalled that yesterday Monday the share of Tesla fell amid reports that two men died when their car, a Tesla Model S 2019, fell on a tree in Houston on Saturday night. Local authorities said they believed the vehicle was moving without anyone being in the driver's seat. Specifically, one passenger was sitting in the front passenger seat and the other in the back seat. The vehicle had developed high speed until it went off the road, fell on a tree and caught fire. Local authorities also said it took firefighters four hours to put out the blaze, adding that they had contacted Tesla for further assistance.
While electric vehicles are not necessarily considered more dangerous than gas-powered vehicles, high-voltage lithium batteries, such as those used at Tesla, can ignite even after a fire has been extinguished.
Elon Musk, however, wrote on twitter that the operation of the autopilot, Autopilot, had nothing to do with the accident. The data recovered show that Autopilot was not activated and that the car did not have the fully automated system.
This accident raises other questions about the operation of the Tesla autopilot. Authorities are still unsure if his operation was active during the crash that killed the two men, aged 59 and 69.
However, the company's semi-automatic driving system has undergone tests following a series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles in recent months.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last month that it had launched more than a dozen investigations into Tesla car accidents.
The company did not make any official statement after the accident. Both the company and its billionaire CEO have repeatedly defended their vehicles and their ability to operate Autopilot. It is recalled that Elon Musk on the occasion of the accident wrote on Saturday on his twitter that a vehicle with Autopilot is ten times less likely to be involved in an accident than an average car.