Bergen and the « crazy taxi » case

A taxi got in a crazy ride in a popular area of Bergen during the night of the 13th of May, destroying private and public places on the way, to finish crashing into a small shop in the town’s main square. Luckily, no one else than the driver was injured as it happened after the heavy Saturday crowd had left for home.

As a French person, when you hear about a car driving very fast in a hugely crowded area, you immediately think about a terrorist attack. Here in Norway, what people talked about immediately after hearing the news, was if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We’re so many worlds away about jumping to these conclusions that it always makes me realize how different that part of Europe is, despite its own attacks and terrors. It’s just not your first thought.

For the video, click here.

The taxi driver, quite seriously injured and in shock, was charged with negligent driving by the police who is still following on the investigation and didn’t reveal any relevant information to the local media since then. You can see that he consciously avoided people and preferred to drive towards poles than risking to injure anyone. That doesn’t scream bad driver to me, at least.

Another theory, and what the driver has been claiming, is that there was a vehicle malfunction. The car is a Tesla Model Y, which according to that car specialized website has an automated parking feature. In case of malfunction, it can cause a sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) which is amplified by the fact that the braking pedal becomes unresponsive, so they might be accelerating while thinking they’re trying to brake. It is apparently a quite spread malfunction affecting those types of vehicles. But only a thorough investigation can shed some light on what actually happened.

A Tesla car.
Image by thepassenger on Pixabay.

If you live in France, you might wonder why the hell would a taxi drive an automated electric car. Well, in Norway, electric cars are widely used. In fact, the share of battery-electric vehicles sold rose to 79.3% of all new cars in 2022, up 2.9% from ten years ago, according to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). And the most popular car last year was… the Tesla Model Y.

Electric cars are the norm in Norway because of a tax deduction when you buy one, and also because of widespread parking and charging options for those. You don’t have to drive for hours before finding a station to charge up your car, even the most remote or less populated villages have those stations. Tesla also doesn’t pay sales tax in Norway, so that’s why it became quite affordable compared to other countries. If you buy a fuel car, there is the import tax and the sales tax to add to the selling price, without counting the price of maintenance and oil. It’s easy maths!

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