The driver said he kept one foot on the brake, hoping it would eventually work to stop the vehicle.
An accident that killed two people and injured three others has made Tesla a talking point in China in the past few days.
Local media outlet Dahe Daily managed to get an interview with the driver, getting his voice heard for the first time.
As background, the man was driving a Tesla vehicle in Chaozhou, Guangdong province in southern China, when the vehicle accelerated and traveled 2 kilometers out of control before hitting a tricycle and coming to a stop, according to multiple local media reports over the weekend.
The driver's family previously said he tried to brake but found the pedal too hard, and then the vehicle didn't stop even when the P gear button was pressed.
Tesla said that back-end data showed that the vehicle's accelerator pedal was depressed deeply for an extended period of time and remained at 100 percent at one point, with the driver making no move to apply the brakes the entire time.
Here is a translated version of the interview text released by Dahe Daily.
Q: Did you make any phone calls and were you conscious at the time of the accident?
A: I was not answering my phone and was conscious.
Q: What happened when you arrived at your store and parked?
A: When I arrived at the store, I released my foot from the accelerator pedal and put it on the brake pedal. Under normal circumstances, the Tesla has an energy recovery feature and the car stops by itself. That day (November 5) I felt the car was different, it didn't stop, so I started to apply the brake.
Under the first time I stepped on it, it felt like the brake pedal was hard. I used to drive a big truck, and when the brakes didn't work, I stepped on them twice more, when it still didn't work, and the vehicle was very slow at that time.
I was feeling that the vehicle was functioning abnormally, so I pressed the park gear button, and at this time the vehicle automatically accelerated forward.
It suddenly accelerated out on its own, and I stepped on the brake as hard as I could. At that time, there were already people on the road, and there was a motorcycle in front of me, so I instinctively turned the steering wheel.
Q: What happened after that?
A: By this time, I already felt that I could not control the vehicle.
I used to drive a big truck and I knew what to do when I couldn't brake on a downhill. I quickly had an idea to find an obstacle to stop the vehicle.
While I was thinking about this, the car was already going over 100 km per hour. At that time my eyes could only focus on the road, there were pedestrians and cars on the road, so I tried to avoid these vehicles and pedestrians.
I kept one foot on the brake and kept wondering again if the brake would suddenly start to work and if I could get the vehicle to stop.
As far as finding obstacles to bring the vehicle to a stop, my reflexes can no longer keep up with the speed of this car. There were vehicles and people on the road to avoid, and I was trying to avoid as much as I could, and the steering wheel was still usable at this time.
Q: Did you know that you hit someone on the road?
A: Driving at such a speed for 1 km, I had no idea what I hit.
About 2km into the drive, this vehicle hit and stopped.
I was very conscious and didn't think about what would happen to me, I just thought not to involve too many innocent people.
By the time the car reached the spot it stopped, there was no place to get out of the way and the vehicle hit a tricycle.
After a loud bang, I didn't know anything about myself and was unconscious.
After the crash, someone who knew me came together to pry the door open and drag me out of the car.
I woke up in a store, and after seeing familiar people, I asked how the people I hit were doing.
They replied that you don't have to care about how those people are, you just passed out and you need to get to the hospital quickly.
I was quickly taken to the hospital.
That's how it happened.
Q: Did the police ask you to take blood tests and make a statement?
A: I had a blood test at the hospital. The traffic police did ask me to make a statement.
Q: There is a horn sound in the surveillance video, was it you who sounded the horn?
A: I had no way to sound the horn at that time, the horn sound was from another car.
Both of my hands were on the steering wheel, and my right hand had to press the P gear button.
My right foot was on the brake the whole time, stepping on it and then releasing it, then continuing to step on it and then releasing it, all the way.
Q: What is the state of the vehicle's brakes?
A: The free travel of the brake pedal is there, that is, it is hard when you step on it and there is no braking effect.
The pedal is usually soft and works when stepped on gently.
At that time, the brake pedal could be stepped on, but it was hard, that is, there was no braking effect on the vehicle when it was stepped on hard.
Q: Have you ever stepped on the accelerator pedal?
A: Never. I haven't touched the accelerator pedal since I had to stop and put my foot on the brake pedal.
My foot was on the brake pedal the whole time, up to the point where I was about to hit the tricycle.