Tesla has spoken up against the NHTSA petition claiming that Teslas accelerate on their own: “This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller.”
Kindly find updates below.
This means that Tesla claims the complaints have been conjured by someone whose interests lie in the devaluing of Tesla shares – i.e. selling borrowed shares when the price is high, and repurchasing them for a profit when the price sinks – in this case, due to deliberate manipulation.
The Californian electric car pioneer claims to have investigated every incident “and in every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed”.
In their statement, Tesla said, “We are transparent with NHTSA, and routinely review customer complaints of unintended acceleration with them.” What remains to be seen is what the NHTSA makes of it all.
Update 11 January 2021: Indeed, the NHTSA has confirmed what Tesla had said all along. The US authority found no evidence of technical faults in Tesla cars during their extensive investigation that lasted almost a year. Rather, the unintended accelerations had been “pedal misapplication” – user error, in other words.
The NHTSA went on stating “There is no evidence of any fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that has contributed to any of the cited incidents,” and also ruled out “a design factor contributing to increased likelihood of pedal misapplication.”
Ultimately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration denied the petition brought by Brian Sparks, an investor who was indeed shorting Tesla stock.
In a message to The Verge on Friday, Sparks said he would believe the NHTSA when it said there was no defect.
The NHTSA had received 246 complaints about this “sudden unintended acceleration” phenomenon. They collected crash data and video from cars’ data recorders and from Tesla itself, but the agency did not specify how many cases it collected. The issue was thought to affect some 662,000 vehicles across Tesla’s lineup.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.
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