Tesla Blames Greedy Short-Seller For Latest Controversy

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According to Tesla, the petition calling for an investigation into 500,000 Tesla vehicles is unfounded.

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has responded to the news that half-a-million of its Model S, Model X, and Model 3 EVs could be formally investigated by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for alleged "unintended acceleration," saying the accusations are "completely false."

According to the California-based carmaker, the petition was brought forth by a short-seller - that is, someone betting on a drop in share valuation on the stock market. Tesla has attracted plenty of short-sellers since going public, as a number of pundits argue that the company's share value is far higher than is warranted by its business performance.

2017-2019 Tesla Model S Front View Driving Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model S Rear View Driving Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model S Top View Tesla

"Over the past several years, we discussed with NHTSA the majority of the complaints alleged in the petition," Tesla remarked in a blog post. "In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly."

The blog post even went so far as to delve into the design of Tesla's accelerator logic circuit, making clear the level of redundancy in place to prevent any unintended acceleration. This includes two independent accelerator pedal position sensors whose values are checked against one another, and the use of Autopilot sensor data "to help distinguish potential pedal misapplications and cut torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we're confident the driver's input was unintentional."

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2016-2019 Tesla Model X Front View Driving Tesla
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2016-2019 Tesla Model X Front View Driving Tesla

Tesla's alleged unintended acceleration issues have been accused of contributing to a total of 110 crashes and 52 injuries. NHTSA's investigation, if launched in full, would cover 500,000 US-market Tesla Model S sedans, Model X crossovers, and Model 3 sedans produced since 2012.

The potential for a formal NHTSA investigation into unintended acceleration is just the latest safety scandal to rock the automaker. Earlier in the month, NHTSA announced that it would investigate yet another crash that the agency believes Autopilot may have contributed to, bringing the tally of Autopilot-related crashes being investigated up to fourteen.

2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Front View Driving Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Side View Driving Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Front View Driving Tesla

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