In a few days marked by turmoil, Tesla has finally addressed the “unintended acceleration” issue, reported by several news sources & large media. Even though we’ve been flooded by rumors that Tesla is under investigation by NHTSA due to unintended acceleration cases, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, it seems. While the media reporting this caused a lot of panic (as there would be around 500,000 cars under review if this was true), the NHTSA informed the public that it received a petition to investigate unintended acceleration. The agency has yet to decide if that will be the case or not.
To clarify things even further, Tesla released an official statement about the matter on their blog, hopefully resolving the matter for good.
This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller. We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and in every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed. In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver told it to do so, and it slows or stops when the driver applies the brake.
While accidents caused by a mistaken press of the accelerator pedal have been alleged for nearly every make/model of vehicle on the road, the accelerator pedals in Model S, X and 3 vehicles have two independent position sensors, and if there is any error, the system defaults to cut off motor torque. Likewise, applying the brake pedal simultaneously with the accelerator pedal will override the accelerator pedal input and cut off motor torque, and regardless of the torque, sustained braking will stop the car. Unique to Tesla, we also use the Autopilot sensor suite to help distinguish potential pedal misapplications and cut torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we’re confident the driver’s input was unintentional. Each system is independent and records data, so we can examine exactly what happened.
We are transparent with NHTSA, and routinely review customer complaints of unintended acceleration with them. Over the past several years, we discussed with NHTSA the majority of the complaints alleged in the petition. In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly.
While everyone and their mother are trying to bash Tesla these days, it seems that none of this was actually true. However, it just shows us how volatile the automotive market really is and what some people are capable of resorting to when it comes to their own personal gain, whatever the general cost may be here. Certainly, we all gotta be vary about the news that bash one company or the other, but all of this just shows how much Tesla is actually disrupting the market these days. And overall, it’s fun to see what lengths some deceitful individuals will go to in order to make their mark on the automotive world.