NHTSA clears Tesla in probe over claims of unintended acceleration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it will not conduct a formal review of more than 600,000 Tesla vehicles over claims of sudden unintended acceleration.

Early last year the NHTSA announced it had received a petition requesting an investigation into ‘unintended acceleration’ in Tesla vehicles. It was later discovered that the petition was filed by Brian Sparks, someone who is a Tesla stock (TSLA) short-seller and has a vested interest in the stock price going down.

The investigation, which would have involved every single Tesla vehicle produced since 2012 (2012-2019 Model S, 2016-2019 Model X, and 2018-2019 Model 3), will not go ahead after they found “no evidence of fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that contributed to the cited incidents.”

Instead the agency says the reported incidents were the result of “pedal misapplication.”

“After reviewing the available data, ODI has not identified evidence that would support opening a defect investigation into SUA in the subject vehicles. In every instance in which event data was available for review by ODI, the evidence shows that SUA crashes in the complaints cited by the petitioner have been caused by pedal misapplication. 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. There is no evidence of a design factor contributing to increased likelihood of pedal misapplication. The theory provided of a potential electronic cause of SUA in the subject vehicles is based upon inaccurate assumptions about system design and log data.”

That is exactly what Tesla said was the cause. In a statement last year, the automaker said that after analyzing the data from the vehicles in question, they were operating as designed.

“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.”

h/t: Sawyer Merritt

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