Tesla accused an investor betting that its stock will fall of ginning up concerns about a safety defect that could plague about half a million of the company’s electric cars.
Elon Musk’s high-tech automaker denied that its vehicles suffer from an “unintended acceleration” defect at the heart of a recent petition demanding a federal probe into the alleged problem.
“This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller,” the company said in a Monday statement.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed Friday that it’s reviewing the petition outlining the alleged defect that could affect roughly 500,000 Teslas.
The petition from Brian Sparks an independent investor who’s currently shorting Tesla’s stock, according to CNBC cited 127 complaints about the acceleration problem, including more than 100 crashes and dozens of injuries, according to the feds.
“I believe Tesla vehicles have a structural flaw which puts their drivers and the public at risk,” Sparks wrote in his initial Sept. 30 petition, which urges NHTSA to recall all Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles made since 2013.
But Tesla said it has found its cars operated as they were supposed to in every case of alleged unintentional acceleration for which the company had the vehicle’s data.
“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,” the company said in its statement.
Tesla has already reviewed most of the cases mentioned in Sparks’s petition with NHTSA, and “the data proved the vehicle functioned properly” in each one, the company said.
NHTSA said it will review the petition and relevant data carefully in accordance with its “standard practice.” The agency’s Office of Defects Investigation will open a probe of the alleged problem if it decides to grant the petition, officials have said.
The safety concerns have not weighed heavily on Tesla’s stock price, which has more than doubled since October. The company’s shares were up 1.3 percent at $517.50 in premarket trading as of 7:57 a.m. Tuesday after closing down 0.5 percent Friday.
Source: New York Post