In the last week, we’ve been seeing waves after a report that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating reports of unintended acceleration of all Tesla vehicles. With Tesla holding such a tight grip on the US electric car market, these reports could have a massive impact on the market as a whole. But with the dust settled now and a response from Tesla we’ll see if these reports hold any weight.

Tesla responds

Tesla denies the allegations of unintended acceleration on their cars entirely. The original petition for an investigation was made by a Tesla short-seller. While he claims he made the petition after a friend of his was unable to get their Tesla serviced after experiencing the problem and getting in an accident, many see this as a clear opportunistic move to try to devalue Tesla stock. 

Tesla’s cars record logs of the vehicle sensor data. They investigate all the reports they get of unintended acceleration. And they claim that in every incident where they had sensor data the car operated as intended.

The acceleration pedal in Tesla cars contains 2 sensors. If one of these sensors malfunctions and they don’t agree, the car won’t accelerate. If the driver is pressing the gas and the brake at the same time, the car won’t accelerate. They also use the autopilot sensors to detect accidental application of the accelerator.

So we can rest easy that these reports aren’t true. Tesla completely denies this allegation, and the source of all of this seems a bit suspect at best.

Third party auditing

But maybe you don’t trust Tesla. You see they obviously have a reason to want to cover this up. You want to see a third party look into these reports.

Well you can be happy to hear that notable Tesla hacker Jason Hughes has weighed in on this debate. Hughes is far from a Tesla fanboy and has a history of calling out Tesla whenever they try to pull anything. But he’s got their back here, elaborating on the safety of the accelerator.

He confirmed what Tesla said about having 2 sensors in the pedals. He went further, explaining how the sensors have different mappings and only work within a specific range. He went so far as to praise Tesla saying, “They should really toot their own horn a bit more in this”. He said the safety aspect of these systems is remarkable, concluding that “if a Tesla accelerates significantly, the pedal was pressed”.

So we can breathe a sigh of relief as all evidence points towards these reports being false. If we see logs confirming these issues in the future we’ll have something to worry about. But with a complete lack of evidence, it doesn’t look like anything is slowing down Tesla’s momentum. 

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