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NHTSA Investigating 500,000 Teslas over Sudden-Acceleration Complaints

Connor Hoffman
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it is investigating Tesla over an issue with unintended acceleration.
  • Included in the investigation are 2012–2019 Model S, 2016–2019 Model X, and 2018–2019 Model 3 cars; owners have filed numerous complaints that the cars suddenly accelerate out of control.
  • Tesla has not yet issued a response to the announcement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it will investigate around 500,000 Tesla electric vehicles over numerous complaints of unintended sudden acceleration, which has resulted in some crashes.

Models included in the investigation are 2012 through 2019 model year Model S, 2016 through 2019 model year Model X, and 2018 through 2019 model year Tesla Model 3 cars. The investigation opened on January 13, though the initial request for investigation was received via email on December 19, 2019, and stated the subject of the probe as "sudden unintended acceleration" in these cars.

One owner complaint, for instance, said that when pulling into a parking space, the 2019 Model 3 suddenly accelerated over the curb and into a structure, breaking the windshield of the car. The majority of the complaints are centered around parking the electric cars, so it is less likely that Tesla's Autopilot system is the culprit in these acceleration issues.

This isn't the first time an auto manufacturer has been investigated for this kind of issue. Toyota and Lexus vehicles had similar unintended-acceleration issues a decade ago, as well as Audis in the early '90s. C/D even published a guide back in 2009 for drivers who felt they were experiencing unintended acceleration while driving.

C/D has reached out to Tesla, which has not yet issued a response to the announcement of NHTSA’s investigation.

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