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Tesla denies cars will ‘spontaneously accelerate’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Getty Images

Tesla has responded to allegations that some of its cars experienced "unintended acceleration", claiming they are part of a ploy to manipulate the company's stock price.

The safety allegations were made in a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The petition called for the agency to investigate and recall 500,000 Tesla vehicles as a result of the concerns.

It stated: "Tesla vehicles experience unintended acceleration at rates far exceeding other cars on the roads."

Vehicles accused of the safety glitch include the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X and Tesla Model 3. The petition was filed by Brian Sparks from Berkeley, California, who Tesla claims is a short-selling trader seeking to profit by spreading rumours in order to force down the company's share price.

"This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller," Tesla responded in a statement.

"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."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has consistently criticised short-sellers for attempting to cash in when the electric car maker's stock price decreases.

The petition cited "127 consumer complaints to NHTSA involving 123 unique vehicles," which allegedly resulted in 110 crashes and 52 injuries.

Complaints included incidents of Tesla cars suddenly accelerating while parking or in traffic, according to the petition.

"I was trying to park my vehicle in a parking spot in Santa Clara, Califronia, when the car automatically accelerated and hit another car," a complaint filed with the NHTSA in October 2019 stated.

"It then immediately had a flat tyre. I did not hit the wrong pedal, nor was I accelerating it. It was quite dangerous."

A separate complaint cited in the petition stated: "While driving 65-70mph for 30 minutes with the auto pilot engaged, the vehicle [2016 Tesla Model S] spontaneously accelerated without warning. The [car] crashed into the rear of a 2015 Toyota Prius."

The complaints are yet to be verified by the highway agency and the people who filed the complaints were not named in the partially-redacted petition. Mr Sparks did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

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