— A Tesla unintended acceleration petition filed by a Tesla short-seller is allegedly false and based on incidents that Tesla's data shows weren't caused by the vehicles.
The Tesla unintended acceleration petition was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requesting a recall of about 500,000 vehicles. However, NHTSA's responsibility is to evaluate the petition to determine if a formal investigation should be opened by the government.
In the petition, Tesla short-seller Brian Sparks, of Berkeley, California, claims owners have filed unintended acceleration complaints about 123 Tesla vehicles, incidents that allegedly caused 110 crashes and 52 injuries.
According to the petition, 2012-2019 Tesla Model S, 2016-2019 Tesla Model X and 2018-2019 Tesla Model 3 vehicles may be defective.
But although the unintended acceleration petition references more than 100 complaints, Tesla claims complaints of unintended acceleration are routinely reviewed with NHTSA.
"Over the past several years, we discussed with NHTSA the majority of the complaints alleged in the petition. In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly."
The automaker says every unintended acceleration incident is investigated, but every event where data existed allegedly confirmed the vehicle 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."
According to Tesla, the models named in the petition are equipped with two independent position sensors, and the system defaults to cut off the motor torque if there are any errors. In addition, applying the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal at the same time allegedly overrides the accelerator pedal input.
Tesla also says the Autopilot sensor suite "helps distinguish potential pedal misapplications and cuts torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we’re confident the driver’s input was unintentional. Each system is independent and records data, so we can examine exactly what happened."
CarComplaints.com will update our website with NHTSA's decision about the Tesla unintended acceleration petition.