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Documents Show Regulators Disagree with Tesla’s Model 3 Safety Claims

The New York Observer reports that Tesla has “claimed that its affordable Model 3 is the ‘safest car ever built.’” In a company blog post, Tesla “said ‘not only has Model 3 achieved a perfect five-star safety rating in every category and sub-category’ of the…National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s rating scale,” but NHTSA’s “tests also show that it has the lowest probability of injury of all cars the safety agency has ever tested.” However, according to the Observer, “a new document shows that the NHTSA never quite approved of how Tesla has been referencing the agency in regard to its Model 3 safety claims.” The document, obtained through a FOIA request by Plainsite, “revealed that the NHTSA sent Tesla a cease-and-desist letter last year ordering Tesla to stop advertising the Model 3 as the safest car tested by the agency.”

Jalopnik says that Reuters reported that Tesla is “defending its safety claims.” Reuters reported that when “asked for comment, Tesla pointed to its response to the earlier letter, in which it said its claims were based on NHTSA’s own data.” Jalopnik adds that Bloomberg reported that “Tesla may face additional scrutiny over its safety claims, seemingly specifically about the Autopilot driver-assist system” Bloomberg reported that although NHTSA “doesn’t have an active defect probe into Tesla,” it “declined to comment directly on whether it will, saying in an emailed statement that it’s ‘committed to rigorous and appropriate safety oversight of the industry and encourages any potential safety issue be reported to NHTSA.’” Bloomberg added that Tesla said in an emailed statement, “Any regulator like NHTSA would be interested in new vehicle technologies and how they make our highways safer. … We routinely share information with the agency while also balancing the need to protect customer privacy.”

Lawsuit claims thousands of Tesla owners lost battery capacity after software update Reuters reports David Rasmussen, the owner of a 2014 Tesla Model S 85, filed a lawsuit in Northern California federal court, “claiming the company limited the battery range of older vehicles via a software update to avoid a costly recall to fix what plaintiffs allege are defective batteries.” The plaintiff “alleges fraud and seeks class-action status for the potentially ‘thousands’ of such Model S and X owners around the world who have seen the range of their older-generation batteries suddenly curtailed, some by as much as 40 miles (64 km).” Rasmussen’s lawsuit also “points to a recent spate of Tesla battery fires, and claims that instead of informing its customers about a potential fire risk, the company ‘chose to go behind the backs of its customers and use software updates and throttling of the battery to avoid liability.’”

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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