Federals investigate possible security problem in 500,000 Teslas

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Federals are examining a reported security problem in approximately 500,000 Tesla cars that allegedly caused dozens of injuries.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is reviewing a petition calling for a formal investigation of the problem of “unintentional sudden acceleration” in Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, the agency said Friday.

The petition filed on December 19 cited 127 consumer complaints involving 123 unique vehicles, including 110 crashes and 52 injuries, according to NHTSA.

The problem affects Tesla Model S cars from the 2012 to 2019 model years, the Model X from 2016 to 2019 and the Model 3 sedans from 2018 to 2019, the agency said.

The Office of Defects Investigation of the NHTSA will evaluate the accusations of the petition and will open an investigation if granted, according to officials.

Tesla shares were trading down 0.2 percent to $ 512.29 as of 10:15 a.m. on Friday after the news. The electric car manufacturer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reported acceleration problem is only Tesla’s latest security issue to attract the federal scrutiny.

Elon Musk during a delivery event of Tesla Model 3 cars made in China.
Elon Musk during a delivery event of Tesla Model 3 cars made in China.REUTERS

NHTSA launched a similar review in October on whether Tesla should have recalled some 2,000 vehicles with a potential defect that could have caused battery fires. Tesla issued a software update as of May 2019 to address the problem, but one petitioner said the company should have told officials about it and made a security withdrawal, NHTSA said.

The agency has initiated investigations of 14 accidents involving the driver assistance tool “Autopilot” of Tesla, which helps cars accelerate, brake and turn in their lanes. The most recent, announced this month, will examine a fatal collision on December 29 in which a Model 3 crashed into a fire truck stationed in Indiana.

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