Tesla Defends Safety Claims
Tesla Inc. insists its Model 3 electric car is the safest vehicle ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a statement challenged by the agency itself.
Bloomberg News reported yesterday that NHTSA had sent Tesla a cease-and-desist letter in October for making “misleading” statements about the agency’s five-star safety ratings.
The letter says Tesla ignores differences in vehicle weights that make comparisons impossible. The letter rejects as “inaccurate” the company’s claims that the Model 3 (pictured) has the “lowest probability of injury of all cars,” that Model 3 occupants are “less likely to get seriously hurt” or that they “have the best chance of avoiding a serious injury.”
The letter also notes that NHTSA had admonished Tesla for making similar misleading claims about its Model S sedan six years ago. Such claims give the carmaker an unfair market advantage, according to the agency, which last year referred the issue to the Federal Trade Commission.
Federal investigators are looking into another crash involving a Tesla Model S electric sedan that was operating in semi-autonomous mode.
In-car video shows that the backup pilot of an Uber Technologies self-driving car was not watching the road just before the vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian last Sunday night.
The autonomous driving system in an Uber test car failed to identify a pedestrian or brake to avoid striking and killing her in Arizona two months ago, says the National Transportation Safety Board.