In response to a petition to the NHTSA complaining about “sudden unexpected acceleration” in a variety of Tesla models and model years, Tesla issued a forceful statement today claiming that the allegations are “completely false.” Tesla opened its statement by identifying the petitioner as a “Tesla short-seller;” on Friday, CNBC reported that the petition was brought by Brian Sparks, an independent investor who “is currently shorting Tesla stock.”
“We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input,” Tesla says. “In every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed.”
Tesla has had a long and contentious relationship with government regulators, including the NHTSA and NTSB. But in today’s statement, Tesla says that it is “transparent with the NHTSA, and routinely [reviews] customer complaints of unintended acceleration with them.” The company says it has discussed a majority of complaints alleged in the petition with regulators, and found that “the data proved the vehicle functioned properly.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long railed against short sellers, claiming they spread lies about his company and are being funded by oil companies. As he once told The New York Times, he believes short sellers are “desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction.” Musk’s attempt to take his company private to defend against short sellers resulted in him being sued by the SEC.
The NHTSA said it would review the petition as part of its “standard practice in such matters.”