Tesla rejects claims its cars can accelerate on their own

Tesla Model X

Tesla is disputing claims made by a California man that all three models of the company’s cars can suddenly accelerate on their own without the driver touching the accelerator pedal.

Tesla stated on Monday it checks when drivers report that their car accelerated on its own, and in all cases where the company has the car’s data, it drove as designed.

The company also said the man who submitted a petition with federal safety officials is a short-seller of Tesla shares, referring to investors who borrow shares in a company’s stock and attempt to profit by replacing them after the share price drops.

On Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated it would look into a petition filed by Brian Sparks of Berkeley, California, and decide whether to start an official investigation. Sparks’ allegations cover about 500,000 Teslas, including Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicles in model years 2013 through 2019.

Sparks stated Tesla owners have lodged 127 complaints with the government, which concerned 110 crashes and 52 injuries.

Tesla, which did not reply when asked for comment on Friday, published a statement Monday saying its electric cars do not accelerate on their own.

The company referred to the petition as “completely false,” and that “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”.

Sparks added in his 69-page petition that many of the Tesla accidents occurred during parking, that the complaint rate was much higher compared to the other vehicles, and that Tesla declined to share the car’s data with owners after incidents.

The highway agency has yet to confirm the complaints. The people who submitted complaints were not identified in the agency’s database.

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