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Tesla fires back at ‘unintended acceleration’ probe

Tesla has responded strongly to claims that its electric vehicles are experiencing issues with “unintended acceleration” following the appearance of an online petition.

The car pioneer says the petition, which claims 127 incidents due to the alleged defect, was started by someone who stands to gain from the company’s stock price being affected.

In a blog post entitled “There is no ‘unintended acceleration’ in Tesla vehicles,” Tesla fired back at the alleged short seller, who could conceivably profit from such a revelation.

The blog post reads: “This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller. We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and in every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed. In other words, 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.”

The petition is potentially damaging to Tesla, especially given the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United State announced it is looking into the claims of ‘sudden unintended acceleration’, which is defined as the cars speeding up without the driver manually pressing the accelerator (via Electrek).

Related: Tesla Autopilot in Europe latest

The petition cites 123 unique vehicles, referencing 110 crashes and 52 injuries. The (NHTSA) says the complaints come from drivers in “model year 2012 through 2019 Tesla Model S, MY 2016 through 2019 Tesla Model X, and MY 2018 through 2019 Tesla Model 3 vehicles.”

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of this complaint, over the years, but Tesla has responded to each driver by alleging they’ve mistakenly applied extra force to the pedal. Within today’s blog post, the company explains it has a failsafe should drivers accidentally press the gas.

The firm adds: “While accidents caused by a mistaken press of the accelerator pedal have been alleged for nearly every make/model of vehicle on the road, the accelerator pedals in Model S, X, and 3 vehicles have two independent position sensors, and if there is any error, the system defaults to cut off motor torque. Likewise, applying the brake pedal simultaneously with the accelerator pedal will override the accelerator pedal input and cut off motor torque, and regardless of the torque, sustained braking will stop the car. Unique to Tesla, we also use the Autopilot sensor suite to help distinguish potential pedal misapplications and cut torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we’re confident the driver’s input was unintentional. Each system is independent and records data, so we can examine exactly what happened.”

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