Vehicles crashing into bollards, brakes slamming on to keep away from imaginary collisions, and greater than 2,400 complaints of vehicles accelerating out of their proprietor’s management. The 100 gigabytes worth of internal Tesla documents leaked to the German newspaper Handelsblatt current a sobering image of the EV firm’s technical limitations.
The 23,000 recordsdata obtained by Handelsblatt cowl points in Europe, the US, and Asia between 2015 and March 2022, and so they appear to indicate critical flaws in Tesla’s Autopilot know-how. The revelations might see the corporate going through new stress from regulators, who’re more likely to pore over the reviews in search of proof that the corporate has misled authorities or prospects over the security of its automobiles.
The leaks might also reinforce a pervasive concern amongst Tesla buyers and analysts that the corporate has misplaced its manner. Its vaunted self-driving know-how appears a good distance from being secure sufficient for the street, and it may’t appear to maneuver viable new merchandise from the drafting board to the showroom. Tesla hasn’t launched a brand new shopper automobile since 2020, and it’s broadly seen as falling behind other automakers, who’re stepping up their improvement of latest EVs to satisfy surging demand. Half-hidden throughout the rush of revelations is a teaser for a secret report on Tesla’s long-awaited “Cybertruck,” a weirdly angular pickup truck introduced in 2019. It’s unlikely to be excellent news.
“Tesla urgently wants a brand new credibility story,” says Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Centre for Automotive Analysis in Duisburg, Germany.
The content material of the leaked paperwork is surprising, with accounts of near-death experiences by the hands of Tesla Autopilot. However analysts say it’s not surprising.
“For many of us who’ve been masking Tesla for a decade now, this isn’t that stunning, and it’s possible unsurprising for many Tesla prospects too,” says Matthias Schmidt, an impartial automotive analyst in Berlin.
Schmidt says that Tesla has lengthy taken a “transfer quick and break issues” strategy to creating merchandise, resulting in considerations about whether or not its new releases are prepared for the street. There have been 393 recorded deaths involving Teslas, 33 of which concerned Autopilot. Schmidt alleges that Musk “accepts driver dying as a consequence of forwarding know-how.” Musk didn’t reply to a request to remark for this story or deal with Schmidt’s allegation.
It’s typically tough to separate the Tesla model from the character of its CEO. Musk has sometimes disregarded criticism of his merchandise—typically through Twitter, which he acquired for $44 billion final October. However the scale of the German leaks might make it tougher for Musk to promote his model of the story, based on Dudenhöffer.
“He has hundreds of bits of knowledge, of buyer complaints, and on the similar time he tells folks it’s one of the best product on the planet,” Dudenhöffer says, evaluating the controversy to a scandal at Volkswagen within the mid-2010s, when it was found the automaker had been downplaying the environmental impact of its automobiles.
Dudenhöffer lays the blame for Tesla’s mounting troubles on Musk, who divides his time between operating Tesla, his rocket firm SpaceX, and Twitter, which has been in a state of perma-crisis since his takeover final yr. “He mustn’t any longer be the CEO and lead Tesla,” Dudenhöffer says, “as a result of he makes mistake after mistake after mistake.”