Report: Tesla Whistleblower Leaks Internal Safety Files on Disturbing Incidents Like ‘Phantom Braking’

Tesla Motors, Inc. CEO Elon Musk speaks at the Paris Pantheon Sorbonne University as part
AP Photo/Francois Mori

A massive leak of alleged internal files from Elon Musk’s Tesla has revealed over 1,000 accident reports concerning phantom braking or unintended acceleration, with a disturbing trend of the company dismissing customer complaints about dangerous Autopilot glitches.

Jalopnik reports that over 1,000 accident reports involving phantom braking or unintended acceleration have been revealed in a massive leak of internal Tesla documents, and a troubling pattern of the company ignoring customer complaints about risky Autopilot bugs has been discovered.

Tesla burning in California

Tesla burning in California (KCRA/YouTube)

California Tesla Crash

California Tesla Crash (Contra Costa County Fire Protection District via AP)

German news outlet Handelsblatt acquired the files from an unnamed source, weighing in at a huge 100 gigabytes. The Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology verified the documents and discovered no indications of data manipulation or fabrication.

Customers from the United States and Europe told Handelsblatt that Tesla wasn’t really interested in resolving their problems but instead appeared more keen on defending the business. It appears that this was actually an existing policy at Tesla. Handelsblatt wrote:

For each incident there are bullet points for the “technical review”. The employees who enter this review into the system regularly make it clear that the report is “for internal use only”. Each entry also contains a note in bold type that information, if at all, may only be passed on “VERBALLY to the customer”.

“Do not copy and paste the report below into an email, text message, or leave it in a voicemail to the customer,” it said. Vehicle data should also not be released without permission. If, despite the advice, “an involvement of a lawyer cannot be prevented”, this must be recorded.

Customers that Handelsblatt spoke to have the impression that Tesla employees avoid written communication. “They never sent emails, everything was always verbal,” says the doctor from California, whose Tesla said it accelerated on its own in the fall of 2021 and crashed into two concrete pillars.

The data breach exposed more than 2,400 complaints about self-acceleration and more than 1,500 problems with braking functions, including 383 reports of phantom braking brought on by false collision warnings and 139 instances of unintentional emergency braking. The majority of these incidents were reported in the United States, but there were also complaints from Asia and Europe, including many from German Tesla drivers.

The report noted that despite growing concerns, Tesla consistently failed to address reports of dangerous issues with the vehicles. Some customers became so frustrated with Tesla that they decided to sell their cars or made an attempt to give them back to the company, claiming that they had a moral obligation to return the car alone due to safety concerns.

Breitbart News recently reported on another epic failure of customer service by Musk’s company. A California man whose Tesla was left a charred mess by a battery fire was invited by the car company to bring it in to a service center. The owner responded, “How in the world am I going to do that?”

Read more at Jalopnik here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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