Vehicles crashing into bollards, brakes slamming on to keep away from imaginary collisions, and greater than 2,400 complaints of automobiles 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, they usually appear to indicate severe flaws in Tesla’s Autopilot know-how. The revelations may see the corporate dealing with new stress from regulators, who’re more likely to pore over the studies on the lookout for proof that the corporate has misled authorities or prospects over the protection of its automobiles.
The leaks may reinforce a pervasive concern amongst Tesla traders and analysts that the corporate has misplaced its means. Its vaunted self-driving know-how appears a great distance from being secure sufficient for the street, and it will probably’t appear to maneuver viable new merchandise from the drafting board to the showroom. Tesla hasn’t launched a brand new client automobile since 2020, and it’s extensively seen as falling behind other automakers, who’re stepping up their improvement of recent EVs to fulfill surging demand. Half-hidden inside 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 stunning, 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 overlaying Tesla for a decade now, this isn’t that shocking, and it’s possible unsurprising for many Tesla prospects too,” says Matthias Schmidt, an unbiased automotive analyst in Berlin.
Schmidt says that Tesla has lengthy taken a “transfer quick and break issues” method to growing 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 handle Schmidt’s allegation.
It’s usually troublesome to separate the Tesla model from the character of its CEO. Musk has usually dismissed criticism of his merchandise—usually by way of Twitter, which he acquired for $44 billion final October. However the scale of the German leaks may make it more durable for Musk to promote his model of the story, in accordance with Dudenhöffer.
“He has 1000’s of bits of knowledge, of buyer complaints, and on the identical time he tells individuals it’s the perfect product on the earth,” 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 12 months. “He shouldn’t any longer be the CEO and lead Tesla,” Dudenhöffer says, “as a result of he makes mistake after mistake after mistake.”