Listent to this article Whistleblower Leaks 100 Gigabytes of Tesla Confidential Information to German News Site
A recent investigation by German news outlet Handelsblatt has uncovered alarming information regarding Tesla’s handling of customer complaints related to Autopilot malfunctions. The publication meticulously analyzed over 23,000 internal files from Tesla, shedding light on a concerning pattern of negligence and disregard for customer safety.
Leaked Files Confirm Authenticity and Tesla’s Attempts to Suppress
Handelsblatt obtained the leaked data from an anonymous informant and collaborated with the esteemed Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology to authenticate its integrity. No evidence of tampering or fabrication was found. Despite Tesla’s efforts to prevent the publication from utilizing the leaked data, Handelsblatt justified their reporting under European Union law due to the extraordinary circumstances presented by the data breach.
Disturbing Trends in Autopilot Complaints
The Tesla files contain a multitude of distressing complaints regarding the Autopilot system. More than 2,400 instances of self-acceleration complaints and over 1,500 braking function issues were recorded. Among them, 139 cases involved unintentional emergency braking, while 383 reported false collision warnings leading to phantom stops. Shockingly, the documents documented over 1,000 crashes. A comprehensive table encompassing incidents with driver assistance systems revealed a staggering 3,000 entries expressing safety concerns.
Lack of Assistance and Company Cover-up: Handelsblatt reached out to numerous Tesla customers in the United States, Europe, and Asia, all of whom confirmed the information disclosed in the leaked files. Customers expressed dissatisfaction with Tesla’s response to their concerns, highlighting a lack of assistance and an apparent focus on protecting the company’s image. Many customers claimed that written communication with Tesla was discouraged, and instead, verbal communication was preferred to avoid creating a paper trail.
Tesla’s Communication Guidelines
Minimizing Liability at the Expense of Customers: The leaked files revealed Tesla’s explicit guidelines for employee-customer communication. These guidelines prioritized minimizing potential liability and avoiding written documentation.
Tesla’s guidelines for employee-customer communication in the leaked files explicitly marked incident reports as “for internal use only.” The instructions strictly forbade the copy-pasting of information into emails, text messages, or voicemails. Releasing vehicle data necessitated customer consent, and any legal involvement had to be documented.
Customer consent was required for the release of vehicle data, and any legal involvement had to be recorded.
Tesla’s Evasive Response and Customer Discontent
Throughout the investigation, Tesla consistently declined to address customer allegations or respond to inquiries from Handelsblatt. Frustrated customers shared their experiences, with some opting to sell or return their Teslas due to safety concerns. They expressed their reluctance to expose others to potential dangers associated with the vehicles.
Elon Musk and Tesla faced numerous challenges in 2022, and this year seems no different. Recent revelations, including a 2016 video likely staged with Musk’s involvement, add to the company’s woes. With multiple lawsuits pending and increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Justice, Tesla’s practices regarding Autopilot safety are under intensified scrutiny.