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Wednesday, 07 August 2019 22:11

Tesla’s Model 3 Safety Claims and the NHTSA’s Scrutiny

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati.com
The Tesla Model 3 gets crash tested by the NHTSA. The Tesla Model 3 gets crash tested by the NHTSA. NHTSA

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Multiple reports have recently emerged about the US National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) scrutinizing Tesla and the company’s claims that the Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury among vehicles tested by the agency.

It should be noted that the NHTSA’s scrutiny, which involved a cease-and-desist letter to Tesla and a prompt response from the automaker, transpired last October, following the agency’s release of the Model 3’s Five-Star Safety Rating.

 

The NHTSA’s reaction to Tesla recently came to fore due to documents shared by staunch TSLA critic and transparency group Plainsite, which was able to access both the NHTSA’s cease-and-desist letter to Tesla as well as the electric car maker’s response to the agency thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. What’s quite peculiar about the new string of reports, including those from Bloomberg and Reuters, is that they highlight the NHTSA’s allegations about the company’s alleged misleading claims about the Model 3, but not Tesla’s response arguing that it used the agency’s own data to arrive at its conclusions.

 

Following Tesla’s release of its blog post stating that the Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury among the vehicles tested by the NHTSA, the agency sent the Silicon Valley-based company a cease-and-desist letter. Addressed to Elon Musk, the letter claimed Tesla had “issued a number of misleading statements regarding the recent Government Five-Star Ratings of the Tesla Model 3.” NHTSA Chief Counsel Jonathan Morrison, who sent the letter, further argued that statements such as “lowest probability of injury in all cars” are inaccurate and not in the best interests of consumers.

 

Tesla disagreed with the NHTSA’s allegations in its response to the cease-and-desist letter. The electric car maker argued that its statements about the Model 3’s safety were neither untrue nor misleading, especially since the company used the NHTSA’s own data when it stated that the electric sedan, as well as its largest siblings, the Model S and Model X, have the lowest probability of injury among vehicles tested by the agency. Tesla also noted that the Model 3’s achievement is “exactly what NHTSA intended with the NCAP — to encourage manufacturers to continuously improve safety.”


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