Monday, 21 June 2021 22:38

The Tesla Autopilot Excuse: How EV Ignorance Created the Perfect Storm for a Misinformation Nightmare

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
A Tesla Model 3 that burned after a crash in April in Texas. A Tesla Model 3 that burned after a crash in April in Texas. NTSB


...has to be repeated. 


The Texas crash demonstrated this. It didn’t start with a lie, but it started with a premature, careless statement that could be easily twisted into one.


Herman's certainty there was no one in the driver’s seat was premature at best, and reports about the incident being an Autopilot crash were also premature then, or a lie at worst. Reports about an uncontrollable blaze burning for four hours were false as well.


Yet the narrative was so hammered down and unchallenged that even when the NTSB preliminary report came out, the needle barely moved. 


Musk’s reservations about maintaining a relationship with the media are understandable. Years of inaccurate reports tend to do that to a person.


However, Tesla could also adopt a much more assertive anti-misinformation strategy. Tesla China has been doing this as of late, to great results.


Tesla China was embroiled in a PR storm involving alleged reports of “brake failure” incidents surrounding the company’s vehicles. But after an assertive legal campaign from Tesla China, media outlets have issued apologies for misreporting on the company and social media personalities have admitted to making up alleged incidents that painted the company’s vehicles in a negative light.


Granted, such strategies may not be as effective in the U.S., but something has to be done. What this something is remains up for question. 


We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.  


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