Tesla calls claims of unintended acceleration in the NHTSA petition "completely false"

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Tesla backed off on Monday against claims that its electric vehicles could suddenly accelerate on their own, calling a petition filed with federal security regulators "completely untrue."

Tesla also questions the validity of the petition, noting that it was submitted by a Tesla seller.

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Last week, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said it would review a defect request who cited 127 consumer complaints for alleged unintended acceleration of Tesla electric vehicles that may have contributed to or caused 110 accidents and 52 injuries.

The petition, which was first reported by CNBC, was filed by Brian Sparks, an independent investor who is currently selling Tesla shares. Sparks hedged his bets and has been Tesla for a long time, according to the CNBC report.

At the time, Tesla did not respond to requests for comment. Now, in a blog post, the company said it routinely reviews customer complaints about unintended acceleration with NHTSA.

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"In all the cases we analyzed with them, the data proved that the vehicle worked correctly," wrote Tesla in a post on his website.

The automaker argued that its vehicles are designed to prevent unwanted acceleration, noting that its system will not cut the engine torque if the two independent position sensors on the accelerator pedals register an error.

"We also use the autopilot sensor set to help distinguish possible misapplications from the pedals and reduce torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we are confident that the driver’s input was unintentional," the company wrote.

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Here is Tesla's complete answer:

This petition is completely false and was filed by a Tesla salesman. We investigated all incidents in which the driver claims that his vehicle accelerated contrary to his entry and, in all cases where we had vehicle data, we confirmed that the car functioned as designed. In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver said to do so, and slows down or stops when the driver applies the brake.

Although accidents caused by incorrect pressure on the accelerator pedal have been claimed for almost all vehicle brands / models on the road, the accelerator pedals on vehicles of models S, X and 3 have two independent position sensors and, if there is an error, the system defaults to cut the engine torque. Likewise, applying the brake pedal simultaneously with the accelerator pedal will replace the accelerator pedal input and reduce the engine torque and, regardless of the torque, sustained braking will stop the car. Exclusive to Tesla, we also use the Autopilot sensor set to help distinguish possible application errors from the pedals and reduce torque to mitigate or prevent accidents when we are confident that the driver's entry was unintentional. Each system is independent and records data, so that we can examine exactly what happened.

We are transparent with NHTSA and routinely review customer complaints about unintentional acceleration with them. In recent years, we have discussed with NHTSA most of the complaints alleged in the petition. In all the cases we analyzed with them, the data proved that the vehicle worked correctly.

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