The Silicon Valley carmaker, Tesla, is getting caught in the headlights as a colossal batch of secret ‘Tesla Files‘ puts the company’s tech problems on full display, including a daunting peek at potential Cybertruck issues. These documents, comprising a whopping 100 gigabytes, were leaked to the German newspaper Handelsblatt and they paint a rather disturbing picture of Tesla’s technical obstacles.
We’re talking about more than 2,400 instances of uncontrollable acceleration and cars slamming the breaks due to phantom obstacles.
These 23,000 files, which encompass issues from 2015 to March 2022, raise eyebrows about the safety of Tesla’s Autopilot tech, which could invite additional scrutiny from regulators.
This revelation can fuel the worry among investors that Tesla might be veering off course. Despite its much-touted self-driving tech, the company is still struggling to steer new products from concept to production.
“Tesla urgently needs a new credibility story,” remarks Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Centre for Automotive Research in Duisburg, Germany.
While the content of the leaked files is astonishing, they don’t come as a surprise for industry analysts. Matthias Schmidt, an independent automotive analyst in Berlin, notes that Tesla’s swift product development approach has sparked concerns about the roadworthiness of its vehicles.
With a record of 393 fatalities involving Tesla cars, 33 of which involved Autopilot, Schmidt reportedly accuses Elon Musk of accepting these losses as a necessary evil for tech progression.
Musk’s reaction to the controversy could shape Tesla’s narrative moving forward. Dudenhöffer compares the situation to Volkswagen’s scandal where it downplayed the environmental impact of its cars. He puts the blame squarely on Musk for Tesla’s increasing troubles.
Tesla has had a die-hard fan base that has consistently stood by the company, but with the continuous setbacks, the EV pioneer seems to be losing its ground. Tesla’s ambitious Cybertruck, initially slated for a 2021 production, has been delayed till 2024.
“Tesla has a track record of setting high expectations but often struggles to meet them,” Soumen Mandal, a senior research analyst at Counterpoint Research, points out.
As Tesla grapples with these issues, its reputation is taking a hit.
“Shareholders have been screaming at Musk to get back in the driver’s seat for a long time,” Schmidt says. “Tesla can’t run itself in autopilot mode.”