There have been investigations into “unintended acceleration” in Tesla vehicles before. When such claims are raised, it’s the responsibility of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate them. However, whether with Tesla or other automakers, it’s often been determined that the “unintended acceleration” comes from the driver accidentally pushing on the accelerator pedal rather than any technical problem with the car. Or, at the least, it’s typically not proven that it’s the car’s or automaker’s fault.
Tesla has participated in such investigations before by supplying NHTSA with data, and has explained on its blog its own analysis of the situation.
I thought we were done with these unintended acceleration claims and investigations after the closure of the last one. But something has brought the matter back into focus. “The decision to continue investigating is in response to a petition from Ronald Belt of Plymouth, Minnesota, which claims that new information about the inverter design, due to recent hobbyist tear-downs, has allowed a greater understanding of the component’s function,” Green Car Reports writes. “Based on this information, the petition alleges a design flaw in the inverter allows for intermittent higher electrical current to flow through a vehicle’s 12-volt electrical system. This sudden additional voltage draw could be triggered by a demand for extra power from an accessory, like power steering, and wouldn’t be identified by Tesla’s diagnostics system as a fault, the petition claims.”
So, yeah, we still don’t know if this will go anywhere and the NHTSA will discover a problem. I assume it won’t, but this is enough of an odd finding and possibility that the NHTSA has reopened its investigation. The original investigation was opened in 2020 and closed in 2020. One presumes this investigation will conclude this year, but we’ll see. Stay tuned if you’re on the edge of your seat about another unintended acceleration investigation.
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