New documents released in the USA reveal the NHTSA sent Tesla a cease and desist notice.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned Tesla about making ‘misleading’ safety claims about its cars.
Tesla claimed the Model 3’s crash test results gave it the “lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the NHTSA” after the body, which is responsible for enforcing safety standards in the USA, tested the car in October.
Shortly after Tesla started making its claim, the NHTSA publicly responded by saying it “does not distinguish safety performance beyond [safety] rating, thus there is no “safest” vehicle among those vehicles achieving 5-star ratings”.
Documents obtained by Plainsite using a freedom-of-information request reveal the body was far stronger in its messaging behind the scenes.
“Your company has issued a number of misleading statements” the NHTSA wrote to Elon Musk. The body also called out some of Tesla’s past messaging, referencing times “your company has previously failed to conform to these guidelines”.
The blog post, according to the NHTSA, “could be interpreted as misunderstanding safety data, an intention to mislead the public, or both”.
When the Model S was tested, Tesla claimed it scored 5.4 stars in NHTSA testing, despite the maximum score being five stars.
Tesla denied the accusations about the Model 3’s score, claiming it “provided consumers with fair and objective information to compare the relative safety of vehicles having 5-star overall ratings”.