Cars crashing into bollards, brakes slamming on to avoid imaginary collisions, and more than 2,400 complaints of cars accelerating out of their owner’s control. The 100 gigabytes worth of internal Tesla documents leaked to the German newspaper Handelsblatt present a sobering picture of the EV company’s technical limitations.
The 23,000 files obtained by Handelsblatt cover issues in Europe, the US, and Asia between 2015 and March 2022, and they seem to show serious flaws in Tesla’s Autopilot technology. The revelations could see the company facing new pressure from regulators, who are likely to pore over the reports looking for evidence that the company has misled authorities or customers over the safety of its vehicles.
The leaks may also reinforce a pervasive concern among Tesla investors and analysts that the company has lost its way. Its vaunted self-driving technology seems a long way from being safe enough for the road, and it can’t seem to move viable new products from the drawing board to the showroom. Tesla hasn’t launched a new consumer vehicle since 2020, and it’s widely seen as falling behind other automakers, who are stepping up their development of new EVs to meet surging demand. Half-hidden within the rush of revelations is a teaser for a secret report on Tesla’s long-awaited “Cybertruck,” a weirdly angular pickup truck announced in 2019. It’s unlikely to be good news.
“Tesla urgently needs a new credibility story,” says Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Centre for Automotive Research in Duisburg, Germany.
The content of the leaked documents is shoc...