Tesla leak reveals thousands of customer complaints about random acceleration and 'phantom braking,' report says
Germany's Handelsblatt published a report Friday based on leaked information about Tesla.
The newspaper spent months investigating a "massive" tranche of data provided by a whistleblower.
Its report said Tesla had received 4,000 complaints from customers about self-driving features.
Tesla has received thousands of customer complaints about braking and acceleration problems, according to a report by a German newspaper.
A whistleblower leaked 100 gigabytes of confidential Tesla data to Handelsblatt, which reportedly included some 4,000 complaints about its self-driving features.
The "Tesla files" also contained customers' bank details and a variety of personal information, The Guardian reported, adding that the data leak was described as "massive" by the data protection office in Brandenburg, where Tesla has a factory.
Handelsblatt said it spent months examining the data, which included more than 23,000 files spanning 2015 to 2022.
It said it reviewed more than 2,400 customer complaints of Teslas suddenly accelerating and about 1,500 complaints of braking issues, including 383 cases of "phantom braking." In addition, there were 1,000 logged reports of crashes, per the report.
A lawyer representing Tesla said that a "disgruntled former employee", who worked as a service technician, was the suspected leaker, per Handelsblatt.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into the safety of Teslas in February 2022. The move was sparked by hundreds of complaints from drivers about "phantom braking," when a car suddenly decelerates unexpectedly at high speeds.
At the time, the NHTSA said it had received 354 complaints in nine months from Tesla drivers about the issue. The agency carried out an evaluation of the problem, which may have affected more than 400,000 Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVS.
In a letter to Tesla last May, the agency said more than 750 drivers complained about phantom braking incidents.
A Tesla owner filed a lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker last August over phantom braking. Jose Alvarez Toledo said the problems turned his Model 3's "safety feature into a frightening and dangerous nightmare." He accused Tesla of hiding safety concerns related to its Autopilot system in the lawsuit.
In November 2022, nine people were injured after an eight-car pileup was blamed on Tesla's phantom braking problem. One juvenile was hospitalized and the driver of the Tesla told authorities his car was in "full-self-driving" mode at the time of the accident.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.
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