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Tesla denies claim of 'unintentional acceleration' in cars

Tesla Inc. said Jan. 20 that the petition claiming there is unintended acceleration in Tesla vehicles is "completely false," adding that it was brought by a Tesla short seller.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in the week of Jan. 13 that it will review the petition, which is seeking a probe into 500,000 Tesla vehicles over an alleged problem that may cause sudden unintended acceleration.

The review will include Tesla Model S vehicles made between 2012 and 2019, Model X made between 2016 and 2019, and Model 3 made in 2018 and 2019, according to the NHTSA.

Tesla said it investigates all incidents of alleged sudden unintended acceleration and that in every case, the company confirmed that the car operated as designed.

"In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver told it to do so, and it slows or stops when the driver applies the brake," the company said.

In addition, Tesla said the accelerator pedals in its Model S, X and 3 vehicles have two independent position sensors, which allows the system to cut off motor torque when an error is detected. It also said applying the brake pedal simultaneously with the accelerator pedal will override the accelerator pedal input and cut off motor torque.

The company added that, over the past years, it has discussed with the NHTSA the majority of the complaints included in the petition. "In every case we reviewed with them, the data proved the vehicle functioned properly," Tesla said.

The NHTSA did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.