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Tesla faces NHTSA investigation over unintended acceleration complaints

The government agency has received 127 consumer complaints about the Model S, Model X and Model 3.

Tesla Alaska Testing Facility
All three Tesla models are included in the investigation.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tesla faces a new investigation as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it will probe the automaker's cars. Concerns surround unintended acceleration instances in the Model S, Model X and Model 3.

In documents filed Jan. 13, the NHTSA said it received a defect petition on Dec. 19 of last year, which requested the agency open an investigation into the the Tesla electric cars. The newly installed probe covers 2012-2019 Model S, 2016-2019 Model X and 2018-2019 Model 3 vehicles. Consumer complaints allege the Tesla vehicles suddenly accelerated without intention, whether it was due to a malfunction or driver error.

The NHTSA cites 127 complaints that include 123 unique vehicles. Of the complaints, 110 mention crashes, and 52 mention injuries due to the alleged acceleration issue.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The matter now rests in the Officer of Defects Investigation.

So far, there's been no public evidence to show a vehicle malfunction was the cause in any of the incidents. Tesla's own investigation into the complaints found user error (for example, pressing the wrong pedal) was the cause of a sudden acceleration.

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