Washington: Tesla’s shareholders are suing the electric car manufacturer over allegations that the company misled the public about the safety and efficacy of their self-driving vehicles, according to a class action complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
In 2014, Tesla announced an autopilot feature that included a number of advanced driver-assistance systems. Since then, the company has announced refinements to the technology, including so-called full self driving (FSD) software, which enables the vehicle to drive autonomously to a destination.
“[Tesla] made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically,” the filing said on Monday. ” Defendants had significantly overstated the efficacy, viability, and safety of the Company’s Autopilot and FSD technologies.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who also heads the social media platform Twitter, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit as well.
Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD features created a serious risk of accident and injury, increased regulatory scrutiny and reputational harms, the lawsuit alleges. The filing cites instances of crashes involving Teslas and subsequent stock price drops.
Earlier this month, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered a recall of nearly 363,000 Teslas over concerns that their FSD software may enable the vehicles to act in an “unlawful or unpredictable” manner. Tesla’s stock fell 5.69% in response.
The Plaintiffs believe that there are hundreds or thousands of members eligible to participate in the class action lawsuit, the filing said.
The filing requests the court require the defendants to pay damages and award plaintiffs prejudgment and post-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees and other costs. The Plaintiffs are also requesting a trial by jury, the filing said.