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Tesla owners demand “sudden unintended acceleration” investigation

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US driving safety regulators is considering an investigation into claims of unexpected acceleration in Tesla’s EVs, the NHTSA has confirmed, after owners complained that their electric cars could suddenly speed up. Although the petition covers reports from 123 different cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that it could affect 500,000 vehicles in total.

That’s because it covers Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3 vehicles from the 2013 through to the 2019 model years. “The petition alleges that the subject vehicles contain a defect that can cause sudden unintended acceleration,” the NHTSA says, “which may result in crash and injury.”

There’s no single manner of incident reported by the affected owners, with cars instead displaying unexpected acceleration in a range of situations. One driver in Pennsylvania, for example, reports that their Tesla suddenly sped up while they were pulling into a parking space, Reuters reports. The car “went over a curb and into a chain link fence,” the driver claims.

In a similar low-speed incident, a Massachusetts Tesla driver says that she was approaching her closed garage when the car accelerated. The EV “suddenly lurched forward” she claims, only stopping when it hit the concrete wall of the garage.

Perhaps most ominous is a reported incident where the driver wasn’t actually inside the vehicle. A California owners of a 2015 Model S says his EV was closed and locked, but then “a few moments later the vehicle started accelerating forward towards the street and crashed into a parked car.”

In total, 127 consumer complaints have been made about the vehicles’ behaviors. 110 crashes were recorded, and 52 injuries. A technical analysis will be undertaken before the NHTSA decides whether or not to officially investigate.

Tesla did not comment to Reuters on the report. We’ve asked the automaker for a statement on the petition, and will update if and when we hear back.

It’s worth noting that the barriers to complaining to the NHTSA are – intentionally – low when it comes to vehicle safety. Effectively any vehicle owner can file a Vehicle Safety Complaint, a process the Administration says takes only around five minutes. “All complaints are reviewed,” the NHTSA confirms. “Some complaints may lead to an investigation. Some investigations lead to recalls.”

Tesla has found itself under the NHTSA’s microscope on several occasions already. That has included investigations into the safety of Autopilot, its driver-assistance system which has grown to encompass adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, and automatic lane changing, among other features.

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The Bizarre Porsche Cayenne That Was Never Actually Made

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Porsche’s engineers eventually came up with two designs for the Cayenne-PMF, both of which varied predominantly over the tail light. But ultimately, the entire idea was canned. With the Cayenne-PFM convertible idea, Porsche originally set to answer four key questions:

  1. If the windscreen and A-pillars are reduced, and the roof tapers over the rear half, would the car still offer a comfortable seating experience?
  2. If the Cayenne’s doors are elongated by 20 centimeters and it is offered as a two-door model, does it make sense from a practical standpoint?
  3. Is it possible to accommodate a quick-folding soft-top roof that also meets Porsche’s standards for quality and design?
  4. And the most important question of them all: How the rear should look?

Michael Mauer, Chief Designer at Porsche, remarked that “an SUV as a convertible is a challenge both aesthetically and formally.” Mauer, who wasn’t a part of Porsche back then, added that “very strange shapes” emerge when an SUV’s bulky body is amalgamated with a convertible’s smaller, open-roof looks (per Porshe). However, it was not the just aesthetic and practical failures that put the Cayenne convertible plans on cold ice. 

“Forecasts regarding profitability were not particularly promising and doubts remained as to whether the car would look as appealing as a Porsche should,” says the official blog marking the 20th anniversary of Porsche’s venture into the SUV segment. As for the one-off Cayenne-PMF convertible unit, it lives on at the Porsche Museum in Germany’s Stuttgart.

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Tesla Body Damage Repairs Cost Way More Than You Might Expect

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In a YouTube video, Ryan Shaw, a creator who specializes in Tesla and Tech content, described just how much it might cost to repair a Tesla after an accident. According to him, the repair cost of his Tesla Model Y after a rear-end collision was almost $20,000! Some of the most expensive parts that were replaced included the lift gate at $1,200, the quarter panel at $1,150, and the rear bumper at $680. Ryan Shaw’s Tesla Model Y was also involved in another rear-end collision with a repair bill that cost around $10,000. Lucky for him, the repair costs of both accidents were covered by insurance.

It’s not the first time that Tesla vehicles have proven to have expensive repair bills — a windshield replacement for a Tesla Model X could cost you as much as $1,311 without labor. Another YouTuber, Rich Rebuilds, claims he fixed a Tesla Model 3 at his garage for $700 after Tesla estimated the repair cost at $16,000. Also, a Tesla owner based in Finland decided to blow up his Model S after Tesla estimated a cost of $22,600 to replace the battery (via Gizmodo).

Similar stories are all over the internet, and even though the can’t all be verified, it’s a concern that most Tesla owners complain that repair costs are too expensive without a warranty or insurance cover. At the moment, Tesla discourages its customers from taking their cars to third-party repair services.  

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Supercar Brands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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In 1990, an unnamed businessman from the UAE contacted German racing car manufacturer Lotec and asked for the fastest car in the world. With the promise of a blank check, Lotec began developing the car in 1991, and by 1995, the C1000 was finished. It featured a 5.6L Mercedes twin-turbocharged V8 engine that made over 1,000 horsepower. According to Motor1, Lotec claimed the car had a 0-62 mph time of just 3.2 seconds, and a top speed of 268 mph. The C1000 was strictly a one-off, but at a development cost of $3.4 million, it’s not like many other buyers could have afforded one anyway.

Creating the C1000 gave Lotec owner Kurt Lotterschmid the supercar bug, and shortly after development finished, he set about building a follow-up. By 2001, the brand’s next car, the Sirius, was unveiled. It was planned that five units a year would be created, each car selling for $462,000. The Sirius featured a mid-mounted Mercedes V12 making 850 horsepower, with many of the car’s internals derived from Lotec’s racing parts bin. It was a similar recipe to the Pagani Zonda, which launched just a few years prior, and shared the same engine. However, unlike Pagani, Lotec couldn’t drum up much interest in its ultra-expensive supercar, and only one example of the Sirius ended up being built.

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