Elon Musk and Tesla have been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that their misleading claims about the capabilities of the company’s self-driving technology have caused consumers to pay too much for the cars. The lawsuit, which was filed in California on Thursday, alleges that Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have exaggerated the safety and reliability of Autopilot — Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving feature — while failing to disclose its numerous limitations. The suit also claims that Tesla has refused to issue refunds or repairs to customers who were misled by the company’s false promises. In this blog post, we will take a look at the specifics of this lawsuit and what it could mean for Tesla in the future.
Who is Elon Musk?
Elon Reeve Musk FRS (/ˈiːlɒn/ EE-lon; born June 28, 1971) is a business magnate, industrial designer, and engineer. He is the founder, CEO, CTO, and chief designer of SpaceX; early investor, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. A centibillionaire, Musk is one of the richest people in the world.
Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. He briefly attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada aged 17 to attend Queen’s University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics. He moved to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University but decided instead to pursue a business career, co-founding web software company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal. The start-up was acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. Musk co-founded online bank X.com that same year, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form the company PayPal and was subsequently bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, of which he is CEO, CTO, and lead designer
What are the misleading self-driving claims?
There are a number of misleading self-driving claims that have been made by Tesla and Elon Musk. One such claim is that the Tesla Model S is capable of driving itself without any input from the driver. This is not true, as the Model S requires constant driver input in order to function properly. Additionally, Tesla has claimed that its Autopilot system is “self-driving”, when in reality it is only a semi-autonomous system that requires constant driver supervision.
Another misleading claim made by Tesla is that its vehicles are “the safest cars on the road”. While Tesla’s vehicles do have some advanced safety features, they are not necessarily the safest cars on the road. In fact, there have been a number of accidents involving Tesla vehicles, some of which have been fatal.
Finally, Elon Musk has claimed that all Tesla vehicles will be fully autonomous by 2019. This is highly unlikely, as even the most advanced autonomous driving systems are still years away from being ready for widespread use.
The lawsuit against Tesla and Elon Musk
On October 4th, 2016, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk were sued by Investor firms Gerber Kawasaki Inc. and Cypress Semiconductor Corporation for allegedly making false and misleading statements about Tesla’s self-driving capabilities. The lawsuit claims that Tesla misled investors by overstating the abilities of its Autopilot system, and failed to disclose known safety risks associated with the technology. This is not the first time Tesla has been accused of making false claims about its self-driving technology; in September of 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into claims made by Tesla that its Autopilot system was “self-driving.”
The lawsuit against Tesla and Elon Musk is just one of many challenges the company has faced in recent months. In addition to production delays and quality issues with its Model 3 car, Tesla has also been embroiled in a number of high-profile lawsuits. In November of 2016, it was revealed that Tesla had settled a class action lawsuit related to defective brakes on its Model S car. And in March of 2017, a former employee filed a lawsuit alleging that she was sexually harassed at work and then retaliated against when she raised concerns to management.
Despite these challenges, Tesla remains one of the most innovative and closely watched companies in the world. Its stock price has remained relatively strong throughout these setbacks, proving that investors remain confident in Musk’s vision for the future.