Have you heard about the Tesla Files yet? The story doesn’t seem to be getting much play in Western media yet, but we’ll see if that may begin to change next week. I’m not ready to write an analysis yet — I want to see how things play out before I see whether I will — so I decided to dedicate this week’s roundup to letting you know what’s in them and giving you some initial thoughts.
Beyond that, there are a bunch of recommended reads as usual, along with labor updates and other stories you might have missed. Definitely check out Ed Ongweso Jr.’s piece on venture capital! To get the full issue, upgrade to a paid subscription and support the work that goes into writing Disconnect!
Also just a head’s up that emails may be a little less frequent over the next couple weeks because I’ll speaking at the Tech[no]fixes forum then at re:publica in Berlin, but the roundups will continue as usual!
Have a great week!
Tesla’s Pinto moment?
German news outlet Handelsblatt has obtained 100GB of internal Tesla data it’s calling the Tesla Files. The revelations contain more evidence that Tesla knows its Autopilot system is unsafe, and actively works to ensure there isn’t much publicly available evidence to prove it.
The Handelsblatt report is in German and behind a paywall, but many English publications have been publishing the details in recent days. Handelsblatt says Tesla tried to stop the publication and threatened legal action. Its journalists have been working on the story for months, not only looking through the data, but talking to sources in Europe and the United States, including active and former Tesla employees.
The Tesla files contain more than 2,400 self-acceleration complaints and more than 1,500 braking function problems, including 139 cases of unintentional emergency braking and 383 reported phantom stops resulting from false collision warnings. The number of crashes is more than 1000. A table of incidents involving driver assistance systems where customers have expressed safety concerns has more than 3000 entries.