A Tesla Model 3 owner who filed a lawsuit against the automaker on Friday for accidental braking is seeking class action status.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said a defect in Tesla’s Autopilot system could cause the vehicle to brake suddenly and reduce its market value.
Plaintiff’s law firm, Bursor & Fisher in Walnut Creek, California, said in the complaint that Tesla knowingly sold defective vehicles to customers. The company is seeking $5 million in damages on behalf of plaintiff, Jose Alvarez Toledo of San Francisco, as well as more Tesla owners for participating in a proposed class action.
According to the complaint, Alvarez Toledo experienced “sudden accidental brake failure” several times since the delivery of a new Tesla Model 3 in January 2021. Twice, the vehicle “suddenly slammed on the brakes and reduced its speed by about half.”
The failure that “suddenly and unexpectedly (causing the vehicle) comes to a stop in the middle of the road” should be covered by Tesla’s base warranty, which covers maintenance and repairs for four years or 50,000 miles, the complaint said.
The lawsuit alleges that Tesla was aware of the defect through “pre-production testing, consumer complaints, warranty information, dealer repair orders, and NHTSA investigations, among other things,” but did not recall the vehicles or provide Alvarez Toledo with a repair or appropriate replacement. .
“These costs are significant and no reasonable consumer would expect to incur such costs,” the complaint said.
All Tesla vehicles are equipped with the car manufacturer’s advanced Autopilot driver assistance system, which can automatically steer, accelerate and brake under the driver’s supervision.
This is one of several lawsuits filed against Tesla this summer over alleged problems with the Autopilot system. According to the complaint, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received 354 complaints about unexpected brake activation in 2021 and 2022 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles between May 2021 and February 2022.
NHTSA asked Tesla for information about its safety technology in August as part of an ongoing investigation into 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot.
Meanwhile, Tesla is racing ahead to bring self-driving technology to market. CEO Elon Musk said Monday at the 2022 Offshore Northern Shore conference in Norway that he hopes Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) software, the $15,000 successor to Autopilot, will be widely available in the US by the end of the year. be released.
“The problem is that Tesla is rushing to bring these features to market while the technology is not ready and not yet secure,” the complaint said.
Neither Tesla nor the plaintiff’s attorneys immediately responded to requests for comment Tuesday morning.