Elon Musk used to claim the Tesla Model 3 was the safest car on earth. Then he got a cease-and-desist from the US government.

  • Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, repeatedly described the company’s Model 3 sedan as the safest car ever tested by US regulators — claims that earned Musk a cease-and-desist letter last October.
  • The transparency group PlainSite on Tuesday published a letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration taking issue with the claim that “there is no safer car in the world than a Tesla.”
  • It did not dispute that the Model 3 deserved its 5-star rating after NHTSA tests. But the letter said it was wrong to describe the Model 3 as safer than other 5-star vehicles.
  • Musk had tweeted a link to a Tesla blog post with the caption “The physics of how Tesla achieved best safety of any cars ever tested.”
  • In a response to the safety agency, a Tesla lawyer denied that the company had misled anybody. Tesla has not responded to the letters becoming public.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk earned a harsh rebuke from the US road-safety regulator for describing the Tesla Model 3 sedan as the safest car in the world, according to newly published documents.

Musk was sent a cease-and-desist letter by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in October, according to the transparency group PlainSite, which on Tuesday published the letter among a cache of correspondence between Tesla and the regulator.

PlainSite said it acquired the documents from public-records requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

The letter, dated October 17, said Tesla had made “a number of misleading statements” about the safety of the Model 3. Musk also distributed the claims on social media.




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