New Tesla Investigation By Feds Focuses On Vehicle Range And Personal Benefits


Tesla is facing further scrutiny as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) expands its investigation into the company. A recent disclosure by Tesla in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing reveals that the DOJ has issued subpoenas and requests for information regarding multiple aspects of the automaker’s operations.

Key Takeaway

The U.S. Department of Justice has expanded its investigation into Tesla, focusing on the accuracy of the automaker’s advertised vehicle range and personal benefits provided to CEO Elon Musk. These inquiries add to the ongoing investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features. The outcome of these investigations may have significant implications for Tesla and its CEO.

The DOJ’s Inquiry into Vehicle Range

One area of interest for the DOJ is Tesla’s advertised range of its electric vehicles (EVs). This inquiry follows a Reuters investigation which found that the automaker had been exaggerating its range estimates for years. This prompted concerns from owners, leading them to flood Tesla’s service center for potential repairs. The investigation, citing anonymous sources and industry experts, revealed that the directive to provide more optimistic range numbers came from none other than CEO Elon Musk himself.

Focus on Personal Benefits

Besides vehicle range, the DOJ is also looking into personal benefits that Tesla may have provided to CEO Elon Musk. Specifically, the investigation centers around benefits Musk may have received since 2017, including the use of company funds to construct a proposed glass house. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has requested information regarding transactions between Tesla and other entities connected to Musk.

Previous Investigations

This latest inquiry comes in addition to the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system, Autopilot, and its associated subscription feature known as Full Self-Driving (FSD). In January, Tesla disclosed that the DOJ had initiated an inquiry into Autopilot and FSD. It remains unclear whether this prior investigation is connected to the recent criminal investigation launched by the agency in late 2021 following a series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles using the Autopilot system.

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