tesla

Former US presidential candidate Ralph Nader has called upon the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to issue a recall for Tesla’s FSD (full-self-driving), which is the autonomous driving software in the company’s vehicles.

Terming what he calls “so-called” FSD, Nader who is a consumer advocate, calls it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades.” He adds that the software, which is installed in over 100,000 Tesla cars malfunctions every eight minutes.

In his statement, Nader said, “I am calling on federal regulators to act immediately to prevent the growing deaths and injuries from Tesla manslaughtering crashes with this technology.” To be sure, this is not the first time that Tesla’s FSD is facing controversies.

Recently, the California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) accused the Elon Musk-run company of using deceptive practices to market the FSD.

In its filings California’s DMV said, “Instead of simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions represent that vehicles equipped with the ADAS features will operate as an autonomous vehicle, but vehicles equipped with those ADAS features could not at the time of those advertisements, and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles.”

The NHTSA is investigating several cases of crashes involving Tesla’s FSD. On its part, Tesla advises drivers to keep their hands on steering all the time, including when using the FSD. That said, the name “full-self driving” might indeed sound deceptive to many, as the software is not fully autonomous yet as the name suggests.

However, over the years, the company has made several improvements to the FSD. It has also been raising the prices and increased them by $2,000 to $12,000 this year.

Musk Expects Software to Account for Bulk of Tesla’s Valuation

Musk has forecast that the FSD price would eventually rise to $100,000. He also said that the bulk of Tesla’s valuation comes from the software side of the business. Apart from the FSD, Tesla is also working on robotaxis, but the launch has missed several deadlines.

The company had also delayed the launch of its Cybertruck pickup truck to 2023. Ford has started delivering the all-electric version of its F-150 pickup and recently announced a price hike on the model.

To be sure, Tesla is not the only automaker facing supply chain issues. Both Ford and General Motors have lost production this year. Things have been even tough for startup EV (electric vehicle) companies.

Today, Arrival also joined the long list of startup EV companies that have revised their guidance. It now expects to deliver only about 20 vehicles in 2022 which is way below the 400-600 that it had previously guided for. Arrival stock is trading sharply lower today as along with the guidance cut it also announced a stock sale to boost its dwindling cash pile.

Meanwhile, Nader also took a swipe at Musk. He said, “Together we need to send an urgent message to the casualty-minded regulators that Americans must not be test dummies for a powerful, high-profile corporation and its celebrity CEO. No one is above the laws of manslaughter.”

Musk has recently been in the news after he sold Tesla shares. The stock sale is meant to be a cushion in case Musk is forced to buy Twitter. He has walked out of the deal to buy the microblogging site but Twitter has sued him for “specific performance.”

Wall Street Analysts Have Been Turning Bullish on Tesla

US lawmakers are expected to pass the Inflation Reduction Act soon. Several Wall Street analysts have been turning bullish on Tesla stock ahead of the vote. Notably, both Tesla and General Motors don’t qualify for the federal tax credit for electric cars and might be among the major beneficiaries of the Act.

Earlier this week, Canaccord reiterated Tesla stock as a buy expressing optimism over its competitive lead in the EV market, and additional offerings in the energy and solar space

Musk had previously forecast that the energy business would eventually become as large as the core automotive business. However, it still accounts for only a fraction of the company’s total revenues.

Coming back to FSD, both Tesla and Musk are no strangers to controversy. After every crash involving Tesla, the FSD has faced controversies. However, the software is getting better even as it is not yet fully autonomous, as reflected by its name.

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