Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Tesla 'whistleblower' files tip with the SEC

Tesla has sold 200,000 cars in the US
Credit
Reuters Tesla has sold 200,000 cars in the US Credit Reuters
Jodi Jackson | 16 July, 2018, 08:41

Tripp worked for Tesla's huge Battery factory, located in Nevada, and had left the company in the month of June.

The former Tesla employee who was sacked and then sued by the electric vehicle automaker has filed a formal whistleblower tip to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the company has misled investors and put its customers at risk.

Meissner will not handle the federal lawsuit that Tesla filed against Tripp.

The lawsuit and subsequent tip to the SEC stand to create some havoc for Tesla at a time when the automaker has been hoping to calm the concerns of analysts and investors who have been anxious about the slow ramp-up of the critical Model 3 battery-sedan.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised that 2018 would be the year that Tesla would produce 500,000 vehicles at its gigafactory in Fremont, California.

"Tesla and Mr. Musk have poured gasoline on the fire of Tesla supporters", Meissner said. Investors - those who are long and short Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) alike - are eager to know, as the company only had about $3 billion cash on hand through the first quarter of the year.

In addition, the Post reports that Tripp is asserting that the electric vehicle maker inflated Model 3 production numbers by as much as 44 percent. That doesn't come as a complete surprise to some observers.

Tripp told the SEC last week the Silicon Valley auto company, whose $53 billion value rivals that of General Motors, had pushed for a number of potentially damaging measures to meet production quotas, including placing batteries with puncture holes into vehicles and reusing scrapped parts. Tripp says it didn't happen. Tesla then sued Martin Tripp, alleging he stole gigabytes worth of data.

It is unclear who those entities are.

Tripp responded to the charges by saying that he was a whistleblower who had seen "some really scary things" at Tesla, such as falsified production numbers and damaged batteries installed inside vehicles.

"If foreign automakers develop and build electric vehicles in the country, its domestic industry has the chance to absorb new, advanced technologies, helping China transform from a mere market into an automaking heavyweight", a report added.

For his part, Tripp said in a new statement that "Getting the truth out has become a nightmare". "While we have had to relocate due to threats and harassment, both online and offline, making it hard to press on, my family and I have also received a ton of support, which keeps us going", Tripp said in a statement.

Meissner said Tesla has sought to ruin Tripp's reputation as a way to protect its image and intimidate other potential whistleblowers from coming forward.

It's not the first time Tesla has been accused of taking steps to challenge critics.

Bloomberg described Tesla's decision as a "bold move", since the vehicle company has been "burning through billions of dollars as it's struggled to ramp up manufacturing of the Model 3 sedan".

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