Tesla stock rises as NTSB closes fatal crash investigation

Carmaker recovers from 3-week low after JPMorgan suit

Tesla stock traded up on Wednesday morning, bolstered in part by the news that US National Transportation Safety Board has closed one of its investigations into the company. 

The NTSB announced it would not take any action regarding a Tesla crash in Saratoga, California that occured in August 2020 and resulted in the deaths of the 75-year old driver and his wife.

The regulatory body stated that although the driver of the 2019 Tesla Model 3 had engaged Tesla’s Autopilot function, he was manually using the accelerator pedal. As such, the car went into override mode before striking a truck at around 110 miles per hour and catching on fire. 

The NTSB found that the Tesla had issued a number of visual and audible alerts to the driver after failing to detect his hands on the steering wheel while Autopilot was engaged. 

Self-driving

Although leading the field, Tesla has struggled to make good on its pledge to successfully produce fully self-driving vehicles. CEO Elon Musk himself said this year he “didn’t expect it to be so hard”, before admitting “the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.”

Last month, the NTSB said it was “deeply concerned” about Tesla’s failure to respond or adopt the board's safety recommendations. 

November also saw the company recall almost 12,000 vehicles sold in the US since 2017 due to a communication error triggered by a software update to the early access version of its 10.3 Fully-Self Driving Beta programme. 

By 10:30 GMT, Tesla traded up by 3.3% at $1,090.52. The company had slumped to a near-one-month low on Monday after Elon Musk offloaded another $931m (£691m) of stock. In total, the South Africa-born billionaire has sold almost $8bn worth of stock in a week.

This week also saw JPMorgan sue Tesla for $162.2m, accusing it of “flagrantly” breaching a seven-year old contract relating to stock trading options that the firm sold to the world’s largest bank. 

JPMorgan stated: “We have provided Tesla multiple opportunities to fulfil its contractual obligations, so it is unfortunate that they have forced this issue into litigation.”

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