Tesla has known about battery failures since 2012, when it launched its first electric sedan, the Model S. At the time, the automaker identified a malfunction in the car’s battery cooling system, according to internal documents. Despite this, the model was commercialized without changes.
According to information released by Business Insider, several components of the vehicle were manufactured with aluminum susceptible to cracking. When this material cracked and the coolant came into contact with the battery, its service life was shortened. In more severe cases, the vehicle could explode.
“All parts of the vehicle [designed by Tesla] were innovative, so it was almost guaranteed that there would be serious production problems,” Jeffrey Liker, an industrial engineer at the University of Michigan, told Business Insider.
The internal documents reveal concerns on the part of the employees about the sale of the model with damaged parts. According to the testimonies collected, the problem could have been avoided. In 2012, Tesla hired a technical team to check the Model S’s battery cooling system, but ignored the report that reported serious flaws.
Model S explodes in 2019
In 2019, the company’s shares plunged 3.58% after a Model S caught fire alone in Shanghai, China. The incident was recorded by security cameras in the underground parking lot where the car was located and the video went viral. After the controversy, the company’s sales dropped and investors were advised to sell their shares.
“When you are launching a new component, there will always be challenges during the first launch and especially when you are Tesla and you are asking your suppliers to start sales with limited research and development activities,” said a former employee of Tesla.