Elon Musk Suggests Possible Conspiracy Behind Tesla Model S Suspension Claims

Multiple false complaints appear to have been filed with NHTSA.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Electric Vehicles photo

The Tesla Model S suspension failure saga that stirred the business and automotive worlds into a boil last week took another turn on June 10, when Elon Musk took to Twitter to suggest someone was perpetuating a conspiracy to make it seem as though suspension problems were more widespread than they actually are.

The vast majority of complaints filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency over the Model S's suspension, Musk pointed out, can be tied back to either false VIN numbers or fake addresses.

So why would someone be interested in blasting the NHTSA with false reports of Tesla flaws? Well, to put it simply—money. Much as investor Ron Baron made $20 million as Tesla stock rose in the wake of his pronouncement that he expected the carmaker to grow to a $700 billion industrial giant, anyone who shorted (i.e. bet against) Tesla stock would have made a nice little gain in the hours after the NHTSA announced it would be looking into the potential Model S suspension problems.

In Tesla's blog post issued in response to the original Daily Kanban article alleging the reported suspension failure brought up this issue, the carmaker brought up the idea that writer Edward Niedermeyer or his cohorts at the website may have a financial interest in seeing Tesla flop. Daily Kanban founder Bertel Schmitt, however, refuted the allegation:

Interestingly enough, electrek noted that most of the falsified reports of Tesla suspension failures were filed by one man, an Australian who goes by the names Keef Leech, a.k.a. "Keef Wivaneff." Leech, whose YouTube page describes him as a man who "blows the whistle on GREEN SCAMS," has been on a quxiotic campaign to bring down Tesla, crusading against the carmaker in various online forums and assembling a gallery of images of crashed Model Ss which he uses to make apparently unfounded claims that the cars are unsafe.

In at least one of the filings, Leech admitted he falsified his address in order to post the complaint with the American safety agency, claiming that enough reports could force the NHTSA to investigate. However, as electrek pointed out, the agency only began investigating the Model S's suspension after the latest, substantiated report.

As to why he's so interested? Well, of course, it is possible Leech has a financial interest in seeing Tesla flop. But given his verbose online campaigns against corporate green power and claims that SpaceX faked at least one of its rocket landings, he may just be a good ol' fashioned kook.