The NHTSA Is Now Involved In the Tesla Cybertruck’s Stuck Throttle Fiasco

The prospect of unintended acceleration is a lot scarier when it involves a heavy, powerful electric truck.

byJames Gilboy|
A Tesla Cybertruck with its sticking-prone accelerator pedal overlaid
Tesla (background), @el.chepito1985 on TikTok (right)


Just a few days ago, Tesla issued a stop-sale for the Cybertruck due to an undisclosed problem with its accelerator pedal. That problem may have been illustrated by an owner, who showed on social media how the pedal could get stuck. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is getting involved as an unintended acceleration problem looks increasingly likely.

News of the Cybertruck's stop-sale due to accelerator pedal problems broke over the weekend, along with a video outlining its potential cause. Posted to TikTok, the video shows the that accelerator's trapezoidal cover had come loose, wedging the pedal in an open-throttle position. The owner who filmed it was able to safely stop their vehicle and remove the loose part, but it demonstrated the Cybertruck's potential for unintentional acceleration—which is made all the more alarming by the EV's extreme attributes.

The Cybertruck is both heavy and powerful, coming in around 6,600 pounds and touting acceleration close to that of a Porsche 911. What's more, its structural rigidity and ostensibly bulletproof body make it particularly dangerous in a crash, as its sharp steel body will transfer more force into what it hits than most vehicles will. An out-of-control Cybertruck is an order of magnitude more dangerous than almost any other passenger vehicle, and that may be why the NHTSA has gotten involved.

"NHTSA is aware of this issue and is in contact with the manufacturer to gather additional information," a spokesperson told CNBC. According to Road & Track, the situation hasn't been escalated to an investigation as formally defined by the NHTSA. It's unlikely to reach that point either, as the pedal problem could be easily remedied with a basic redesign.

But getting Tesla to actually redesign the part—rather than MacGyver an unacceptable fix behind closed doors—may be the real challenge. After all, Tesla has previously shipped, then resisted recalling vehicles with safety problems. But with the NHTSA breathing down its neck and enough bad news coming out about Tesla in recent days, maybe it'll opt for the more thorough fix this time around.

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