DETROIT – Electric car maker Tesla Motors says it hasn’t been informed of a government investigation into its disclosure of a fatal crash.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Tesla should have informed investors after a fatal crash on May 7. In that crash, a Tesla Model S driven by Joshua Brown was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode when it failed to see a tractor trailer passing in front of it. The car hit the truck and Brown was killed.
A Tesla spokesperson said Monday that the company has not received any communication from the SEC. SEC spokeswoman Florence Harmon declined to comment.
In a blog post last week, Tesla said its Autopilot system has been safely used in more than 100 million miles of driving, and the crash wasn’t materially significant to investors because it didn’t change what Tesla has said about the system’s capabilities and limitations. Tesla said it informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the crash on May 16 and sent its own investigator to the Florida crash site on May 18.
On that same day, the company submitted a filing to the SEC about its plans to sell $2 billion worth of stock, including nearly 2.8 million shares sold by Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk. The filing didn’t mention the May 7 crash among the company’s risk factors.
Tesla’s shares rose 3.7 per cent Monday to close at $224.78 on news that Musk plans to unveil a new “master plan” for the company later this week. His previous master plan — published in 2006 — included details about future products.
But Tesla’s shares fell 1 per cent in after-hours trading after the report about the possible SEC investigation.
AP Business Writer Marcy Gordon contributed from Washington.