Leaked Letter Shows Tesla Is Facing Pressure From Group of Investors

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is facing pressure from a group of investors
Tesla is facing pressure from a group of investors
TED

Tesla is under pressure from a group of long-term investors holding over $1.5 billion in shares. These investors have voiced concerns over the company's governance and leadership and human rights issues within its operations and supply chain. They have called for changes in the composition of the Board of Directors, greater focus from CEO Elon Musk, and increased transparency in the company's practices.

Long-term Investors Voice Concerns

In a letter obtained by Teslarati and addressed to Tesla's Board of Directors, the investors expressed their worries about the Board's meager oversight of CEO Elon Musk and other critical aspects of corporate strategy. They believe this lack of oversight exposes the company to substantial legal, operational, and reputational risks, jeopardizing its long-term value. The investors are particularly concerned that Musk's multiple outside commitments, including his roles in SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink, and as owner and CEO of Twitter, Inc., may distract him from addressing the strategic and competitive challenges facing Tesla.

Moreover, investors have pointed out that Tesla's stock has suffered since Musk's involvement in Twitter, with the company losing $582.4 billion in market capitalization within a year. As competition in the EV market intensifies with legacy automakers launching comparable models, they argue that Tesla's shareholders need their CEO to be exclusively focused on resolving the company's issues.

Calls for Changes in Board Composition, CEO Focus, and Increased Transparency

The long-term investors have urged Tesla's Board to announce a plan to ensure that the company has a CEO who dedicates enough time and attention to the company. They propose limiting the CEO's outside commitments or implementing a succession plan. Furthermore, they request an overhaul of the Board's composition, including removing directors with close ties to Musk. The investors believe that the current governance structure, board composition, and director compensation practices contribute to poor oversight and prioritize personal relationships over the needs of Tesla and its shareholders.

Workplace Issues and Human Rights Risks Draw Attention

The investors also highlighted a series of lawsuits, complaints, and allegations involving workplace equity, safety, and human rights violations within Tesla and its supply chain. These issues include racial discrimination, sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, wage theft, and retaliatory termination. They noted that Tesla workers are bound by mandatory arbitration and non-disclosure agreements, which could potentially obscure the full scope of harassment and discrimination claims raised by employees.

Additionally, the letter pointed out Tesla's sourcing practices that expose the company to significant human rights risks, such as using cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where child labor is pervasive, and potential connections to forced labor in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The investors emphasized the growing momentum in the US to enforce import bans on goods produced with forced labor and the increasing public attention on child labor and forced labor in supply chains.

Lastly, the investors call for increased transparency in the company's human capital management practices, workplace conditions, and human rights policies better to assess the company's risks and overall performance.

In light of these concerns, the investors have requested a meeting with the Board by May 25, 2023, to discuss their concerns and proposed remedies. As Tesla faces increased competition and scrutiny, addressing these issues will be crucial to maintaining its position as a leader in the EV market and ensuring the company's long-term success. The outcome of this meeting, and the letter itself, and the Board's response to the investors' demands may significantly impact Tesla's future and its relationship with shareholders.

Tesla News This Week: A Look at Software Update 2023.20, Tesla App Updates and Model Y Hardware 4.0

By Not a Tesla App Staff
This week we take a look at Tesla's upcoming update, 2023.20, Tesla's improvements to Autowipers and its latest app update
This week we take a look at Tesla's upcoming update, 2023.20, Tesla's improvements to Autowipers and its latest app update

Join us as we take a look back at this week's top Tesla stories. From an early look at the features included in Tesla's upcoming 2023.20 software update, to Tesla's latest app update, we dive into the top stories of the week.

An Early Look at Tesla's 2023.20 Update and Its Features

Tesla is introducing the ability to track your tire mileage in update 2023.20
Tesla is introducing the ability to track your tire mileage in update 2023.20

Preparations are underway for Tesla's next software update, version 2023.20. Although currently in testing, this update has been drawing attention since it was first noticed last week. Considering Tesla's 2023.12 update brought numerous new features, it appears this next may be smaller. However, we now have our first look at some of the features included in Tesla's 2023.20 update.

A noteworthy improvement under the upcoming update pertains to tire service tracking. Post-update, vehicle owners can track how many miles have been driven since their last tire service.

Tesla Updates App to v4.21.5, Adds New Loot Box, Referral Rewards and References New Features

Tesla has updated its app to 4.21.5
Tesla has updated its app to 4.21.5
Not a Tesla App

This week Tesla updated their iPhone app to version 4.21.5. The updated features include a new Loot Box design and a notice to Canadians using their Superchargers. Tesla also hints at several upcoming features including Boombom v2.

Tesla's Model Y With Hardware 4.0 Doesn't Include Radar: We Take a Look at Why

Tesla's Model Y with HW4 is coming without radar
Tesla's Model Y with HW4 is coming without radar
Tesla

As Tesla continues to redefine the automotive industry, insiders have revealed that the company's upcoming Hardware 4.0 (HW4) will not include the radar module in its Model Y vehicles, at least not initially. This marks a shift in the company's approach towards autonomous driving, relying more heavily on vision-based systems. This strategic decision builds on the recent introduction of HW4 in the luxury Model S and Model X models.

Previously, the integration of HD radar in the Model S and Model X indicated an evolution in the company's Full Self-Driving (FSD) hardware.

Tesla Reduces FSD Beta Suspension Duration With FSD Beta 11.4.2

Tesla has reduced the FSD suspension to one week with FSD Beta 11.4.2
Tesla has reduced the FSD suspension to one week with FSD Beta 11.4.2
Tesla

Tesla is again modifying the Full Self Driving (FSD) Beta suspension policy. Initially, the system, which is based on a strike policy, suspended users until Tesla reset strikes globally, which ranged from about every three to nine months. The driver has up to three strikes for vehicles without a cabin camera and five for those equipped with them.

More recently Tesla changed their policy to reset FSD suspensions on an individual basis after "approximately two weeks," according to Tesla. But with the introduction of FSD Beta 11.4.2, Tesla has now reduced the suspension interval from two weeks to approximately one week.

Tesla and Ford Forge New Partnership: Ford To Incorporate Tesla Charge Port (NACS) in Future EVs

Ford will add a Tesla (NACS) port to its future EVs
Ford will add a Tesla (NACS) port to its future EVs
Tesla

In a move that attests to Elon Musk's words on fostering industry collaboration over competition, Tesla and Ford have announced a partnership to enable the latter's electric vehicles access to Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network.

Contrary to earlier speculations that Tesla's move to open its proprietary charging connector might be a futile attempt at standardization, Ford has embraced the North American Charging Standard (NACS) - Tesla's charging system. With this, Tesla’s charging plug design, known for some advantages over the current CCS standard, might start gaining traction across the North American EV sector.

Tesla Upgrades Autowipers to v4, Musk Apologizes for Poor Performance

FSD Beta 11.4.2 introduces Autowipers v4
FSD Beta 11.4.2 introduces Autowipers v4
EVlectric/YouTube

For Tesla owners, the auto wiper system has been a contentious feature. Loved by some for its attempt at autonomous convenience yet criticized by others for its hit-or-miss performance, the system has often had trouble with extreme light conditions or misty weather. Now, Tesla has introduced v4 of their autowipers system that aims to correct past issues and enhance the user experience.

The updates come via the new Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta 11.4.2, as reported by Tesla hacker @GreenTheOnly. While release notes didn't indicate changes, Green pointed out significant differences under the hood.

Tesla to Deliver Cars at 50% Charge, Offers 150km Free Supercharging

Tesla will now give owners a 150km Supercharger credit
Tesla will now give owners a 150km Supercharger credit
Tesla

Tesla has recently come up with a new way of doing things when it comes to delivering cars. The company claims this change has been made to align with some new rules in the industry. In the past, Tesla always delivered cars with a full charge. Now, they are to be delivered with only half charge.

When electric vehicles are being transported from one place to another, having them fully charged can pose a risk. Keeping the state of charge (SOC) at 50% during shipment reduces the chances of battery fires. This practice is not new. Other battery-operated devices, like e-bikes, are also shipped at a lower SOC for the same safety reasons.

Tesla Model 3 Refresh Reveal Rumors Coincide with Elon Musk's China Visit

Is Tesla getting ready to unveil the refreshed Model 3?
Is Tesla getting ready to unveil the refreshed Model 3?
ffiarpg/Reddit

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's recent visit to China, his first in three years, has set the stage for widespread conjecture around the unveiling of the revamped Tesla Model 3. Dubbed Project Highland, this model refresh has been a topic of discussion for some time. Industry insiders believe Musk's significant stop at the Shanghai Gigafactory might be strategically timed to coincide with a potential sneak peek of the new Model 3 design.

Tesla Screen Size Comparison for All Tesla Models, Including Size, Resolution and Aspect Ratio

A good view of all the displays available in a Model S
A good view of all the displays available in a Model S
Tesla

Tesla is a pioneer in the automotive industry, and one of the most defining features of its vehicles is the use of large touchscreens. These screens are a central hub for most vehicle functions, including music, vehicle settings, navigation, and more. Tesla's commitment to a minimalist and user-friendly design is evident through integrating these screens, which have become iconic in electric vehicles.

Between 2012 and 2020, the Model S and Model X were equipped with vertical screens, which stood out due to their impressive size and orientation.

NHTSA Concludes Probe into Tesla's 'Passenger Play': No Recall Sought, Concerns Remain

By Kevin Armstrong
NHTSA closes its investigation into Tesla's 'Passenger Play' feature
NHTSA closes its investigation into Tesla's 'Passenger Play' feature
Cf Tesla/YouTube

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded its investigation into Tesla's 'Passenger Play' feature, stating it will not pursue a recall of the scrutinized vehicles. Passenger Play allowed passengers in the vehicle to play certain games like the Sky Force Reloaded while the vehicle was in motion. Tesla was quick to respond to NHTSA's concerns and issued an update that requires the vehicle to be in park before games can be launched.

The closure of the probe comes amidst continuing concerns over the potential for driver distraction.

Investigation Ends, Still Leaves Room for Future Actions

While NHTSA's conclusion signifies a milestone in Tesla's ongoing scrutiny, it does not entirely absolve the electric vehicle maker. The administration emphasized that the end of the investigation does not mean a safety-related defect doesn't exist. Furthermore, the NHTSA's decision opens the possibility for future action if additional concerns arise.

NHTSA's apprehensions were primarily rooted in Tesla's decision to allow video games to be played on the front center touchscreen of the vehicle while in motion. Having acknowledged these concerns, Tesla voluntarily took action by disabling the 'Passenger Play' feature through an over-the-air software update soon after NHTSA launched its investigation in December 2021.

Tesla's Voluntary Disabling of Feature Commended

The administration confirmed that Tesla reported a 97% completion rate of the software update disabling 'Passenger Play', within a month of its release. The agency lauded Tesla's swift action, which showcased a responsible approach toward ensuring driver safety and mitigating distractions. This action appeared to significantly address NHTSA's concerns, as the agency cited the importance of "affirmative technology-based lockouts" as more effective than merely using labels or disclaimer screens.

Ongoing Scrutiny of Tesla's Autopilot System

Despite the conclusion of this specific probe, Tesla remains under the lens of the NHTSA, which is currently investigating Autopilot. The investigation, covering approximately 830,000 Tesla vehicles, aims to understand better human factors concerning Tesla interfaces and the dynamic driving task.

A History of Safety First

Tesla has always portrayed itself as an automaker that prioritizes safety. From advanced driver assist systems to top-tier safety ratings, the electric car manufacturer has consistently sought to revolutionize transportation safety norms. The swift action in disabling the controversial 'Passenger Play' feature further underscores the company's commitment to road safety and user well-being.

Tesla’s case serves as a potent reminder for all automakers that in-vehicle infotainment devices must balance entertainment and safety. In 2014, the NHTSA issued guidelines encouraging automakers to design in-vehicle devices so the driver can’t use them to perform inherently distracting secondary tasks while driving. As the lines between automobiles and technology blur, the importance of these guidelines will only grow.

Although the 'Passenger Play' investigation has concluded, Tesla’s journey with the NHTSA is far from over. The ongoing probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system indicates that the auto giant will remain under close watch to ensure the highest levels of safety for users and fellow road users alike.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

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