Update: A Tesla spokesperson has issued the following statement in response to Tripp's allegations:
"These claims are false and Tripp does not even have personal knowledge about the safety claims that he is making. No punctured cells have ever been used in any Model 3s in any way, and all VINs that have been identified have safe batteries"
It would be very easy to prove or disprove if Tripp is lying: just find one of the VINned cars, and check its batter module.
Shortly after posting the tweets, Tripp was slapped with a twelve-hour suspension by Twitter and some tweets were deleted. In a direct message (he can still use DMs) he told Gizmodo that he believes it was because at least one photo contained “an email [address] with Elon’s name.”
Tripp showed a screenshot of the notification Twitter sent him and it does list the reason for his temporary suspension as violating its policies against posting private information.
“You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.”
Below is the image that contained Musk’s name beside an email address with the address redacted:
As Gizmodo notes, Tripp found himself as an example of how quickly Twitter is capable of responding to a violation of its policies if it wants to, while the social networks CEO is doing publicity 24/7 to explain how hard it was to suspend Alex Jones. Although, as the article asks, it would be interesting to find out if Twitter is capable of evaluating violations as quickly "when the personal information belongs to someone who’s not a billionaire."
* * *
If Tesla's PR department thought today's reported SEC subpoenas and 'formal' investigation transition by the regulator would be the worst of its problems, they got a very unpleasant surprise when Tesla whistleblower Martin Tripp started tweeting photos, internal emails, and Vehicle Identification Numbers of Model 3s that allegedly have damaged or punctured battery packs in them, and which he says are evidence of flawed manufacturing practices at Tesla's battery factory, and could put drivers' lives at risk.
One month ago, we reported that Martin Tripp - the former Tesla engineer who on June 20 was sued by Tesla for allegedly trying to "sabotage" the company - and who subsequently turned out to be a whistleblower who was fired in retaliation for his attempts to warn Tesla execs of severe quality control production problems, was alleging several egregious safety violations that, if true, would likely destroy what remains of Musk's tattered credibility, which the SEC is currently subpoenaing.
As part of his now public whistleblowing effort to bring attention to glaring lapses in Tesla's safety and quality control process, Tripp alleged that Tesla made misstatements to investors about placing batteries with puncture holes into vehicles which proceeded to the end of the assembly line - a process known internally at Tesla as “Containment AR622” -to help pad out its Model 3 production numbers in pursuit of Musk's goal of producing 5,000 Model 3s a week.
Tripp made some other striking accusations, among which that Tesla:
- Overstated to investors the number of Model 3 vehicles being produced each week by as much as 44%. The whistelblower alleges that the famed factory board which reflects a daily Model 3 production count and often referred to by Tesla is inflated;
- Lowered vehicle specifications impacting upon safety such as placing battery cells too close to one another and which were not properly affixed, risking future combustion; and
- Systematically reused parts already deemed scrap/waste in vehicles without regard to safety.
He also accused Tesla of placing battery cells too close together and not properly securing them, raising the risk of future combustion, as well as "systematically" reusing parts that had been deemed to be scrap or waste.
A few days after Tripp's allegations emerged,we reported that in a surprising public address on Twitter, Stuart Meissner, who was retained as Tripp's counsel to defend against Tesla's lawsuit against him and to countersue, tweeted in response to a Forbes article "Will Tesla Be 'Tripp'ed' Up By A Whistleblower", that it was "time for the @SEC_Enforcement to act. Not an accident @elonmusk has been silent on the allegations. Let sunshine be the cleanser for $TSLA"
Well, with Musk doing most of Tripp's work for him, and now that the SEC is investigating Tesla for an entirely different matter altogether, namely Musk's seemingly fraudulent tweet that he had "secured funding" to take Tesla private, just after 5pm EDT, on his twitter account, Martin Tripp tweeted "are you ready"...
Are you ready?— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
... and proceeded to release a list of VIN numbers that allegedly have a battery "module(s) that IS punctured/dented/damaged."
Cont... pic.twitter.com/WMTKyqOBAj— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
and still more... pic.twitter.com/UncuivDtHw— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
and... pic.twitter.com/ifbYoBGHT0— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
What do faulty Model 3 battery modules looks like before and after being "reworked"? Here is the answer:
Here's what many of your M3 modules look like before and after, because they are generally reworked! Aren't they beautiful? pic.twitter.com/QyoM0K2ozf— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
Tripp then released information on what Tesla's "Containment AR622" process looks like, described as "Puncturing of cell due to "training pin" being left in picker robot. Qty 1,173 battery modules affected- 723 Model 3's currently affected."
There was more. In the next series of tweets, Tripp tweeted pictures that he claims prove Tesla is storing waste or scrap in open parking lots and trucks at the Gigafactory, rather than temperature-controlled warehouses. He also shared screen shots of graphics that he says show a high volume of waste at the factory. Tripp explicitly accused Tesla of lying that all the "scrap/waste is being stored in climate controlled warehouses", saying "this be true?! Let these pics speak for themselves:"
Hmmm.. #TSLA commented several times that all their scrap/waste is being stored in climate controlled warehouses...could this be true?! Let these pics speak for themselves: HUNDREDS of trailers at the new parking lot at GF1... pic.twitter.com/4Agz80j5Ow— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
Scrap cont... pic.twitter.com/p6ILl8TJv5— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
and more! pic.twitter.com/FUaRjNQNLA— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
and more.... ughhhh the LIES!!! pic.twitter.com/bSUcTlXeRe— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
He then lays out details of what appears to be module scrap data by part:
Tripp wasn't finished, and next revealed screengrabs of internal emails, showing orders from above to strop tracking of parts... ...
... as well as an email in which he complains directly to Musk about the quality process at Gigafactory 1, as well as communication with a supervisor who demands to see Tripp's complaints as he is "the one getting fired":
Here's ONE of my emails to Elon, and a demand to see it from the 'guy that was going to be standing in front of him'. It was just so well known how shitty everything at GF1 was/still is pic.twitter.com/67R2kyBnMG— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
Tripp also shows a photo from GF1 of cooling tubes that "should" be straight, yet appear to have bends in them:
These are cooling tubes that 'should' be straight...nah, we can use them all bent! pic.twitter.com/1bMbHrgLVR— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
In a detour, Tripp then said that "These fucking idiots at Tesla $TSLA $TSLAQ @elonmusk were saying I was upset I didn't get a promotion. Here's the truth: I was planning on retiring in TWO years! I wanted young kids out of college to take my job and just tear stators down all day!"
These fucking idiots at Tesla $TSLA $TSLAQ @elonmusk were saying I was upset I didn't get a promotion. Here's the truth: I was planning on retiring in TWO years! I wanted young kids out of college to take my job and just tear stators down all day!— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
Here's a spreadsheet I made back in December I believe to figure out exactly how many working days I had left. I would should this to EVERYBODY (except my boss at the time): pic.twitter.com/3ZlcZxli4O— Martin Tripp (@trippedover) August 15, 2018
And while Tripp's revelatory tweeting continued - much to Musk's chagrin - even just the allegations so far presented are damning, and if confirmed by third parties and regulators that Tesla knowingly sold cars with defective battery modules and other parts, would result in not only giant fines but potentially prison time for those involved in the decision process.
Conveniently, this is all hitting just as the SEC has finally woken up and is looking into what really takes place at Tesla.