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Former Tesla engineer claims she was pushed out for raising safety concerns

August 15th, 2018 at 5:16 PM

Just about two months ago, Tesla filed a lawsuit against a former employee named Martin Tripp. According to the complaint, and offhand remarks from Elon Musk, Tripp tried to sabotage the Model 3 production line and even tried to abscond with proprietary company data. Tripp, meanwhile, views himself as a whistle blower of sorts and alleges that Tesla employed questionable tactics in order to increase Model 3 production numbers. What’s more, Tripp boldly claims that Tesla shipped faulty batteries and that the Model 3, as a direct result, is a danger on the road.

Now comes word, via Business Insider, of another former Tesla engineer with her own list of potentially troublesome accusations against the electric automaker. Speaking to BI, former Tesla employee Cristina Balan explained that Tesla tried to dismiss employee complaints regarding waste, quality control, and even safety issues. What’s more, Balan’s telling of the story implies that she was pushed out of the company for bringing said issues to Tesla’s attention.

For what it’s worth, Balan hasn’t worked at Tesla for more than four years, a fact which perhaps makes the timing of the story somewhat peculiar. Pushing that aside, Balan recounts how she and some of her team members brought up concerns regarding design flaws that weren’t being given a sufficient amount of attention.

For instance, her concern about the so-called “rat hole” — a gap she had found in the design of the Model S’s roof headliner that separated the roof from the rest of the car — had been met with what Balan saw as clear resistance from her managers.

Tesla, she claimed, ultimately stuffed a piece of styrofoam in the gap of the $100,000 car to fix it. And while the DIY-sounding solution didn’t present a safety issue, Balan said it did create a rattling noise in some of the vehicles, which customers later complained about.

The full extent of Balan’s story reads right out of a legal thriller, and even involves high stakes arbitration and Balan secretly recording conversations with co-workers. You can check out the full story over here.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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