The German government wants Tesla Motors Inc. to stop using the term “Autopilot” in its advertising, claiming the word is misleading and potentially dangerous.
Germany’s Transportation Ministry confirmed it asked Tesla to change the wording, according to sources on sunday.
“In order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers’ expectations, we demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system,” the ministry said in a letter, Reuters reported.
On Friday, Germany’s Federal Motor Authocapabilities.tters to Tesla owners warning them to use extreme caution with the Autopilot feature, which it has called a “considerable traffic hazard” by lulling drivers into a false sense of security.
Tesla’s Autopilot has been the subject of much controversy since a fatal accident in Florida in May in which the driver-assistance feature was engaged. Tesla has stressed that its Autopilot feature does not allow for fully autonomous driving, and that drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and stay alert. In September, Tesla updated Autopilot’s software to improve safety, switching from cameras to radar as the primary sensor system.
In other Tesla news, founder and CEO Elon Musk said Sunday that the mysterious upcoming product reveal, scheduled for Monday, will be pushed back to Wednesday.
It’s unknown what the new product will be, though some have speculated it could be the next generation of Autopilot, with more sensors to provide more semi-autonomous capabilities.
Meanwhile; Robert Murray, CEO of coal-mining giant Murray Energy Corp., went on CNBC to take a stab at Elon Musk and Tesla Motors for reaping taxpayer subsidies and failing to make enough profit.
Murray also turned to the topic of climate change saying “by the way, you could close down every coal-fired plant in the United States today, and you would not affect the temperature of the earth at all,” he said.
Musk initially tweeted out a link of the interview before sharing his rebuttal saying “Real fraud going on is denial of climate science. As for “subsidies”, Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Musk has taken to Twitter to tangle with his critics on the thorny issue of subsidies. Earlier this year, he went after fellow billionaires the Koch brothers for their renewed effort to go after electric cars.
Kochs Plotting Multi-Million-Dollar Assault On a new group could spend $10 million a year.
Tesla shares were up 3% in early Monday trading, though they are still down for the year.
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