Whichever version is true, Tesla's falling out with the NTSB is not a good thing for the company going forward.
"They repeatedly released partial bits of incomplete information to the media in violation of their own rules, at the same time that they were trying to prevent us from telling all the facts", said the Tesla spokesperson.
On 12 April, Tesla came under more pressure from regulators and consumer groups for its response to a deadly crash in California of a Tesla vehicle operating on Autopilot, the name the company uses for an enhanced cruise control system. Wife of man who died in Tesla crash gives emotional interview to I-TeamThe 38-year-old died March 23 in a fiery Tesla crash in Mountain View on his way to work. In a March 30 blog post, Tesla said that the Model X driver's hands weren't on the steering wheel for six seconds prior to the fatal crash.
In revealing those details-and effectively blaming the driver when the investigation has barely begun-Tesla violated its agreement with the NTSB, which requires all parties to keep quiet and let it do the talking.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt relayed the decision in a call to Tesla's Elon Musk that was described as tense by the person because the chief executive officer was unhappy with the safety board's action.
This comes after the NTSB said it revoked Tesla's party status in the investigation regarding the fatal crash involving one of Tesla's Model X cars. The company said the "only" explanation for the crash was "if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road, despite the auto providing multiple warnings to do so".
Tesla remains a party to other ongoing investigations the NTSB is running, including a Model X crash in August 2017, and a Model S crash in January of this year. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware.
The NTSB has three pending probes into Tesla crashes.
Tesla's initial statement announcing its withdrawal did not disclose that the NTSB was revoking its status.
There was some back and forth between Tesla and the NTSB on why the electric auto maker was removed from the investigation and whether it had chosen to leave or not.
The NTSB's action means Tesla may not gain access to some information obtained by the agency's investigators before it is made public, but frees the company to vigorously defend the Autopilot technology.
It was the third time the company has commented on the Huang incident.
Tesla was proud to share that the company had just wrapped up its most successful quarterly sales yet with a total figure of 34,494 vehicles sold.
Musk had said: "Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving auto is likely to be several times that of a vehicle which is not".