Tesla Motors’ $35,000 factory warranty claim, in a lawsuit filed Monday, seeks to recover damages over the automaker’s claims that a defective battery could kill a person who fell asleep on the job.
Tesla claims it’s a matter of public safety.
The company says it “cannot provide a satisfactory answer” to questions about whether the battery could trigger an accident.
“If the Model S is involved in an accident, it cannot be repaired without causing death,” Tesla said in its filing.
“The Model S was never designed to carry an accident risk and it has never been designed to be able to do so.”
Tesla is seeking to recover $2.7 million in damages from Tesla Motors, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in federal court in Denver.
Tesla alleges that it was negligent in the production of the Model X, which had a lithium-ion battery and a safety feature called “safety cruise.”
The company also alleged that Tesla’s Model S battery could not withstand the rigors of an extended crash.
Tesla has argued that the Model Y, which is more powerful and more capable, would be safe.
On its website, Tesla says it will “work diligently to develop a safer vehicle for our customers.”
It says the Model 3 is designed to meet the “highest standards of safety, durability, and fuel economy” while delivering “up to 40% better fuel economy than its predecessor.”
Tesla said that “it will take at least five years to produce, test, certify, and ship Model 3.”
The Model Y is expected to start shipping next month.
In a statement, Tesla said it “will vigorously defend” its case.
Last week, the automakers announced a partnership with Tesla Motors Inc. to produce electric vehicles, a move that has prompted a backlash from some critics who say the move is a threat to the auto industry and to U.S. manufacturing jobs.