Report: Feds Are Investigating Tesla's Secret 'Project 42'

Sources tell 'Wall Street Journal' that project was described as a glass house for Elon Musk
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2023 7:29 AM CDT
Report: Feds Are Investigating Tesla's Secret 'Project 42'
Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. .   (AP Photo/ Benjamin Fanjoy, File)

Federal prosecutors in New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into a secret Tesla project known internally as "Project 42," sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reported last month that the project was described internally as a glass-walled house for CEO Elon Musk near Austin, Texas, with one concept showing a "structure in the shape of a twisted hexagon on waterfront land with Tesla's factory in the background" and another showing a glass cube. The Journal's sources say investigators want to know how much was spent on the project and whether it was a personal benefit for Musk. The investigations are in the early stages and may not lead to formal accusations, the sources say.

The SEC requires companies to disclose transactions over $120,000 when an executive officer has a material interest, the Journal notes. Companies are also required to inform investors about personal benefits over $10,000 received by senior execs. According to the Journal's July report, Tesla board members raised concerns after an order was placed for specialized glass worth millions of dollars. It's not clear whether the order for the glass went through, or whether the company has completed its internal investigation, Engadget reports.

The Journal's sources say federal prosecutors are also seeking information on the driving range of Tesla's vehicles. Last month, a Reuters investigation alleged that the company had "rigged" its software to deliver inflated estimates of how far a vehicle could travel on a full battery, and created a "Diversion Team" to persuade Tesla owners to cancel service appointments related to range concerns. (More Tesla stories.)

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