US authorities are currently investigating Tesla amidst allegations that the company may have utilized company funds for a confidential project referred to internally as “Project 42,” reportedly involving accommodations for Elon Musk, the CEO of the electric car manufacturer.
The investigation is being conducted by the US Attorney’s office for the Southern district of New York. The Wall Street Journal has revealed that the focus of the investigation includes personal benefits extended to Musk, the expenses allocated to the project, and its underlying purpose.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US financial regulatory body, has also initiated a civil inquiry into the project, which was internally known as “Project 42.” This project has garnered attention due to its enigmatic nature and potential misuse of company resources.
Notably, the project seems to share similarities with Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, featuring a distinctive twisted hexagonal design on waterfront property adjacent to Tesla’s Austin factory. The envisioned structure has been described as a residence for Musk, raising curiosity about its true purpose.
Images related to “Project 42” have surfaced, showing a prominent glass enclosure that appears to incorporate residential components. Allegedly, Tesla’s legal team and board members became involved in the project discussions after concerns arose among employees regarding a substantial glass order and its intended use.
The exact status of the project and the disposition of the glass order remain unclear, with the Wall Street Journal noting that the investigations are still in their preliminary stages, and potential charges are uncertain.
In response to these developments, queries have been directed towards Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Manhattan US attorney’s office. However, all parties have refrained from providing detailed comments on the matter. The SEC, in particular, has opted to remain silent about the ongoing investigation.
Earlier in the year, the Wall Street Journal had reported Musk’s aspirations to create a Texas community close to his Boring tunneling venture and SpaceX facilities. This proposed “Texas utopia” would provide a living and working space for his employees.
Additionally, recent reports have unveiled another aspect of scrutiny faced by Tesla. Federal prosecutors have commenced an examination into the accuracy of the company’s claims about vehicle performance. This investigation follows allegations that Tesla may have exaggerated the potential driving range of its vehicles.
According to sources, the carmaker established algorithms approximately ten years ago to generate favorable in-dash driving range estimates. The company even formed a “diversion team” to manage appointments related to range concerns, as customers expressed disappointment when their cars failed to meet the advertised estimates.