Fired Tesla Employee Says He’s A Whistleblower, Not A Saboteur

Tesla is going after an employee for alleged sabotage and industrial espionage. But the dismissed technician says he’s a whistleblower trying to bring the company’s misconduct to light.

Martin Tripp worked as a process at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada from October of last year until he was fired on Wednesday. According to the company’s allegations, Tripp stole records of its intellectual property and installed damaging software on its computers that would continue to wreak havoc long after he was kicked out.

Declaring that “a few bad apples will not stop Tesla from reaching its goals,” CEO Elon Musk directed his legal department to file a civil complaint against Tripp in federal court. According to the suit filed by electric vehicle manufacturer, Tripp “admitted to writing software that hacked Tesla’s manufacturing operating system (‘MOS’) and to transferring several gigabytes of Tesla data to outside entities” and “ wrote computer code to periodically export Tesla’s data off its network and into the hands of third parties.”

Ars Technica reports that Tripp admitted to his actions when confronted by internal investigators. But Tripp paints a different picture. “I am being singled out for being a whistleblower,” he told CNN. “I didn’t hack into system. The data I was collecting was so severe, I had to go to the media.” The dismissed employee alleges that Tesla installed damaged batteries in new Model 3 cars delivered to customers, has misrepresented the number of vehicles it’s made, and has been improperly storing potentially hazardous scrap material.

According to Tripp, as a process technician, he didn’t have access to the systems that Tesla says he corrupted. But Tesla portrays Tripp as a disgruntled former employee with poor job performance who expressed anger at being reassigned instead of getting the promotion he was after. For his part, Tripp denies the allegations. But with the matter now being brought to court, the truth of the matter may yet come to light.

more photos...
  • iea96

    This is turning into a shitshow

    • Alfa Giulia QV

      It’s always been a shitshow but I still find it entertaining.

    • Stephen G

      You just described anything that involves human beings.

  • Steve

    Tesla has huge Problems with the manufacturing of the Model 3. Musk constantly pushing deadlines for months and months. The pressure is so high that he even set up a “night camp” in the factory for a while. He is running out of money and needs to keep Wall Street satisfied…
    So, do I believe that he deliberately installed damaged batteries in cars just to keep delivery dates?
    I think he would go much further just to keep this mess afloat.

    • Tesla shares are close to record height. That’s not really an indicator for a company that’s about to go bankrupt, is it? Or everyone else is stupid, but the Internet commentators?

      • Matthew Boyd

        You must think there aren’t intelligent people people looking at car news… Anyone can read a weekly stock report and your right Tesla stock recently went up, but there’s a reason why. Musk recently announce new projected numbers for the model 3. Let me ask you a question, how long were Tesla stock at an all time low? Also, why would you brag about a one month increase in stock price like it’s set in stone? If he doesn’t meet the new number he’s put out for model 3 production, which he’s famous for over promising, what do you think will happen to their shares? It’s funny how the articles about the legal battle between a former employee and you bypass it to talk about a 2-3 week high in shares. Sounds similar to someone else… just saying. Stay on topic or the car community will call you out on it bro.

        • Auf Wiedersehen

          Right? I mean it’s kinda like someone bragging about working for Audi, when it had nothing to do with the article or comments. Kinda like that…bro. Stay on topic…. Bwhahaha!

          • Matthew Boyd

            Now you’re trolling. You kept trying to tell me what TFSI meant. Me telling you that I don’t need to look it up due to my background is relevant to the conversation. We can make this a two player game if you’d like, but I’m on here for automotive news. For all I know I might be talking to a kid right now, especially if you have the time to go searching for my comments when we were talking about Audi the other day.

          • Auf Wiedersehen

            Trolling? That’s such an over-used word it has lost it’s meaning. And searching? Ha, don’t flatter yourself…it’s called RSS feed delivering to my inbox. Like me, you just seem to be very active on the comments. I just found it ironic you commenting on someone bragging about something that is irrelevant to the article after bragging about your time at Audi. It wasn’t relevant to a conversation(comments) between two other people not needing your input. He asked, I answered, we didn’t need a “supposed” former Audi employee to clear up any non-existent confusion. You inserted your bragging into a reply that wasn’t needed. In fact Mr. Kokaine’s comment was not a brag, but fact. You just saw an opportunity the other day to let others know you “supposedly” worked at Audi for an illustrious 4 year career and know the ins and outs of Audi naming conventions and technology. Don’t call someone else for bragging when you do it yourself, bro.

          • Matthew Boyd

            Yeah…like I said, you’re a TROLL bro. Move on with your day and stop worrying about what I post. You’re just mad because I made you look like you didn’t know what you were talking about in the comments for the RS7 article. Get a life of your own instead of trying so hard to be a part of mine…Now back to cars, because that’s what I’m here for, not for someone to follow me from post to post stalker.

          • Auf Wiedersehen

            Hahahaha! If you knew how to use the internet you’d know you can see any comments to your comments. I’m frankly disappointed in your ability to use technology and now see why your Audi career was so short. Ineptitude. But, whatever helps you sleep at night…Bro!

          • Matthew Boyd

            What are you laughing at? All you did was prove you’re a troll. Insult your own intelligence not mine, anyone with common sense knows you can see someone else who comments on yours…What you did was different, you searched for me because I made you feel stupid in another article so you sought some revenge of sort and commented on my comment on an entirely different article. So are you telling the readers and myself that if we comment on any article, you get notifications? Or are you revealing to readers that you’re caught in a lie because you followed me to another comment section, found my comment to another reader, and wrote to me airing your grievances because you were hurt from the RS7 article? Exactly.

            I told you this is a two way road. I can make you feel as stupid as you’d like until you leave me alone and learn your lesson for stalking people online. Besides, who follows a person from article to article, commenting on their comments to another reader, and not even the actual article? You’re in this article and none of your comments are on the article, just attacking me. Want proof, go back and read your comments. I’m hear talking about Tesla and you jump in my business talking to someone else like CPT. save a hoe. Keep this up with me and I’ll keep jabbing back at you until you learn your lesson and move on. I look at car news everyday outside of being away for training.

          • Auf Wiedersehen

            ” So are you telling the readers and myself that if we comment on any article, you get notifications?”

            No moron! It’s called and RSS Feed. Google it! Now stop harassing me!

      • Steve

        Tesla’s market Value is 61,5 Billion! Ford’s market Value is 47 Billion. Tesla sold around 300,000 cars all together since 2015 while Ford produced 6,6 Million cars in 2017 alone.
        Just because half the world is gambling on Tesla it doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy company.
        Back in march it was downgraded to B3 and burns cash faster than a Space X Falcon Rocket fuel.

        • Funny you mention Space X, as critics were forecasting doomsday for that company as well. Now it’s the only private space company in the world to provide affordable rockets, and to help NASA. Tesla made similar breakthroughs in its own territory, it’s just natural that they are having problems. There is no successful business without risk and ups and downs.

          • Steve

            That is absolutely true. Musk achieved a lot in many different areas but it doesn’t mean that he can not fail.
            Many years have passed since he started with Tesla and this gave “traditional” car companies a lot of time to do R&D on their own electric cars. In China, Japan and even here in Europe, there are many different electric cars already. Governmental pressure forces car companies to ramp up development and produce electric cars in quantities in the next 2-3 year.
            The big andvantage for the other manufacturers is that they can make money with ther combustion engined cars and channel that in to the “Electric Revolution”. The debt on Tesla is already huge and it’s harder and harder to get fresh money. As soon as established car makers offer similar or better equipped/made cars for the same price, Tesla will have even more trouble selling it’s cars.

          • That’s exactly why Tesla is burning cash and people seem to be shocked by this. It’s a fresh company in the massive development stage, of course it needs a lot of investment before it can start making profit. For me as a big supporter of clean and modern cities the most important part is to have electric vehicles everywhere. The more companies investing in this, the better, I don’t care how much profit Tesla can make.
            It’s important noting that the Gigafactory is a major advantage of Tesla. If you wish to buy batteries for whatever purpose (fitting an old car with electric engine), the cheapest and most energy dense batteries are coming from Tesla. This is why they are able to produce cars at such affordable prices, even if they lack of production experience.

          • Stephen G

            Tesla will always be first on the list of an electric car shopper.

          • 2sfhim

            Now, maybe. Not next year.

    • TheBelltower

      And Wall Street is very satisfied, because Tesla has hundreds of thousands of orders that they are ramping up production to accommodate. I’d like to know how a technician would be privy to any information to suggest otherwise. The reality is, every manufacturer has issues with new product launches. With an automotive company that’s been producing cars for only the past six years (not including the roadster,) I’m sure that these problems are more pronounced. It’s not helpful to have a problem loudmouth employee squawking about every issue as he’s on the way out the door. Even if this employee is 100% accurate, which I don’t believe for a second, he’s still nothing more than the kind of irritant that no one wants in their company. He should be prosecuted.

      • Steve

        And as soon as one of the damaged batteries out of those 1000 cars catches fire and kills someone, the NTSB get’s that guy out of jail again. That’s for sure. It’s 50 kWhs charged day by day… you can’t just put it in a sand bag like a Samsung Note 7 when it starts to burn.

        • Stephen G

          What is a “damaged battery”? Do you seriously think that Tesla would sell a car to someone knowing the battery was going to explode? With the (stupid) eyes on the company that would be suicide And what is “potentially hazardous. scrap metal”? The plastic knife you get at McDonald’s to cut your pancakes with is potentially hazardous.

          • disqus_CRkG23jjbo

            just leaving this here….ford pinto

          • Stephen G

            Don’t believe the hype. This was another BS crusade of Ralph Nader’s to preserve his “career” (aka keeping cash flowing in): “Reports range from 27 to 180 deaths as a result of rear-impact related fuel tank fires in the Pinto, but given the volume of more than 2.2 million vehicles sold, the death rate was not substantially different from that of vehicles made by competitors.” Popular Mechanics May 2011.

          • 2sfhim

            Lol. As if Takata didn’t choose to produce millions of defective airbags.

          • Stephen G

            I’m sure they did. VW too. You can’t assume that everybody out there is out to stick it to you. I don’t believe that about Tesla. Too many eyes watching.

  • Matthew Boyd

    The tracker is a estimation, how exactly accurate it is, no one knows but Tesla. All information comes from the horses mouth so to speak, and thats all the public can go on. He’s done his part to keep the shareholders happy following their recent meeting, but keep in mind there was a few of them that wanted him removed from power at Tesla because they felt he was sabotaging the company due to his leadership style. You’re right about being patient. Only time will tell how this pans out. Tesla has a lot going for them, but the only sore thumb of the company seems to be Musk twitter account. The more he stays out of the media, the better, and of course that’s my subjective thinking, but when you start worrying about articles from some non-reputable news sources claiming things about your company, if their not true, leave them alone. Thats what makes sense to me. The fact that he speaks on the allegations only gives them light and makes him and the company look bad. Higher a PR person because Musk isn’t trained in handling the onslaught of the media, whether their right or wrong. From what I remember, he loved the media when everything was going right with Tesla, but now he hates them when his former employees go to them to tell what’s really going on. A few lies, yes, but all of them lying…no. i gotta get to work 🙁

  • TheToadPrince..~~ToadSquad

    poor biz meaning poor managment.

  • krusshall

    I don’t recall any damning data being released to the media and disseminated other than someone claiming Tesla was putting damaged batteries in Model 3s.

    • Stephen G

      You’re right. This guy is just a pissed off employee that wants more than he deserves.

  • READING THE COMMENTS IT AMAZES ME HOW MANY PEOPLE WANT TESLA TO FAIL NOT TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION WITHOUT TESLA COMPANIES LIKE PORSCHE WOULDN’T BE MAKING THE EFFORT.

    • LeStori

      Only the deluded would think Tesla is the reason electric cars are slowly becoming viable. When you are a nobody you can try pie-in-the-sky things easier than established brands who need to have a viable profitable business model . If a company like Porsche, for example, got into EVs too soon it would have been a loss making adventure just like Tesla. Better to continue selling profitable cars and keeping an eye on when it was best to change to EVs.

      Many if not most automotive companies have been working on EV techology well before Tesla even existed. They just could not make a profit selling them. Neither can Tesla at the moment. In the last quarter Tesla “burned” US $745.3 Million in real money. No sensible CEO is going to put their viable, profitable company into such a loss making process as EVs with out a sensible plan. To do so would mean large job losses and potential bankruptcy and very unhappy shareholders.

      Tesla is pie-in-the-sky. Funded by those with expectations not realised, and maybe never realised.

      • I NEVER SUGGESTED PORSCHE OR ANY OTHER COMPANY SHOULD STOP SELLING GAS/DIESEL (PROFITABLE) CARS BUT NOW THEY’RE SCRAMBLING TO CATCH UP, THAT CAN’T BE DENIED. I REMEMBER SITTING IN AN EV-1 AT THE CAR SHOW IN THE ’90’S. WHILE THE PROSPECT WAS EXCITING NOTHING CAME OF IT. TESLA STEPS IN WITH A SEVEN SEAT (EV-1 HAD TWO) GOOD LOOKING AND FAST CAR THAT CAR COMPANIES ARE TRIPPING OVER THEMSELVES TO DUPLICATE. NOT TO MENTION THE SUPERCHARGER INFRASTRUCTURE.

        PIE IN THE SKY? ABSOLUTELY BUT UNLESS YOU’RE INVESTING IN TESLA STOCK I SAY LET HIM DO IT.

  • LJ

    This doesn’t sound like whistleblowing, it sounds like a disgruntled employee who got caught doing something he shouldn’t have been.

  • Stephen G

    So many paranoid conspiracy theorists out there.

  • EM1

    I would trust CNN with my used toilet paper.

  • EM1

    Harry, go back to bed.

  • Perry F. Bruns

    “Martin Tripp worked as a process at Tesla’s Gigafactory…”

    What?

  • benT

    Problem for whistleblowers is that they need to prove actual company deliberately does wrong or at least does not rectify. Otherwise whistleblower maybe in deep trouble. With the ratio of crackpots to sanity being what it is today then there is a big issue in that.

  • dawyer

    Actually he is a AI corporate spy. One of escaped from Amazon warehouse robot. Really Humanized design!

  • Beelzaboot teriaksun

    10/10 no one will hire Martin Tripp ever again. I wouldn’t, because he’s a man who obviosuly cannot be trusted

Semi Hits Two Overpasses In One Minute Before Losing Container

There’s a reason why signs with maximum height restrictions exist – but this driver didn’t take notice.

2018 Honda Clarity Is A Good PHEV With Some Quirks, Says Consumer Reports

The weird gear selector is very confusing, and things become noisy once the ICE kicks in.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye By Hennessey Gets A Whooping 1,035HP

The Demon might have been discontinued, but its spirit lives on in this Hennessey-prepped Redeye.

2019 Holden Trax Doesn’t Impress, But It’s Still A Nicely Sorted Package

More than six years after it was unveiled, the Chevrolet/Holden Trax is still an interesting purchase.

Lamborghini Espada Hot Rod Says It Loud: It’s WIDE And It’s Proud

Danton Arts Kustoms and Carrosserie Herve have celebrated the Espada’s 50th birthday by making a hot rod.

710 HP BMW M4 Shakes Its Hips On Wet Tarmac, Parades Giant Wing

This BMW M4 Coupe seems like a well sorted package, except for that extremely large wing.

2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition Going Up For Auction With A Gulf Livery

Forget the lawyers, Ford’s auctioning off a 2019 GT and won’t sue everyone this time around.

Subaru Launches South Africa’s Most Powerful WRX STi To Date

Built to celebrate STI’s 30th anniversary, the new WRX STI Diamond Edition will be limited to just 30 examples.

Study Shows Automatic Braking Systems Reduce Rear-End Collisions By 43 Percent

Forward collision warning systems might not be as flashy as autonomous driving tech, but they’re highly effective.

Donald Trump Holding Off On Auto Tariffs – For Now…

Trump will await the findings of a report about imports’ impact on national security before making a decision.