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Musk/Tesla Motors lawsuit by former exec dropped

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Updated The lawsuit mounted by former Tesla Motors executive Martin Eberhard against the firm and its chief, renowned hecamillionaire tech-biz kingpin Elon Musk, appears to have been dropped.

The San Jose Business Journal reports this week, quoting Eberhard's lawyer, that the suit was dropped two weeks ago at the former CEO's voluntary request.

Eberhard claimed in the suit, mounted in California's superior court in June, that he had various legitimate grievances against Musk and the company. He said that Musk had slandered him, wrongly blaming Eberhard for delays and cost problems in the development of Tesla's flagship Roadster battery sportscar - for now the firm's sole product.

The Roadster problems saw the car late to market and initially supplied with a sub-spec transmission. At one point the firm became perilously short of cash and was compelled to shed employees.

Eberhard also alleged that his promised "Founder's Series" personal Roadster had been supplied "wrecked".

Both Tesla representatives and Musk personally disparaged the allegations, saying they were "twisted and wrong". The firm informed the Reg at the time that "we welcome the opportunity to set the record straight... Tesla will likely be filing counterclaims and in the process present an accurate account of the company's history."

Musk personally cast doubt even on Eberhard's claim to be a co-inventor of the Roadster, writing that he brought no actual technology to the Tesla Motors party:

When I requested through AC Propulsion to meet Eberhard, he had no technology of his own, he did not have a prototype car and he owned no intellectual property relating to electric cars. All he had was a business plan to commercialize the AC Propulsion Tzero electric sports car concept.

In the two weeks since Eberhard dropped his suit, however, Tesla and Musk have remained silent. This could lead one to speculate that the company has been compelled to reach a financial settlement with Eberhard, or perhaps give him a new Roadster.

The Business Journal could apparently elicit no response from Tesla on the matter. The Reg has also asked for comment from the firm, but received no reply as of publication. If we hear anything, we'll let you know. ®

Update

We've now heard back from a Tesla spokesperson, who said "I can't speculate on why Eberhard dropped his suit."

We followed up (after a few minutes), asking why the firm hadn't announced its apparent victory at the time - after all it has been keen to present its views on the matter up that point - and whether Tesla in fact intends any counter-claim against Eberhard.

We've just received an automated message from the spokesperson saying "I am on vacation".

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