Ex Tesla Engineer Cristina Balan
Ex-Tesla engineer Cristina Balan sues for defamation, claims safety flaws in Cybertruck. Cristina Balan Twitter

Safety concerns have clouded Tesla's Cybertruck rollout. A recently surfaced drone footage has captured a backlog of unfinished trucks at the Texas factory, adding to worries raised by an insider who revealed severe safety issues during development.

News of Tesla pausing Cybertruck deliveries due to reported gas pedal safety concerns aligns with worries expressed by a former company insider. According to Cristina Balan, an ex-Tesla engineer, safety concerns with gas and brake pedals that she raised a decade ago regarding the Model S may resurface in the Cybertruck.

This month's incident involving a Cybertruck driver reporting brake failure during a turn, followed by airbag malfunction and collision, raises concerns echoed by Balan. Currently engaged in a defamation lawsuit against Tesla, Balan claims safety issues have intensified since she departed.

Balan noted that current sources within Tesla have raised serious safety concerns with her. These concerns are reflected by a recent incident in Texas, where a Cybertruck owner described the vehicle as a "deathtrap" after the gas pedal cover allegedly became lodged, causing unintended acceleration.

Balan's disclosures about safety concerns align with recent drone footage capturing a backlog of unfinished Cybertrucks at the Texas factory. This incident coincides with Musk's announcement that about 14,000 Tesla workers will be laid off, citing sluggish electric vehicle sales.

Tesla vs. Former Engineer Over Safety and Defamation

Balan, a former senior computer-aided design (CAD) engineer who joined Tesla's Fremont, California, factory in 2010, is in a legal dispute with the company. She alleges the lawsuit stems from her attempts to address a safety concern with the Tesla Model S.

According to Balan, poorly designed floor mats in the Tesla Model S could curl under the brake pedals, potentially hindering a driver's ability to slow down. This concern echoes reports of Cybertruck owners experiencing unintended acceleration due to allegedly loose gas pedal covers.

Balan told DailyMail.com that current Tesla employees and others who have contacted her with safety concerns have indicated they intend to address the issues internally. She believes her ongoing legal dispute with Tesla, spanning a decade and encompassing wrongful termination and defamation claims, could discourage other employees from raising safety concerns about the Cybertruck.

"People, good engineers, are afraid to say something is wrong because they know that they will go on the same track I was," Balan said. Balan prevailed in a wrongful termination lawsuit against Tesla, but the company later made public accusations that she misused company resources for an undisclosed project.

If true, these accusations could constitute embezzlement, a crime under US law. Meanwhile, some Tesla customers have received messages about cancellations of their Cybertruck delivery appointments. The reason cited is an unspecified delay in vehicle preparation.

Cybertruck Deliveries Delayed: Tesla Cites Parts Issues

Tesla representatives have informed customers that they are working on resolving the problem and obtaining improved parts as soon as possible. However, the company did not mention an exact timeframe for the resolution. Notably, some messages suggest a potential delay beyond April 20.

Moreover, the drone footage shows ongoing construction efforts to expand Tesla's Giga factory near Austin, Texas. Aside from this, the footage shows several Cybertrucks parked near the facility, possibly related to the reported parts shortages.

Based on her background and the information she has received, Balan suggests some Tesla engineers might be pushing for solutions to safety concerns with the Cybertruck, even if it puts their jobs at risk.

"From my experience, and my team's experience, I can assure you that at one point, one engineer or manager tried to fix it," she told DailyMail.com. "The amount of threatening and the attacks on the engineers expanded if they found an issue or a problem. This is how the mentality of Tesla is."

Balan, a single mother who has been battling breast cancer while raising her 14-year-old son for the past two years, is again facing Tesla in court. This time, the case is before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, where Balan and her lawyers challenge a Tesla-imposed arbitration order they believe is biased.

They argue this biased order prevents Balan from pursuing her defamation and libel lawsuit against the electric vehicle manufacturer.