Alarming allegations against Tesla claim that the electric automaker sold cars with batteries that it knew could spontaneously combust, back in 2012.

That was the year that the company was in a frantic rush to meet production goals for the Model S, its first all-electric sedan. As Tesla sprinted to get the Model S out the door, trouble emerged on the production line, Business Insider reports: Its battery-cooling system occasionally cracked and leaked, a problem that could make batteries short or even explode.

Tesla knew about the problems, according to internal documents and sources familiar with the matter who spoke to BI. And yet it sold the cars anyway.

Tesla manufactured several Model S components out of an aluminum that was particularly susceptible to cracking, according to the investigation. When it cracked and coolant spilled onto a battery pack, it would eat away at the batteries, rendering them useless or potentially triggering a dangerous explosion. The kinds of battery coolant used by electric automakers leaves behind a flammable residue as it evaporates, making it a serious fire hazard.

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