Tesla, the world’s leading electric vehicle platform, has come under fire recently due to investigation via the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This review is about whether or not 2,000 Tesla vehicles should’ve been recalled instead of given a software update to patch the issue. Said issue could have caused unforced battery fires within the vehicle.
This review was opened up after a petition was made, specifically for Tesla’s management of software upgrades in the Model S and Model X vehicles within the years 2012 to 2019. Said petition covers around 2,000 vehicles.
The vehicles involved had recently received a battery management update during the month of May. This was in response to a possible flaw within the system that could cause battery fires outside of a crash situation. The petition that caused the review was filed during the 17th of September, by the California lawyer’s office of Edward C. Chen. This was on behalf of all the Tesla owners partaking in the petition.
The software update is believed to have reduced these cars’ driving range by 25 miles or more. Chen himself said that the possibility that there are more vehicles with this flaw, other than the 200 mentioned, is very likely.
Back in August this year, Chen proposed a class-action lawsuit against Tesla on behalf of a Tesla car owner. With this lawsuit, Chen claimed that Tesla knew that a few vehicle batteries were defective, but opted out of a full recall. Instead, they delivered software updates to mitigate risks, causing consumers with working car models to suffer an overall loss in the Tesla automotive’s performance.
The lawsuit specifically alleges that Tesla’s aim was to avoid the monetary impact of replacing the warranty batteries with new, fully functioning ones. This was done by introducing a software-induced limitation on their Tesla vehicles, both on the battery charging itself and other systems that ultimately make the battery charge at a slower rate.
The lawsuit cites over a dozen reports of Tesla vehicles catching fire as justification for this allegation.
Tesla has been remaining rather tight-lipped about the recent review and has given no official response in court about the class-action lawsuit.
However, when a Model S caught fire in Hong Kong, Tesla released a statement that they were revising both the charge and thermal management options within their vehicles. This would be done via a software update they claim to be out of extreme caution.
They cited the goal of this update to protect the battery’s lifespan and protect the batter in general.
In recent news, Tesla has made headlines with its new Model 3, making record sales in the European market, dominating its competitors in the electric vehicle niche.