Electric car company Tesla has recalled about 475,000 (four hundred and seventy-five thousand) cars in the U.S., nearly equivalent to its global deliveries last year, due to technical defects that may increase the risk of accidents.
The company plans to recall all Model 3 vehicles manufactured between 2017 and 2020, a total of about 356,309 (three hundred and fifty-six thousand, three hundred and nine).
A further 119,009 (one hundred and nineteen thousand and nine) Model S vehicles will also be recalled because of potential problems with the front trunk or boot. A Tesla Safety Recall notice issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on December 21 2021, noted that “repeated opening and closing of the trunk lid” may cause excessive wear to a cable that delivers the rear-view camera feed over time.
The NHTSA initiated an inquiry into Tesla’s Passenger Play feature, which was found in 580,000 Model 3, S, and X Teslas between 2017 and 2018. According to the federal agency, the feature allows users to play games on a touch-screen gadget in their automobile, which “may distract the driver and raise the danger of a crash.” While in motion, the game says it is “just for passengers.”
According to the NHTSA, Tesla has discovered 2,305 warranty claims that could be linked to either of the two flaws. However, no connected incidents, injuries, or deaths have been reported. Recall that Tesla is replacing repeater cameras in the front fenders of at least several hundred Model S, X, and three vehicles made in Fremont, California, even though the firm has not yet issued a voluntary recall.
According to internal correspondence, the repeater cameras on some Tesla Model S, X, and three vehicles in the United States have faulty PCBs, known as printed circuit boards. A faulty PCB can cause the cameras to lose “electrical continuity” and fail long before they are expected to require an upgrade or replacement.
Since Tesla has identified an issue with PCBs in the repeater cameras, owners of affected vehicles could be eligible to receive a “goodwill” repair, according to the current Tesla sales manager and a former parts manager, Matthew Petri. A goodwill repair is done on the company’s dime, versus a repair where the customer pays or a warranty agreement that obligates Tesla to provide the repair.
Petri said internal service notices could sometimes precede a voluntary recall. He stated that these notices usually authorize service employees to give a goodwill repair to customers who complain about having to pay to replace apart. While the recall scope is large for Tesla, such callbacks are increasingly routine in the auto industry. According to Chicago-based consulting firm Stout, in 2020, recalls involved more than 300 auto models and affected almost 28 million vehicles, excluding Takata airbag-related recalls.
A federal safety regulator also announced earlier this month that Tesla has agreed to modify the software in its cars to prevent drivers and passengers from playing video games on dashboard screens while the vehicle is in motion.
The agreement came a day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a formal investigation into the Passenger Play game feature. The probe was announced after The New York Times published an article on the games’ possible safety risks this month.
“Tesla told the agency that it is modifying the functionality of this feature following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play,'” the safety agency said in a statement. “When you install a new software update, ‘Passenger Play’ will be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion.”
Safety experts have reprimanded Tesla for allowing the games to be played while the cars were in motion. “There is no way to argue that this isn’t unsafe,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy organization.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating more than two dozen other accidents involving Tesla that were using Autopilot. Since the first incident in 2016, eight more have occurred, resulting in ten deaths, according to the agency.
While the video game feature is unrelated to the Autopilot issues, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expressed concern on Wednesday that Tesla drivers could play games while using Autopilot in the mistaken belief that the car was driving itself.
In using Autopilot of the car, the company advises drivers to retain their hands on the wheel and pay attention to the road. However, it does little to supervise drivers, and data suggests that some drivers frequently disregard its advice and warnings.
Tesla has been incorporating video games into its vehicles for several years. Most can only be played when the car is in the park. However, it updated its cars’ software remotely this summer to make three games available on the large touch screens mounted in the centre of Teslas. Solitaire, Sky Force Reloaded, a jet fighter game, and Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise, a conquering strategy game, were among the games.
Meanwhile, the company’s stock value increased by more than 50% in 2021 after regaining its footing in the second half of the year. After plunging as much as 3% in the morning but rebounding later in the day, the stock is up a quarter of a percent today.
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