The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered a large recall of around 2.2 million electric vehicles in the United States, which is a significant development for the industry leader in electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla. The recall is brought about by the finding that some instrument panel warning lights have text sizes that are not compliant with federal regulations.
During a regular safety compliance assessment conducted by the NHTSA last month, the agency discovered that the text on crucial warning lights—such as those for the brake, park, and antilock brakes—was not as large as required by federal regulations. This disparity raises worries about a possible compromise in drivers’ capacity to effectively and rapidly understand warning information, thus increasing the likelihood of accidents.
The recall encompasses a wide range of Tesla models, spanning from the Model S (model years 2012-2023) to the Cybertruck (model year 2024). Fortunately, Tesla has opted for a convenient resolution by issuing an over-the-air (OTA) update, sparing customers the inconvenience of physically bringing their EVs to dealers or repair shops.
While no injuries or crashes have been reported in connection with this font size issue, Tesla has acknowledged three warranty claims that may be linked to the problem. This recall comes on the heels of a previous large-scale recall in December, where Tesla addressed an Autopilot-related issue using a similar OTA update.
In addition to font size concerns, the NHTSA is currently intensifying its investigation into steering issues across more than 334,000 Tesla vehicles. The agency initiated the probe last July after receiving 12 reports of steering control loss in 2023 Model Y and Model 3 EVs. With 115 complaints since then, including one linked to a crash, the NHTSA’s engineering analysis could bring the investigation closer to a recall.
Despite these challenges, Tesla’s ability to resolve issues through OTA updates showcases the agility of its technology and its commitment to providing effective solutions for its customers in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle landscape.