Tesla, the electric vehicle giant, is facing another challenge as it recalls more than 120,000 vehicles in the United States. The recall stems from a safety concern about doors on specific models that could unexpectedly open during crashes, affecting select 2021 through 2023 Model S and Model X vehicles. The problem, as reported in a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was discovered during recent testing, where engineers observed a cabin door unlatching after impact on the non-struck side.
According to Tesla, the malfunction arises from the absence of the lockout functionality, which was inadvertently excluded from the affected vehicles through software updates released in late September 2021. This omission means that the impacted cars fail to meet federal safety standards for side-impact protection, highlighting a critical lapse in the company’s quality control process.
While Tesla stated it is “unaware of any warranty claims or injuries relating to this condition,” the company is taking proactive measures to address the issue. A free over-the-air software update has been deployed to affected vehicles, with notifications scheduled to reach owners by February 17, 2024. However, the NHTSA, having received the software update only recently, has yet to evaluate its effectiveness.
This incident follows closely on the heels of another significant recall by Tesla, where almost all of its US vehicles were called back due to concerns with the Autopilot feature. The recall, encompassing about 2 million Tesla vehicles, resulted from a two-year NHTSA investigation that revealed shortcomings in the driver-assistance system’s ability to prevent misuse.
In response, Tesla is offering a free software update to specific models equipped with Autosteer, spanning Model S (2012-2023), Model X (2016-2023), Model 3 (2017-2023), and Model Y (2020-2023). This dual recall scenario underscores the growing scrutiny of Tesla’s commitment to safety and the need for robust quality assurance in its cutting-edge vehicle technologies.