In December 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA) received a petition that requested an investigation into alleged sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) in certain 2017-2019 Tesla Model 3, 2013-2019 Tesla Model S and 2016-2019 Tesla Model X vehicles. The petition cited 127 consumer complaints including 110 crashes and 52 injuries.

On January 13, 2020, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a Defect Petition (DP20-001) to assess the request. The investigation included reviews of all complaints and supporting information, as well as an additional 14 complaints that were either not included in the petition or were submitted after the petitioner’s submission. The review also included analyses of available crash data (EDR, Tesla log data, and/or video data) the NHTSA acquired from Tesla, as part of the investigation.

After reviewing the data, ODI has not identified evidence that would support a defect investigation into SUA in the subject vehicles. According to the NHTSA, “In every instance in which event data was available for review by ODI, the evidence shows that SUA crashes in the complaints have been caused by pedal misapplication. There is no evidence of any fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that has contributed to any of the incidents. There is no evidence of a design factor contributing to increased likelihood of pedal misapplication. The theory provided of a potential electronic cause of SUA in the subject vehicles is based upon inaccurate assumptions about system design and log data.”

“NHTSA is authorized to issue an order requiring the remedy of a defect if the Agency’s investigation shows a defect in design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle that presents an unreasonable risk to safety. Since the information is not indicative of a vehicle based defect, it is unlikely that any investigation opened because of granting this petition would result in an order concerning the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect. Therefore, upon full consideration of the information presented in the petition and the potential risks to safety, the petition is denied. The denial of this petition does not foreclose the Agency from taking further action if warranted or the potential for a future finding that a safety-related defect exists based upon additional information the agency may receive.”

Tesla will be contacting the owners of certain 2016 Model S and Model X sports cars about a manufacturing problem affecting the braking system. According to the defect report, the Brembo electric parking brake calipers on some Tesla vehicles may have been improperly manufactured and could fracture. If this gear fractures, the electric motor will be unable to move the brake pad and the parking brake caliber will not release. When attempting to release the parking brake, an alert will appear that reads “Parking Brake Did Not Release – Contact Tesla Service.” When applying the brake, an alert will appear that reads “Parking Brake Needs Service – Car May Be Free Rolling.”

Those receiving notices can return to their Tesla service center to have the electric parking brake calipers replaced. Owners wanting more information about the problem are asked to contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Tesla’s number for this recall is SB-17-33-002 and the NHTSA campaign number is 170-260.

Tesla has identified a problem affecting certain Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters and will notify customers to get a replacement. The affected units may have an insufficiently welded electrical connection that could exhibit increased electrical resistance. The vehicle may detect a fault and interrupt charging or the adapter could become hot to the touch.

The charging adapter affected include:

Tesla will notify owners and will provide them with a replacement adapter. Owners wanting more information about the problem are asked to contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16E-091.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have opened an investigation into a May 7th fatal crash involving a Tesla electric car. At the time of the accident, it is believed that the “Autopilot” was controlling the vehicle while the driver was distracted. Witnessed say the driver of the car may have been watching a movie when the collision happened. Continue reading

Tesla will be contacting the owners of certain 2016 Model X crossover SUVs about a safety problem affecting the third row seating. According to the defect report, variations in recliner manufacturing could lead to insufficient tooth engagement and failure to meet the required holding torque specification. In a severe collision the seat could exhibit excessive forward movement, increasing the chance of injury to occupants. Continue reading

Tesla will be asking the owners of certain 2012-2015 Model S vehicles to return to their dealerships to repair a problem affecting the seat belt restraint system. According to reports filed with the NHTSA, the driver and/or front passenger seat belt anchor plate may have be improperly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner. If the seat belt anchor plate is not properly secured, the seat belt will not provide sufficient restraint force during an accident. Continue reading

Tesla has acknowledged a problem affecting certain Universal Mobile Connectors (“UMC”) NEMA 14-50 adapters used to charge Tesla Model S vehicles. According to the recall report, a variety of factors such as corrosion, physical damage to receptacles, or inappropriate installation of electrical outlets can cause higher than normal electrical resistance. Electrical resistance heating in the adapter or at the wall socket could lead to melting of the adapter, cord or wall receptacle. There is also the possibility of electrical arcing that could lead to fire. Continue reading