In September 2019, the NHTSA was asked to initiate an investigation into certain Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles that received a revised battery management software update in one or more over-the-air updates from Tesla, beginning in May 2019. The petitioner based his request on vehicle fires that took place worldwide and over the air software updates Tesla made to the Battery Management System (BMS) of certain Tesla vehicles that resulted in loss of available vehicle mileage range and increased charging duration’s.

The five non-crash fires referenced in the petition include two fires that occurred in China in early 2019 involving vehicles that:

  • Had recently completed Supercharging sessions.
  • Were at a high state-of-charge (SOC) of the HV battery.
  • Were parked with the battery cooling system shutoff.
  • Had histories of high-stress usage for the HV batteries.

The three fires that occurred outside China did not involve the same patterns regarding vehicle state and charging history. The two fires that occurred in the United States include one involving a vehicle with no Supercharging history that was driving when the fire occurred and another in which the origin of the fire was external to the HV battery. The fifth fire, which also originated external to the HV battery, involved a vehicle in Germany that had been parked at a low SOC for an extended period. To date, incidents of fires involving parked vehicles with recent Supercharging and histories of high-stress use have only been observed in China, where high-stress use factors appear to be more common.

Given the absence of any incidents in the United States related to fast charging, and the absence of any such incidents globally since May 2019, the petition has been denied. The denial of this petition does not stop the Agency from taking further action if future findings find that a safety defect exists based on additional information received. NHTSA could initiate a recall if they find a defect in the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.

The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation have opened an investigation to whether a safety defect related to propellant degradation exists in non-recalled desiccated PSAN frontal air bag inflators manufactured by Takata. This investigation will include information on the Takata production processes, a study of inflators in the field, lists of recall actions that may have used desiccated PSAN inflators as remedy parts, as well as the makes and models originally manufactured with them.

From 2000 through 2017, Takata produced air bag inflators using two types of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) propellant – propellant 2004 and propellant 2004L. After prolonged exposure to high temperature cycles and humidity, inflators using propellant 2004 can degrade, causing the propellant to burn too quickly when ignited. The rapid burning can cause the inflator to rupture during deployment, potentially causing serious or even fatal injury to vehicle occupants.

“Takata have been studying the long-term behavior of Takata desiccated PSAN inflators using propellant 2004L (as well as 2004) in the presence of moisture and temperature cycling. The research efforts are ongoing and to date, none have identified field evidence showing that propellant 2004L is undergoing a degradation process that leads to aggressive deployment and potential rupture. However, the time in service of such inflators remains short compared to that of the inflators using propellant 2004. Further study is needed to assess the long-term safety of desiccated inflators using propellant 2004L. “

NHTSA Action Number: EA21002

Click Here to see the complete list of vehicles involved in this investigation.

The Office of Defects Investigation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have opened an investigation (PE21-020) into crashes involving first responder scenes and vehicles manufactured by Tesla. The vehicles involved were operating in either Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control prior to the accident.

The Vehicles Affected Include:
2017-2021 Tesla Model 3
2014-2021 Tesla Model S
2015-2021 Tesla Model X
2019-2021 Tesla Model Y

Since January 2018, the NHTSA has identified twelve crashes in which Tesla models of various configurations, encountered first responder scenes and preceded to crash into one or more vehicles involved with those scenes. Most incidents took place after dark and included traffic control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board and road cones. The involved vehicles were all engaged in either Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes.

Autopilot is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) in which the vehicle maintains its speed and lane centring. With the ADAS active, the driver still holds primary responsibility for Object and Event Detection and Response (OEDR), e.g., identification of obstacles in the roadway or adverse maneuvers by other vehicles during the Dynamic Driving Task (DDT).

The NHTSA have opened a Preliminary Evaluation of the SAE Level 2 ADAS system (Autopilot) in the Tesla 3, S, X, and Y models. The investigation will evaluate the methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation. The investigation will also assess the OEDR by vehicles when engaged in Autopilot mode and ODD in which the Autopilot mode is functional. The investigation will also include examination of the contributing circumstances for the confirmed crashes listed below and other similar crashes.

General Motors has decided that a software defect exists in certain 2019-2020 Chevrolet 6500HD trucks. These vehicles have been manufactured with tires that have a maximum speed rating of 75mph (regular production option (RPO) codes XDV for the front tires and YAP for the rear tires) and engine control module software that limits the speed of the vehicle to 79 mph.

In December 2020, Navistar, informed GM that vehicles may have been built with maximum speed limitation calibrations that exceed tire maximum speed ratings. A GM engineering manager reported the issue to GM’s Speak Up For Safety (SUFS) program and preliminary information was collected regarding the issue. GM opened an investigation in February 2021, confirmed the speed limiting software in the ECM and the body control module (BCM) would allow vehicles to reach 79 mph, exceeding the 75 mph maximum speed rating of the tires. In May 2021, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall.

Owners receiving notification letters will be asked to return to their dealers to have the software calibration for the engine control module (ECM) set to limit the vehicles speed so it will not exceed the speed rating of the tires. GM’s number for this recall is N202325530 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-346.

Hyundai Motor America will be asking owners of certain 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric and 2019-2020 Hyundai Kona Electric vehicles to return to their dealerships because of a problem affecting the lithium-ion battery.

In March 2019 Hyundai received three reports of Kona electric vehicles catching fire while parked. All vehicles involved were reportedly parked with a fully charged battery. Further investigation found several similar incidents which initiated an investigation into the problem. As a result of this investigation, a campaign was launched to upgrade the BMS software for early detection of abnormalities in the battery while the vehicle is parked. The software update was developed as a fail safe countermeasure as they continued their investigation

In February 2021 Hyundai became aware of a Kona EV. with the updated software. that caught fire while at full state of charge. Further investigation into the cause found an internal short within the battery cells caused by a folded Anode tab could result in Lithium plating on the Anode tab to contact and short circuit to the Cathode. Based on this information a safety campaign will be conducted to replace the Battery System Assembly (BSA)

Once parts are available, dealers will replace the Battery System Assembly (BSA). Owners are advised to park their vehicles outside and away from structures until the recall is complete. The recall is expected to begin end of April. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 200 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-127.

In October 2020 the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) started an investigation of the Chevrolet Bolt EV because of potential battery fires while charging. In November, Chevrolet announced a recall affecting 2017-2018 and select 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs manufactured by LG Chem’s Ochang Korea facility. More than 68,000 Chevy Bolt EV’s have been recalled.

The safety recall from the NHTSA states the following:

As an interim remedy, dealers will reprogram the hybrid propulsion control module to limit full charge to 90%. Until this interim is completed, customers should enable either “Hilltop Reserve” )for 2017-2018 model year vehicles) or “Target Charge Level” (for 2019 model year vehicles) using their vehicle’s infotainment center. These two features will limit the vehicle’s state of charge to 90% until the HPCM2 software re-calibration is applied. If customers are unable to successfully make these changes, or do not feel comfortable making these changes, they will be advised to not park their car in their garage or carport until after they have visited their dealer.

The final remedy is still under development. Owners were notified of the interim repair beginning November 17, 2020. A second notice will be mailed when the final repair becomes available. GM’s number for this recall is N202311730 and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V-701 .

If you own one of these vehicles and are concerned or have questions about your recourse under the California Lemon Law, please contact the Law Office of Barry L. Edzant at 888-395-3666 to speak with the attorney.

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.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have opened an investigation into certain 2017-2020 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars after several complaints of vehicle fires. The NHTSA says it was contacted by two owners who reported that their Bolt EVs caught fire while parked and unattended. In one case the vehicle was plugged into a charger in the owner’s driveway when it caught fire. The second vehicle was parked but not plugged in approximately 20 minutes after being driven, before it caught fire. Additional research by the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) found a third vehicle, a 2017 Bolt EV with a similar burn patterns.

In all three cases, fire damage appeared to come from the battery compartment with fire passing into the passenger compartment from under the rear seat. The root cause of the fires is unknown and the ODI is opening a “preliminary evaluation” into the matter. If the investigation results in a vehicle recall, approximately 78,000 Chevy Bolt EVs would be affected.