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Federal safety officials probe alleged Tesla battery defects

Videofrank

2015 P85D
Oct 24, 2018
317
145
New York/New Jersey
From NY times article.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started to look into possible battery defects in Tesla sedans and SUVs after some cars spontaneously burst into flames. The development raises yet more safety concerns for the high-profile electric vehicle manufacturer.


The safety agency sent a letter, dated Oct. 24, to a Tesla lawyer telling the company that it is evaluating a petition to investigate defects in battery software updates in its 2012 through 2019 Model S and X vehicles. In the letter, NHTSA also asked the company for an accounting of software updates to the battery management system as well as other documents, including consumer complaints and any reports related to the car fires.

For Tesla, the urgency to address safety concerns is paramount. The company has faced claims that the lithium-ion batteries in its vehicles spontaneously combusted in at least three incidents. In August, Walmart accused the company of selling it defective solar panels that started fires on the roofs of its stores.

Tesla and NHTSA did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment. But the federal agency told Car and Driver magazine that it had “received a defect petition regarding the battery management software in certain Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles” and it would “carefully review the petition and relevant data.” Car and Driver first reported the letter on Friday.

In September, a petition to NHTSA sent by the Law Offices of Edward C. Chen, which is representing Tesla owners, said that Tesla battery updates in May reduced the vehicles’ range by about 25 to 30 miles. In its letter, the agency demanded information from Tesla to help it evaluate whether the battery updates were made to address the spontaneous fires.

Tesla has until Nov. 28 to fulfill NHTSA’s request or it could face fines up to $111.6 million, according to the federal agency’s letter.
 
Last edited:

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,514
8,652
Visalia, CA
...Tesla has until Nov. 28 to fulfill NHTSA’s request or it could face fines up to $111.6 million, according to the federal agency’s letter.

I am not sure but I think it might be just like with Toyota's case who independently tried to fix safety issues due to sudden acceleration investigation without informing NHTSA.

NHTSA cleared Toyota's system of any sudden acceleration but Toyota still had to pay NHTSA a penalty of $33 million for not telling what they were doing related to the investigation (changing car mats, changing accelerator pedal...)

Since NHTSA has been investigating Tesla battery fires, it's fine that Tesla would try to fix any related issues but it needs to tell NHTSA what's it's doing and not concealing from the agency if it does not want to be penalized the same way Toyota was.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,283
6,246
Merced, CA
Since NHTSA has been investigating Tesla battery fires, it's fine that Tesla would try to fix any related issues but it needs to tell NHTSA what's it's doing and not concealing from the agency if it does not want to be penalized the same way Toyota was.

Capping existing capacity so that you can't fully charge your battery any more is not a fix. It's theft. A fix would be to replace the defective battery if it's still under the 8 year warranty which of course they all are except for salvage title vehicles.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,514
8,652
Visalia, CA
Capping existing capacity so that you can't fully charge your battery any more is not a fix. It's theft. A fix would be to replace the defective battery if it's still under the 8 year warranty which of course they all are except for salvage title vehicles.

But theft is not NHTSA's department. It's just like if Tesla took away a subwoofer so paid owners can't feel the bass vibration anymore, it's hard to for NHTSA to investigate because it's not a safety issue.
 

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