The electric vehicle revolution spearheaded by Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, continues to hit some speed bumps.
The company, which is the leading electric vehicle manufacturer worldwide, recently was compelled to recall more than 320,000 vehicles in the United States because of safety concerns.
The recall, which affects a small number of 2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles, came just days after a recall of 30,000 Model X cars. Combined, the issues covered faulty rear brake lights and front passenger airbags. “In rare instances, taillamps on one or both sides of affected vehicles may intermittently illuminate due to a firmware anomaly that may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake up process,” the company said.
The recall is one of many the motor vehicle manufacturer has been subject to in recent months.
Just weeks before, Tesla voluntarily withdrew more than 40,000 vehicles in the United States after the cars were sent a firmware release in mid-October that caused some vehicles to lose power steering. The issue was most prevalent when vehicles were driving over bumpy roads and potholes.
Long list of issues
That follows a recall of more than a million of its cars because its windows can trap fingers and thumbs when it retracts.
In late September, the company announced it was sending out an over-the-air software update of the automatic window reversal system, informing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as is required. The safety recall covers a number of 2017-2022 Model 3, 2020-2021 Model Y, and 2021-2022 Model S and Model X vehicles.
In all, there have been close to 20 recalls on Tesla vehicles in the United States in recent memory, affecting nearly four million vehicles alone in 2022. At the same time, more than 100,000 Chinese-made Model 3 and Model Y vehicles were recalled in May this year because of an issue.
It all raises the question – why are we seeing so many safety hazards on their vehicles?
Tesla’s teething problems
In part, it’s likely down to the fact that Tesla is far more software-driven than many of its competitors. It’s worth noting that almost all of the recalls and issues have not been with hardware but with software bugs that the company has sought to iron out almost immediately. But this software-heavy idea, combined with the fact that Tesla is often trying to push the envelope with what it offers in vehicles – means more things can go wrong.
It’s also important to point out that Tesla is far from alone in receiving recalls. More than 23 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States in 2022, according to Barron’s. The list of those manufacturers who have had more than a million vehicles recalled includes Ford, General Motors Stellantis, BMW, Kia, and Hyundai – alongside Tesla.
However, Tesla does appear to take the approach that you move fast and break things – popular in tech as a maxim to build a business quickly, but not necessarily the best approach when handling something as vital and dangerous as a car traversing the nation’s roads.
Tesla, for its part, claims that its vehicles are statistically safer than others, though there are questions about that – for instance, some believe that the company’s self-driving software is responsible for more crashes than are actually documented because the autopilot disengages moments before an accident, allowing the company to say its systems are not at fault but instead driver error is.
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