Electric vehicle maker Tesla is sending out 2021 on a sour note, recalling more than 475,000 vehicles to address problems with rearview cameras and front trunks. If left unchecked, the issues could increase crash risks, safety officials warn.
The move impacts Model S and Model 3 vehicles built between 2014 and 2021. The company’s also recalling about 200,000 vehicles in China for the same issues. In all, Tesla’s recalled more vehicles in 2021 than it built, noted Reuters.
The affected Model S sedans have a latch problem that may lead a front trunk to open “without warning and obstruct the driver’s visibility, increasing the risk of a crash,” Tesla said. The problem affects a little more than 119,000 vehicles.
The company’s recalling more than 356,300 Model 3 sedans from 2017 to 2020 to deal with problems with the rearview camera, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency reported “the rearview camera cable harness may be damaged by the opening and closing of the trunk lid, preventing the rearview camera image from displaying.”
Tesla said there have been 2,301 warranty claims and 601 field reports regarding the issue for U.S. vehicles. Tesla said it was not aware of any crashes, injuries or deaths related to the issues cited in the recall of Model 3 and Model S cars, the NHTSA said.
The rearview camera issue isn’t only camera-related problem Tesla and NHTSA are discussing, CNBC reported. Apparently, there have been concerns about its some of its sideview cameras. Tesla was replacing defective repeater cameras in the front fenders of some U.S.-made vehicles without recalling the parts.
NHTSA and Tesla
While Tesla wins plenty of awards for the safety of its vehicles, in terms of their crashworthiness, the EV maker’s been the subject of a string of investigations by NHTSA. Most recently, federal safety regulators looked into the ability of drivers to play games on vehicle touchscreens while in motion — a violation of federal rules.
Model 3 owner Vince Patton said in a complaint filed with NHTSA, a driver simply had to tap the screen and games like Solitaire and “Sky Force Reloaded,” were activated.
“I was just dumbfounded,” Patton told the Associated Press. “Somebody’s going to get killed,” he added. “It’s absolutely insane.” Shortly after the issue came to light, the automaker eliminated the capability — in about 580,000 vehicles — with an over-the-air update.
The company’s also been forced to recall about 135,000 vehicles with faulty touchscreens that could fail while the vehicle was in motion. Additionally, there is an ongoing NHTSA investigation is probing why a number of Tesla vehicles have reportedly driven into parked emergency vehicles while Autopilot is operating.