Tesla Initiates Massive 1.1 Million Vehicle Recall in China

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on May 16, 2023

Tesla has announced a sweeping recall, encompassing nearly every car sold in China, due to potential braking and acceleration issues that could increase crash and safety risks.

Additionally, Tesla will be implementing an over-the-air software update for around 1.1 million vehicles produced between January 2019 and April of this year in its Shanghai facility, as well as for certain models imported into China. This is all to fix an issue revolving around Tesla’s regenerative braking system.

The innovative braking system captures energy when drivers lift their foot off the accelerator, which is then returned to the vehicle’s battery. However, the problem lies in the vehicles not allowing drivers to modulate the intensity of the regenerative braking and not providing alerts when the accelerator pedal is applied for an extended period. Due to the lack of functionality, there is an increased chance of pedal misapplication.

The problem will be fixed with a software update that will empower drivers to adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking system and modify the default state of the system. Furthermore, Tesla’s vehicles will begin alerting drivers when the accelerator pedal is pressed for an extended duration.

While one might think the recall would affect Tesla negatively, the company’s shares have instead seen a positive trajectory, climbing 1.3% as of last week.

Tesla’s Market Presence and Challenges in China

Between 2014 and March of this year, Tesla sold around 1.13 million vehicles in China, but the Chinese market has not been without its share of challenges. The company has been subjected to criticism on multiple occasions, with drivers raising concerns about alleged acceleration and braking malfunctions in their vehicles.

  • In 2021 at the Shanghai auto show, a Model 3 owner staged a public protest, claiming that her father nearly lost his life due to the car’s brake failure.
  • In 2022, another incident involving a fatal crash with a Model Y SUV occurred.

In both instances, Tesla did not acknowledge a malfunction. Instead, the company cited data to rebuke the allegations, fighting against backlash. Though, it did issue a public apology for the incident in 2021 due to a video of the protest going viral.

Unintended acceleration is one of the new challenges the industry faces as electric vehicles become more prevalent. Why? In part because auditory cues provided by traditional gasoline engines are non-existent in electric vehicles.

Final Thoughts

Despite everything, China remains a key market for Tesla in terms of both sales and production. Last year, the company’s revenue from China skyrocketed to over $18 billion, a six-fold increase from 2019 figures. Its commitment is demonstrated by the fact that its EV factory outside of Shanghai produced nearly 711,000 cars in the previous year, accounting for over half of Tesla’s global production.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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