Nearly 300,000 Teslas Recalled In China Over ‘Unintended Acceleration’ Software Bug
Workers walk outside the Tesla Inc. Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. After starting construction this year, Teslas new factory is already producing electric vehicles on a trial basis.
Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to reports, nearly every Tesla vehicle built and sold in China following the opening of Shanghai’s “Gigafactory” is being recalled over concerns that cruise control systems may result in unintended acceleration. 

“The problem, according to Chinese regulators, is that the system can be accidentally activated in certain models, resulting in unintended acceleration,” CNN reported. “The recall includes 35,665 imported Model 3 vehicles and 249,855 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles made at the Shanghai plant or almost every single locally made car that Tesla (TSLA) has sold in China since January 2020.”

In a statement, Tesla apologized, promising to “strictly follow national regulations and keep improving our safety protection.”

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this recall to all car owners,” Tesla announced on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Tesla will continue to improve safety in strict accordance with national requirements.”

CNN also noted that “the setback isn’t as damaging as a conventional recall,” since the problem can be addressed with a “software update that doesn’t require customers to return their cars.”

Tesla’s stock price seemed to shoulder the issues, however, with shares closing up more than 2.51% on Monday, according to CNBC.

The State Administration for Market Regulation, China’s vehicle safety authority, released a statement on the issue. 

“Vehicles within the scope of this recall may cause the driver to incorrectly activate the active cruise function in the following situations due to the active cruise control system problem: When the vehicle is in D gear, the driver again pulls the right control lever to try to switch gears; When making a sharp turn, the driver accidentally touches and turns the right control lever and waits,” the State Administration for Market Regulation said. “After the active cruise control is activated by mistake, if the cruise speed set by the vehicle is not the current speed, and the current speed is lower than the set speed, the vehicle will accelerate to the set speed, and a sudden increase in vehicle speed will occur, which will affect the driver’s expectations. It may lead to misjudgment of vehicle control and, in extreme cases, the vehicle may collide, posing safety hazards.”

The statement added that OTA technology will be used “to upgrade the active cruise control software for vehicles within the scope of the recall for free, and users can complete the software upgrade without going to the store.” The owners of vehicles which cannot be recalled using OTA technology will be contacted through the Tesla Service Center to “upgrade the vehicles for free.”

As The Verge explained, Tesla first signed an agreement to build a facility in China in 2018 and began delivering cars produced at its Shanghai Gigafactory in December 2019. According to the outlet, Tesla said its goal was to produce 500,000 vehicles per year in China, “the largest electric vehicle market in the world.”

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