Just days after we reported that the NHTSA was opening an inquiry into Tesla due to the rushed fiasco that is its "Smart Summon" feature, the company is now facing new scrutiny over long-running battery "issues" in some Model S and Model X vehicles, according to CNBC.
Such as this one:
A notice published on Tuesday by the NHTSA said they had received reports about a possible defect in Tesla battery packs that could cause fires. The battery packs affected reportedly received new management software as part of over the air updates that were issued by Tesla in May. The petition was filed by the Law Offices of Edward C. Chen, a California law firm representing a number of Tesla drivers in the U.S., according to Bloomberg.
Chen argued that Tesla is using software updates to cover up a potentially wide spread and dangerous issue:
"Tesla is using over-the-air software updates to mask and cover up a potentially widespread and dangerous issue with the batteries in their vehicles."
Chen has also argued that Tesla owners "saw the range of their Teslas on a charge fall by 25 miles (40 kilometers) or more after Tesla released two battery software updates beginning in May."
The notice states: “The petitioner alleges that the software updates were in response to a potential defect that could result in non-crash fires in the affected battery packs and that Tesla should have notified NHTSA of the existence of this potential defect and conducted a safety recall. The petitioner also alleges that this software update reduces the driving range of the affected vehicles.”
We have a long wondered why the NHTSA has not been more involved with Tesla, given the numerous instances of spontaneous vehicle combustion that we have documented and multiple deaths and accidents related to the company's autopilot feature.
As we stated days ago, we're glad the NHTSA is finally paying attention, at least. With regard to the company's "Smart Summon" feature, the agency said it “will not hesitate to act” if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect, according to Bloomberg.
The NHTSA has been mostly hands off when it comes to automated driving systems by opting not to issue new regulations for the technology - which Tesla has taken full advantage of by convincing sycophants who believe that Elon Musk is the second coming of Christ that its cars have super powers, when in fact most of them have trouble navigating their way out of a Burger King parking lot.
Perhaps the regulators are finally catching on to this charade: if they are, watch out below.