After a few cars spontaneously burst into flames, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started to look into the potential battery defects in Tesla SUVs and sedans. In spite of raising the bar for development yet more safety concerns for the high-profile electric vehicle manufacturer. On 24th October, the safety agency had sent a letter to a Tesla lawyer informing the company that it is evaluating a petition to investigate defects in battery software updates in its 2012 through 2019 Model S and X vehicles. In the letter, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also enquired about the company for an accounting of battery management system to the software updates as well as other documents, including consumer complaints and any reports related to the car fires.
For Tesla, the urgency to address safety matters is vital. The company has faced claims that the lithium-ion batteries in its vehicles immediately combusted in at least three incidents. In August, Walmart had accused the company of selling its defective solar panels that started fires on the roofs of its stores. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla did not immediately respond to multiple demands for comment. On Friday, the federal agency told Car and Driver magazine that they had gotten a defect petition for a few Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles regarding the battery management software. They would attentively review the appeal and relevant data.
The Law Offices of Edward C. Chen, who are representing the Tesla owners, sent a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in September, stating that the Tesla battery updates in May reduced the vehicles’ range by about 25 to 30 miles. In its letter, the agency demanded information from Tesla to provide assistance to check out whether the battery updates were made to address the immediate fires. According to the federal agency’s letter, Tesla has until 28th November to fulfill the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s demands, or they could face fines up to $111.6 million.